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The German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Glasgow. (Photo: COP 26 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by

Criticism and praise at the end of the World Climate Conference: The day before yesterday, the hammer fell in Glasgow, Scotland. All 197 participating countries agreed on far-reaching resolutions for more climate protection and more solidarity with the countries that are already hardest hit by climate change. In particular, there was fierce debate about the coal phase-out in the final paper. For the first time in the history of the world climate summits, there was a consensus among the 200 countries. The „Glasgow Climate Pact“, which was approved on Saturday evening after passionate discussions, also contains the demand that „inefficient“ subsidies for oil, gas and coal be abolished. However, the wording was weakened at the last minute due to pressure from China and India. German caretaker environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) nevertheless praised the deal. „The fossil fuel era is coming to an end, the energy transition is becoming the guiding principle worldwide,“ she said. Moreover, the community of states recognises the scientific findings that the world must do significantly more in this decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The states were called upon to improve their existing climate targets for the 20s as early as next year. In future, moreover, there should be an annual global review, not just every five years, of how big the gap still is to reach the 1.5 degree target. The worldwide reactions to the results of the World Climate Summit are rather mixed. Climate activist Greta Thunberg sniffed: „COP26 is over. Here is a short summary: blah, blah, blah. „Thunberg stressed that the real work continues outside the conference halls: „We will never give up, never.“ , , ,

Coalition negotiations – Climate protection is a sticking point: There has been a scandal in the traffic light negotiations between the Greens, SPD and FDP. In the working group on climate, the Green negotiators left the talks in protest at the beginning of the week. Among others, Green Party member Jürgen Trittin left the room in a rage. With their departure, the Greens wanted to increase the pressure, but in spite of this, there was no agreement on central points in the working group paper, which was handed in on Wednesday. Two sticking points in particular are causing controversy: The Greens have so far insisted in vain that the coalition agreement stipulate that the share of renewable energies must be 80 percent by 2030. In addition, the Greens want to declare the construction of wind turbines to be in the public interest. This would undermine the protection of species, which conservationists often use in court to block the erection of wind turbines. For the Greens, it is crucial that the priority of climate change be agreed upon. So far, however, there is no agreement among the coalition partners. A Green negotiator said: „The FDP is blocking everything and Olaf Scholz is not committing to anything“.

8.4 million tonne of plastic waste

This is the additional volume that has arisen due to the corona pandemic. One reason is the increased need for disposable plastic in nursing care. Most of the plastic waste is generated in clinics, especially in Asian countries, a team of scientists found out.

WWF study: Pandemic missed opportunity for climate protection: The still current German government has missed the opportunity to systematically initiate investments in climate protection and the sustainable restructuring of the economy with the economic stimulus packages. This is shown in the study „Green New Start after the Pandemic?“ by DIW Econ on behalf of WWF Germany. The analysis looks at key elements of Germany’s Corona aid packages and their climate impact, including the Konjunktur- und Zukunftsprogramm (KZP), the Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds (WSF) and the KfW special programmes. WWF calls on the SPD, the Greens and the FDP to fill this void early on with a systematic underpinning for the allocation of public funds. The protection of climate and ecosystems must be considered and anchored as a societal goal in the award decision.

Five states against green classification of nuclear power: Germany, together with Denmark, Austria, Luxembourg and Portugal, is standing up to demands from other EU states to classify nuclear power as environmentally friendly energy. The Acting Federal Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze (SPD), presented a joint declaration by the five states on this issue at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Thursday. Schulze said that nuclear power is not a solution to the climate crisis and that no one should rely on the risky and expensive technology for climate protection. Better and quickly available alternatives are, for example, renewable energies from wind and sun.

Excessive subsidies for fossil energies: Billions and billions are still being spent on subsidising fossil energies year after year. It has been proven that this is harmful to the climate, yet most governments continue with their practices. The reasons are manifold, and many countries mix them with their industrial policies. Overall, there are three main obstacles to eliminating production subsidies. First, fossil fuel companies are powerful political actors. Second, there are legitimate concerns about job losses in regions that have few alternative employment opportunities. Third, governments are concerned that rising energy prices could slow economic growth or increase inflation.

