Start of the World Climate Conference COP 27 in Egypt: 197 nations, representatives of civil society and other institutions will discuss and negotiate the current status of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Framework Convention on Climate Change at the World Climate Summit, which will take place from Sunday 6 to 18 November 2022 in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. It is the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27). Against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and the still ongoing pandemic, the World Climate Conference in Egypt must raise awareness of the greatest of all crises. Now, of all times, it is necessary to put more ambition into climate protection. Yet the problems have long been outlined: On the one hand, there is the need for more ambition in climate protection goals and their implementation by the states, on the other hand, there is the issue of financing climate protection and measures to adapt to climate change and the question of loss and damage, the climate-related damage and losses that are already occurring and have occurred, but which have so far been marginalised, mainly at the instigation of the industrialised countries, because these main perpetrators of climate change fear enormously high reparation claims from the developing countries. Criticism is also directed against the host country Egypt. tagesschau.de , nzz.ch , fr.de (Egypt),
Plastic waste – industry must pay: In the fight against plastic waste and cigarette butts, the federal government has decided to have producers contribute to the costs of cleaning parks and streets. On Wednesday, the cabinet passed a bill according to which a fund will be fed by contributions from manufacturers of disposable cups and similar disposable products. The amount of the levy is still to be determined and will be based on how much and which products were put on the market in the previous year. For the first time, the levy will be due in 2025, based on the 2024 balance sheet. handelsblatt.com
Trillions of dollars
This is the cost of increasing extreme weather events such as heat waves or floods. These extreme weather events not only cause suffering and death for many people, but also enormous damage. Researchers at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, have now calculated the costs of heat waves for the global economy since the 1990s and come up with an amount in the trillions. The poorest countries, which have so far emitted the least CO2 and therefore contributed much less to the global warming that is making extreme heat waves more frequent, suffer the most. derstandard.at
Transport sector clearly misses climate targets: Up to 175 million tonnes of greenhouse gases must be additionally saved in the transport sector in order to achieve the climate targets. The other sectors apparently meet their targets. This is the content of a key points paper of the German government that became public last week. For the Greens and Greenpeace, the transport minister’s savings plans are not enough. In addition, the German government’s expert council on climate issues presented its first report on the development of greenhouse gas emissions and the effectiveness of climate policy on Friday, two days before the start of the UN Climate Conference in Egypt. It concludes that Germany will not be able to achieve its climate goals for 2030 with a „business as usual“ approach. In the transport sector, the reduction of greenhouse gases per year would have to be 14 times as high as it is now in order to comply with the legally prescribed steps. Also sufficient for the Greens and Greenpeacde sueddeutsche.de , handelsblatt.com , n-tv.de (Greens and Greenpeace)
Glaciers can no longer be saved: Unesco warned last week, shortly before the start of the UN climate conference, of major glacier melt by 2050. According to their report, also affected: the Dolomites, the Pyrenees and Yellowstone National Park. spiegel.de
Another failure of the Antarctic Conference: For more than a week, the annual Antarctic Conference has been meeting in Hobart on the Australian island of Tasmania. Once again, the issue is to establish marine protected areas around the continent of ice. The establishment of new marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean has once again failed due to resistance from China and Russia. This was announced by the Antarctic and Polar Ocean Association – Asoc – after the conclusion of the 41st Conference of the Antarctic Commission. There was also no agreement on the issue of stricter fishing regulations. welt.de
Lula’s election victory in Brazil could be a good sign for the climate: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected President of Brazil. He was elected with a margin of just 1.8 percent. But precisely this 1.8 percent could become very important for global climate protection. Lula wants to take a completely different direction in rainforest policy. Under Bolsonaro, deforestation had recently increased sharply. The Amazon is very important for the global climate, explains Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute. If it continues to be deforested, it could tip over and change the climate worldwide. „That seems to have been averted for the time being“. deutschlandfunk.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Held*innen des Alltags
30 people are committed to the environment and society. A book of encouragement
Every day, people like you and me fight for a stable climate, take care of disadvantaged people or start a sustainable business – whether as a mobility expert or as a climate godfather in Hambacher Forst. With their willingness to get involved, these heroes make an important contribution to all of us. Even if this may not be as visible as with prominent activists, it still has the power to make a difference and inspire people.
In fact, we need every hand to overcome the global and regional challenges we all face. That’s why this book is an „encouragement book“ – to motivate you to become a hero or heroine yourself with the stories of 30 people.
Photovoltaic expansion: Supermarket roofs offer potential with unshaded flat roofs. Most of the electricity is needed on site. heise.de
40 billion euros: Uniper makes biggest loss in economic history. manager-magazin.de
Federal Minister of the Interior Faeser: Consistent action admonished in case of last-generation law violations. rnd.de
Crisis meeting: EU smells protectionism in US climate policy. handelsblatt.com
Taint: Ex-office manager of Annalena Baerbock moves to RWE. n-tv.de
Protective shield demanded: Municipal utilities are threatened with collapse. tagesschau.de
Coalition agreement in Lower Saxony: Ambitious red-green climate targets. faz.net
Military emissions: How war fuels the climate. zeit.de
The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
How environmentally friendly can mining be?
For centuries there has been mining in the Erzgebirge – coveted mineral resources were tin, copper and silver. Today, companies are hoping for a new „mining boom“ in Saxony: lithium, tin and fluorspar are to be extracted in an environmentally friendly way. Also to reduce dependence on suppliers from other countries. An alliance of business and science has therefore set itself the goal of avoiding consequential damage to the environment from the outset when mining in the 21st century – and to correct the mistakes of old mining in retrospect. deutschlandfunk.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Climate protests – good intention, wrong method
Stefan Dege, Deutsche Welle
You have to keep a few things apart here: Two climate activists cause a traffic jam on the Berlin city motorway. Afterwards, a fire brigade rescue vehicle arrives delayed at an accident. A seriously injured cyclist dies. Are the climate activists to blame for her death? Did they go too far with their protest? The media and political dispute about this is in full swing. The legal answer, however, can only be given by a court of law. Tragic is not only the death of the 44-year-old woman who was run over and seriously injured by a concrete mixer. But no less tragic is the way in which the civil disobedience of climate activists is threatened by the obvious chain of unfortunate circumstances.
The fact that civil resistance is possible in the Germany of 2022 is an achievement. After the experiences of National Socialism and the GDR regime, which also suppressed freedom of expression, one would not want to miss it. The possibility of throwing a spanner in the works of society in this way, when all else fails, must not fall victim to spontaneous anger at climate activists. … dw.com
Only emission-free cars from 2035: In future, only new cars that do not emit greenhouse gases during operation are to be sold in the EU. The regulation is to come into force in 2035. Negotiators of the EU states and the European Parliament agreed on this on Thursday evening, as the Czech Council Presidency announced. In 2026, it should be possible to review the decision again. The question of whether the sale of new internal combustion vehicles should be banned from 2035 onwards had been the subject of prolonged dispute within the German government. The Liberals and the Greens in particular took different positions. The Federal Environment Ministry, for example, had spoken out in favour of a clear ban on internal combustion vehicles. Details can be found at Spiegel Online
Electricity-based fuels: E-fuels will not save combustion engines. n-tv.de
Deutschlandticket for 49 euros is coming: The digital Deutschlandticket, valid throughout Germany, is planned for an introductory price of 49 euros a month in a subscription that can be cancelled monthly. It remains to be seen whether it will also be available in paper format at ticket machines. The decision will be made by the federal states and the transport associations. The ticket is intended to make local public transport more attractive. In other words, commuters in particular should switch from cars to buses and trains. This should also help to achieve climate goals. „It has never been so easy for people in our country to use buses and trains,“ said Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing. tagesschau.de
New car registrations in Germany: In October, significantly more new cars hit the roads, which is mainly due to the high order backlog. However, the industry is weakening in terms of incoming orders. wiwo.de
Tank or plate? There is a heated debate about the use of natural plant raw materials. In fact, rape, maize or sugar beet are still used today to produce CO2-neutral fuels, so-called biofuels. handelsblatt.com
Only support for purely electric vehicles: With the end of support for plug-in hybrid vehicles, support will be focused on purely electric vehicles and the available funds will be concentrated on them. This was announced by the Federal Government in an answer (20/4119) to a minor question (20/3795) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. The adjustment of funding would not result in any savings. The MPs had asked how much money would be saved with the abolition of the plug-in hybrid subsidy. The parliamentary group also wanted to know why 2.5 billion euros had been made available for the last time. The federal government answered that „electromobility has made the transition to the mass market“. Electromobility is the central building block for achieving the climate targets in the transport sector, which is why the framework conditions for its expansion are to be created. „This includes, among other things, the expansion of the charging infrastructure,“ the answer states.