Bad year for renewable energies: Cool weather and the revival of economic activities are causing significantly higher energy consumption this year. And fossil energies are mainly responsible for this. Wind energy, on the other hand, is experiencing a slump compared to last year. Overall, however, the share of renewable energies in the energy mix declined by two percent compared to the previous year, while natural gas, coal and also nuclear energy increased. Accordingly, the analysts at AG Energiebilanzen expect an increase in energy-related CO2emissions of a good four percent compared to the previous year.


2084: Eine Zeitreise durch den Klimawandel

With a foreword by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

One weather record follows the next: never before in the history of mankind have climate fluctuations been so rapid. What kind of world will we live in in the future? The renowned scientist James Powell takes us on a time travel through climate change: the Alps free of snow, Australia, Spain and large parts of the USA devastated and burned, Western states waging new wars for resources. A gripping dystopia that is unfortunately all too real.

Australia: Will continue to produce coal for decades.
LINKE Traffic light coalition should cap costs on electricity and fuel.
Nuclear energy: Energy companies consider the issue settled.
High energy costs: traffic light politicians announce relief.
Hessen: Wants to anchor climate protection in law.
After hunger strike: Climate activists meet Scholz and threaten motorway blockades.
Demo pro wind power: Renewable Energy Association against Nature Conservation Union.

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.

Reading tip this week: Tip Me – The tip for people at the beginning of the supply chain

A small thank you to the seamstress of my T-shirt – the global tip me makes it possible: small amounts are sent directly to the people we otherwise hardly think about.


Nuclear power for more climate protection?

Betting on the future: EU states want to improve their CO2 balance with nuclear power. Germany is sticking with the phase-out. France’s President Emmanuel Macron wants to „reinvent nuclear power“, while in Germany the last three of the six nuclear power plants still in operation will be taken off the grid at the end of next year. Nuclear energy divides in the truest sense of the word, as is currently evident in the European Union.


Germany’s special path in phasing out the internal combustion engine: Germany, the USA and China, as well as the German car manufacturers Volkswagen and BMW, are apparently refusing to phase out the internal combustion engine earlier. Unlike 30 other countries, fleet operators and regions as well as the manufacturers Ford, General Motors and Daimler, they do not want to commit to an internal combustion engine phase-out. That, at least, is the lesson of the past few days at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow. Specifically, the idea is that by 2040 only zero-emission cars and light commercial vehicles may be sold worldwide and in the leading markets by 2035.

Commuters are attached to their own cars: the prices for diesel and petrol are rising rapidly. Many commuters moan that this makes their journeys by car more expensive. But are workers actually switching from their cars to public transport and using climate-friendly alternatives to get to work? So far, there is little evidence of this, even in statistical surveys.

A pure car dealership and the city centre are no longer really compatible“ But is there a better alternative? Yes, thinks Christoph Golbeck, political scientist and „passionate cyclist“ – and is redesigning his parents‘ car dealership. About a very personal traffic turnaround.

Mobility study: Germany is the world’s second-largest market for e-cars. Europeans pay attention to range when buying e-cars. But the importance of electricity consumption does not seem to have quite sunk in yet. Germany is the world’s second-largest market for electric cars again this year. By the end of September, half a million plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars had been newly registered here, which is as many as in the UK, France and Italy combined, the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) in Bergisch Gladbach announced on Thursday.

Mobility of the future: What should mobility in the city of the future look like? The Paper Planes association is planning a nine-kilometre cycle route from east to west in Berlin – in order to establish „a new kind of urbanity“.

Adblue: The high gas prices indirectly affect diesel drivers and the transport industry. This is because they lead to less of an important component of the exhaust gas cleaning agent Adblue being produced.
Goods trains: Make less noise.


Hydrogen generation: Thyssenkrupp wants to get involved. The industrial and steel group Thyssenkrupp wants to increase its involvement in the industrial network Dii Desert Energy for sustainable energy from the desert and become a shareholder in the sponsoring company. The network, which was launched in 2009 under the name „Desertec Industrial Initiative“, aims to promote the generation of renewable energies in the desert regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

If it were a hype, we would be in the fourth phase of the hype by now. The classic hype cycle has five phases. In the case of hydrogen, we did indeed see a phase of exaggerated expectations after the introduction of the technology. That was in 2002/2003, when the economist Jeremy Rifkin presented the Hydrogen Economy to the whole world.