Hydrogen transport via pipelines: Recently, a dpa interview of the CEO of the testing organisation Dekra attracted attention in the professional world, in which DEKRA CEO Stan Zurkiewicz claimed to the news agency dpa that the infrastructure in Germany is not yet ready for the widespread use of hydrogen. Existing natural gas pipelines are, as confirmed by an expert opinion of TÜV Nord, basically suitable for the transport of hydrogen and can be converted from natural gas to H2. The Dutch company GASUNIE has demonstrated this in the southwest of the Netherlands. All that is needed is to replace individual components that are not designed for hydrogen transport. fair-economics.de
Google calls for stricter EU rules on ‚green‘ hydrogen: US tech giant Google, leading an alliance of several major companies, commented on the multi-year ‚green‘ hydrogen debate in Brussels and called for tighter restrictions. Hydrogen, an important energy carrier, can be produced with coal, gas or electricity. The climate-neutral and desirable kind is produced with renewable electricity, creating „green“ hydrogen. euractiv.de
Solar panels produce green hydrogen from air and light: Two scientists from the Belgian University of Leuven have developed marketable panels that can produce green hydrogen from light and air. By 2030, they want to be ready to see their product installed on rooftops. tn3.de
How LNG terminals can have a climate-neutral future: One possible solution for the long-term use of onshore terminals is to convert their components to potentially climate-neutral energy sources such as liquid hydrogen or liquid ammonia. fair-economics.de
Hydrogen cooperation: Market-ready energy technology – How Germany can benefit from hydrogen pioneer Japan. German President Steinmeier is on a hydrogen mission in Japan. The country has made great strides in energy technology and is looking for international partners. handelsblatt.com
How Germany delayed EU rules on „green“ hydrogen: Shortly after its appointment last year, the new German government lobbied Brussels to influence the drafts regulating the production of renewable hydrogen. This led to delays of almost a year. euractiv.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Federal Government focuses on sustainable urban development: The Federal Government wants to place greater emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation measures in urban development funding. Its goal, as well as that of the partners in the National Urban Development Policy from the federal states and municipal umbrella organisations, is to make urban development even more community-oriented, sustainable and resilient than before, it writes in an answer (20/4125) to a small question (20/3789) from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. Most of the challenges facing cities and municipalities have their origins in global developments. Therefore, „solutions for German practice can also be found faster and better through cross-border cooperation“, the Federal Government emphasises. It therefore wants to expand its international efforts in urban development and develop new instruments. Germany is thus assuming responsibility for a world that is urbanising ever faster.
Impact of CO2 pricing on competitiveness: The German government has presented a report on the possible impact of CO2 pricing on the competitiveness of affected companies. In the information (20/4100) „on the consultation procedure 2022 according to § 26 paragraph 2 of the BEHG Carbon Leakage Regulation“ it says: „The national fuel emissions trading (nEHS) according to the Fuel Emissions Trading Act (BEHG) has successfully started on 1 January 2021“. This means that CO2 pricing has been introduced at national level for all fossil fuel emissions outside the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS).
Almost 1.5 million electric vehicles registered: As of 1 July 2022, 756,517 fully electric vehicles and 684,057 plug-in hybrids were registered in Germany, totalling 1,440,574 electric vehicles. This is the result of an answer (20/3904) of the Federal Government to a small question (20/3542) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. The CDU/CSU MPs had asked in a question entitled „Economic policy mid-year review of the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection“, among other things, how many fully electric passenger cars were currently already on Germany’s roads.
Diversification of the gas market costs 46 billion euros: The German government does not collect its own data regarding the classification of natural gas imports by country – but according to its knowledge, the share of Russian gas is being substituted by higher deliveries from Norway and increasing imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from different countries of origin to Europe and Germany. The countries from which LNG is imported include the USA, Qatar, Algeria and suppliers from Africa. This is stated in an answer of the Federal Government (20/4194) to a question of the AfD parliamentary group (20/3625) on the Federal Government’s answer to the Small Question on the Bundestag Printed Paper (20/2123) on gas supply in Germany. The amount of the expected costs associated with the substitution of Russian gas depended to a large extent on the development of gas prices. Of particular importance in this context were the volatile gas prices on the spot market, on which parts of the required quantities had to be procured. Against this background, the Federal Government currently estimates the costs at around 46 billion euros.
Better framework conditions for renewable energies in urban planning law: The federal government wants to improve the framework conditions for renewable energies in urban planning law and has presented a corresponding bill (20/4227), which will be debated for the first time in the Bundestag on Wednesday, 9 November 2022. According to the government, the amendment is intended to accelerate the expansion of wind energy and photovoltaic plants, support the production of hydrogen from renewable energies and improve the use of wind power and biomass. In order to increase the production of gas, electricity and heat from bioenergy plants, the existing capacity limit for biogas plants in outdoor areas is to be suspended until the end of 2024, and at the same time there are to be relaxations in the requirements for the origin of biomass. The federal government judges that the existing bioenergy plants could contribute to becoming more independent in terms of energy policy in the short term.
We realise that the way we have organised central areas of society, for example in energy supply, land use or urban planning, is no longer achieving the desired results and we are not seeing any improvement with small changes within the previous logics of thought.
Maja Göpel, transformation researcher, political economist and member of the Club of Rome, We need a structural and thus political and economic reorganisation. This means terms like energy turnaround, transport turnaround, food turnaround, resource turnaround. However, some of our organisations and processes are not particularly well positioned for this, as they are characterised by silo thinking, a short-term focus, the inertia of the privileged and strong competition. It is difficult to act with foresight. Often, this is only possible through a crisis that interrupts such path dependencies. Tipping points described this phenomenon. We urgently wanted to prevent ecological tipping points, while social and societal tipping points could enable a normatively very desirable breaking out of structures that are no longer sustainable. klimareporter.de
For me, it means that the voices and needs of the African continent are at the centre of the negotiations in Sharm-el-Sheikh. And that this is also reflected in the outcome. Because this COP27 is taking place on the same ground, the same continent, where millions of people are threatened with starvation because of droughts, where women and children and entire families are becoming refugees because gigantic floods are destroying their villages and their land.
Elizabeth Wathuti is Kenya’s best-known climate activist. Among other things, the 27-year-old founded the „Green Generation Initiative“. The people who are most affected by the consequences of the climate crisis have contributed the least. Justice means not simply abandoning these people to their fate. The industrialised countries have become rich at the expense of the poor countries, and by not taking action in the climate crisis, they are exacerbating the massive inequality. For her, justice means above all that the heads of state and government of the industrialised countries now take responsibility and keep their financial promises, which they have been breaking for years. Every further delay causes more suffering, increases damage and losses due to droughts, floods or crop failures. tagesspiegel.de
EU-Namibia raw materials agreement under negotiation: According to official reports, the European Union (EU) is about to sign a raw materials import agreement with Namibia. The country in southern Africa has large deposits of rare earth metals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite, which are key for the production of batteries for electric cars and thus for the green energy transition. However, Namibia currently mines only a fraction of its deposits. This is now to change with the agreement with the EU, according to the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy. In addition, Namibia and the EU are striving for a joint project for the production of green hydrogen, which is currently regarded as the hope of the energy transition. The agreement is part of European efforts to reduce dependence on China and Russia for raw materials and energy. Namibia, in turn, is positioning itself as a pioneer for renewable energies on the African continent. northafricapost.com