At that time, expectations were raised that could not be fulfilled subsequently. This led to a lasting disappointment. However, we have long since passed through this „valley of disappointment“. Now, in phase four, the relatively steep curve of reawakening interest and growing scientific, but also industrial possibilities is coming again. The fifth phase, which follows, is called the „plateau of productivity“. As far as hydrogen is concerned, I expect that we will reach this plateau from 2035 onwards, when a level of productivity will have been reached that will also lead to large profits. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe

Green hydrogen economy: Green electricity through wind farms: Netherlands relies on hydrogen. Natural gas has been produced in the Dutch North Sea for decades. Since earthquakes regularly occur in the region because of the drilling and houses are destroyed, the Netherlands will end natural gas production in just over a year. „In the Dutch southwest province of Zeeland, we have already converted a large pipeline to hydrogen. This practical example shows us that the pipelines and the connections are suitable for this,“ says Ulco Vermeulen of Gasunie. For Gasunie, the operator of these gas pipelines, this means that the kilometre-long gas network could be used for the transport of hydrogen. Ulco Vermeulen of Gasunie says that some adjustments to the pipelines are still needed, but in principle the transport is possible.

Coastal states see a great opportunity in hydrogen: The five northern German coastal states want to strengthen their cooperation in building a hydrogen industry. At a conference in the Parkhotel in Bremen, however, the Economics Ministers and Senators of the states could not yet agree on how the joint activities should be organised and financed. Actually, the establishment of a joint control centre was already in the final paper of the conference. At the last minute, however, this had to be withdrawn. „We have not yet been able to reach an agreement on how to put our joint hydrogen strategy into operation,“ admitted Bremen’s Senator for Economic Affairs Kristina Vogt (Left Party) afterwards. This is to be done in the first quarter of next year.

Hydrogen society: Green hydrogen has the potential to replace fossil fuels. But there is still a lot of research to be done. How the lightest of all elements is to fuel green dreams.
Decarbonisation: RWE and Shell cooperate on green hydrogen.


In the past, even during ongoing negotiations, there was a broad debate in society and also in the media – about how to tackle the challenges ahead and how to bring together different positions. So far, however, the traffic light negotiations have sent out a signal of secrecy. I find that somewhat irritating.

The signal from the traffic light negotiators is: let’s get on with it, we’ll find good solutions. We can write letters and take to the streets, but direct feedback is undesirable. This is not an encouraging signal for later political debates. We are faced with central social decisions: How do we expand renewable energies without destroying nature? How do we phase out coal by 2030? How do we restructure agriculture for more biodiversity, climate protection and animal welfare, but also with fair producer prices for farmers? How do we manage the transformation of mobility? All of this will only succeed if we take the people with us on this path. This requires participatory governance, and it is precisely this participatory moment that I miss very much at the moment. I would have expected an alliance that sees itself as a coalition of progress and departure to discuss this departure more openly with society.


Ghana: Fertiliser from sugar cane waste for sustainable agriculture: Ghana’s sugar cane farmers were not squeamish with their soil for a long time. Chemical fertiliser was used to increase yields, and harvest residues were burnt on the fields. Today, the waste is turned into biofertiliser.

Ethiopia: As the conflict in Ethiopia intensifies, the German government is calling for people to leave the country. On Wednesday, 72 drivers of the UN World Food Programme were arrested in the embattled region of Tigray.

Benin: France returns 26 works of art to Benin. Emmanuel Macron thus fulfils a promise.

Kenya: A Kenyan solar energy start-up shines at AfCFTA awards: The AfCFTA Caravan Prize aims to promote African small and medium enterprises by providing soft infrastructure that helps them expand beyond their home countries. Kenyan firm Tekizo Africa Limited is among the companies that emerged winners of the just-concluded African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Caravan Prize competition. The company, which is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of solar freezers for small-scale fishermen, came second in the final competition announced on Friday.

Libya: International Libya Conference begins in Paris. Elections are to be held in Libya on 24 December. A conference in Paris puts pressure on the civil war parties to stabilise the country.