Moscow’s star in Africa is sinking: When African states take the West’s line, there are tangible interests behind it. Beyond all political and economic interests, many a head of state in Africa should be aware that a blatant border violation like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must not be allowed to continue. In Africa, at any rate, the agreement on the status quo of existing borders is rightly a sacred cow, because the agreement has helped to secure peace for decades. In addition, the road to this understanding was long and rocky. Colonialism, with its often arbitrarily drawn borders, was a conceivably bad precondition, but even later there were further struggles over territories. One thinks of the Biafra war in Nigeria at the end of the 1960s. Where national borders, and thus the boundaries of international law, are crossed, there is a threat of death and violence. This can currently be observed in the province of Tigray in northern Ethiopia, where Eritrean troops are heavily involved in the civil war. The example of Tigray shows how right the founding fathers of the AU were with their central idea of accepting existing borders. die-tagespost.de
Africa and COP 27: Trillions outstanding and dispute over new mineral resources. The climate conference in an age of global crises faces several challenges. African states see themselves as disadvantaged „guinea pigs“. derstandart.at
Ethiopia: Many pitfalls on the road to peace. faz.net
Mali: Industrial gold production in Mali, one of Africa’s biggest producers of the precious metal, is in danger of missing annual forecasts after falling short of expectations in the third quarter, a mining ministry official said. reuters.com
Tanzania: Kilimanjaro is not only the highest mountain in Africa, but also the most famous. Already a week ago, a fire broke out there. Now the Tanzanian National Park Authority reports a second fire. sueddeutsche.de
How the jet stream ensured warm October weather: October was the warmest for a long time, possibly the warmest ever. With an average of 12.5 degrees Celsius, it is on a par with the previous record set in 2001. Whether it surpasses it remains to be seen in the detailed analyses. Other countries in southern and western Europe also experienced rather midsummer-like temperatures.The October summer was caused by an established, very stable weather situation in the last few days as well as the inflow of warm air from an intensive jet stream: Over the Atlantic, it booked out far to the south around the low, in order to flow back to the north to the east of it. spektrum.de
How modern design saves resources: Beautiful cars, clothes or smartphones are in demand. Form follows function, modern design can do even more than boost consumption: save resources, offer intelligent solutions and be sustainable. In view of problems such as the growing mountain of plastic waste, there is now a change of consciousness in the design industry, reports Jochen Eisenbrand, chief curator of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The young generation in particular is asking itself: „What can we use to get away from fossil raw materials in the plastics industry? And what renewable and biodegradable raw materials can we use that don’t bring problems with them again?“ dw.com
How can we trust artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence (AI) is used in law enforcement or tumour detection, among other things. For this, it must be trustworthy. The EU now wants a new law. This is because machine learning and the simulation of cognitive processes form the basis for artificial intelligence. Learning algorithms can make automated decisions by recognising patterns and regularities in large amounts of data and applying them in unknown contexts. But the more complex, the more opaque, moreover, machines are not neutral or objective. This is because algorithms are written by humans and fed with a selection of data that does not always reflect the totality of society. For example, facial recognition algorithms make significantly more errors with the faces of black people than with white people. The reason: the training data was usually fed with more white than black faces. The EU wants to create a legal framework for this, based on ethical principles: AI should respect our human autonomy, i.e. allow us to continue to act in a self-determined manner, cause no harm, be fair and explainable. enorm-magazin.de
Ways to sustainable tourism: The buffet does not have to be filled to the brim. merkur.de
Danger from space tourism: Rocket launches pollute atmosphere and climate. n-tv.de
Australia: First fine for greewashing. rnd.de
A marine crab named Wagenknecht: A newly discovered marine crab species will in future bear the name of the left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht. The scientific name of the red crab, Cherax wagenknechtae, was invented by marine animal expert Christian Lukhaup from Waiblingen near Stuttgart. He discovered the animal during a stay in Indonesia. The politician had inspired him to fight resolutely for a better and fairer future, Lukhaup explained his choice of name. This was the best way to thank her for that. Together with the biologist Rury Eprilurahman from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Lukhaup described the new crayfish species in the „Zoosystematics and Evolution“ journal. taz.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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