Malawi: A Malawian activist makes history as the first elected MP with albinism in the country. The election of Overstone Kondowe is hailed as a „big step forward“ on a continent where people with albinism face stigma and attacks.

South Africa: South Africa’s ex-president Willem de Klerk died last week.He apologised posthumously for racial segregation. He had undergone a transformation – „and deep in my heart I realised that apartheid was wrong“: The de Klerk Foundation surprised with a special video.

Tanzania with dam plans: Tanzania is planning to build four strategic dams in different parts of the East African country in response to the effects of climate change, a cabinet minister announced on Wednesday. Water Resources Minister Jumaa Aweso said preparations were underway for the construction of the strategic dams in Dodoma, Morogoro, Songwe and Iringa regions, adding that the construction of the strategic dams would be done in parallel with the construction of medium-sized dams in different parts of the country. „Climate change has indeed affected the country’s water resources,“ Aweso told a press conference in the capital Dodoma.

Social media and messenger services: developing and emerging countries are important growth markets for digital corporations. In unstable regions, this can have fatal political consequences. Duvets, washing machines, lawyers: you can get everything in Asia and Africa via Whatsapp. But the monopoly position carries risks.


Fast fashion is a problem: Annabelle Homann runs a fair fashion label. To be sustainable, the industry would have to say goodbye to the growth paradigm, says Annabelle Homann, who runs a fair fashion label. „We have to move away from overproduction and learn to produce and consume less again. Jobs should be created for this, for example in repairing or recycling. We also need more circular economy. Textiles should be designed so that they last a long time and can be recycled well. It is not normal that a T-shirt costs two euros and is thrown away after a year. There is also a sustainable way for fashion. The second-hand market is growing strongly, and rental clothing is also on the rise. These are good developments.“

Human sewage recorded on world map: For the first time, the pollution of coastal seas by human sewage is shown on a world map.and shows the focal points where germs and nitrogen are particularly prevalent. Just 25 catchment areas wash almost half of the world’s sewage nitrogen into the sea. The hotspots are in India, China and Korea. But there are also some hotspots in the Mediterranean Sea, as the researchers found out. 6.2 million tonnes of nitrogen enter the oceans every year through our wastewater. Of this, 63 per cent comes from sewage systems, five per cent from septic tanks and 32 per cent from untreated, direct discharges.

Forest protection and imports into the EU: Environmental journalist Kathrin Hartmann has been sceptical about the idea of putting half the earth under nature protection. „The European Union imports 36 percent of all agricultural and animal goods from global forest destruction, including palm oil, soy, rubber and beef. The 30 x 30 target is not intended to end this overexploitation of nature, which we contribute to through the current organisation of our daily diet, but merely to compensate for it. At the same time, the supply of these raw materials is to be secured in this way. It is a foretaste of the distribution struggles of tomorrow. Since 1990, forests almost ten times the size of Germany have been destroyed. Sixty percent of the oceans are out of balance. A quarter of the land area is degraded and cannot be used or can only be used poorly. Almost half of the world’s insects are endangered or threatened with extinction. Preserving biodiversity is about raw materials and economic development, ways of life and ecological cycles. It’s about the whole“

Green Party in Turkey: At the end of September 2020, a green party was founded in Turkey, but the government is delaying its registration.
Future of work: Many companies have no strategies.
Beyond Meat: The US food producer suffered significant losses with its vegan meat substitutes in the third quarter of 2021.
Buildings: Greenhouse gas emissions already occur during construction.
Brazil: While Bolsonaro is cutting down the rainforest, renewable energies are booming.


Preserving monuments digitally at least:  The EU Commission is pushing for the establishment of a „common European data space for cultural heritage“. Endangered monuments and archaeological sites are to be digitised in 3D by 2030. Member states are to have converted half of their „most physically visited“ cultural sites into a digital format by then. The Commission wants member states to ensure that data resulting from their actions on publicly funded digitisation projects become and remain discoverable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable via digital infrastructures and the data space according to the „fair principles“. This will accelerate data sharing. The Commission also urges EU governments to use the required Green Deal strategies to „exploit the unprecedented opportunities that advanced digital technology offers to drive climate action and support the transition to a greener and more sustainable economy in the EU“.


On our own account: The next FAIReconomics Newsletter will be published on 29 November 2021.

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