Agreement at World Climate Conference and mixed reactions: The World Climate Conference has agreed for the first time on a common pot of money to compensate for climate damage in poorer countries. In their final declaration, the approximately 200 countries also reaffirmed their earlier decision to phase out coal. However, there is no mention of a farewell to oil and gas. The declaration thus falls short of the demands of many states, climate activists and environmentalists who consider an end to dependence on dirty energy sources to be imperative. In the dispute over aid for poor countries in the climate crisis, Foreign Minister Baerbock sees all countries with high greenhouse gas emissions as responsible – including China. If the People’s Republic does not radically reduce its emissions, it will also have to pay for the damage. Accordingly, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was disappointed at the end of the conference. „When it comes to the outcome, hope and frustration are close together,“ Baerbock said on Sunday morning. She said it was frustrating „that overdue steps to reduce and phase out fossil fuels were prevented due to the blockade by some large emitters and oil-producing countries“. The world is losing „precious time to move towards a 1.5 degree path“. Vice-President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans also expressed his disappointment about the results. faz.net, tagesschau.de (Baerbock), welt.de (reactions), n-tv.de, unfccc.int (decisions of the climate conference /original documents)
Climate Protection Index 2023 Germany slips slightly in the ranking: Germanwatch and the New Climate Institute have published the Climate Protection Index (CCPI) for the year 2023. In the ranking, 60 of the largest emitters worldwide are compared annually with regard to their climate protection efforts. In the latest version, the „usual suspects“ are at the top positions, but there are also surprising changes compared to the previous year. Overall, the current energy price crisis highlights how dependent many countries still are on fossil fuels. This can also be seen in the new Climate Protection Index. deutschlandfunk.de , ccpi.org (the most important results in the original document)
795 new wind turbines
have been planned since the beginning of the year. On an interactive map it is possible to look up the planning of onshore wind turbines. Without a rapid expansion of wind power, there are no two opinions among experts, the ambitious goals of the German energy transition cannot be achieved. But as uncontroversial as this realisation is, the implementation has been lacking. After years of boom, it was most recently the lack of speed in the expansion of wind power that caused the Federal Republic to fall behind in the implementation of the energy transition. The reason for this is easy to find: protesting residents – and the long shadow they cast over every wind power project that is even in the offing. wiwo.de
Major rainforest countries sign environmental alliance: The three countries with the largest rainforest areas in the world have formed an alliance to protect their tropical forests. Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Indonesia signed a declaration to this effect on Monday ahead of the deliberations of the 20 leading industrialised and emerging countries (G20). The three countries account for more than half of all tropical areas worldwide. zeit.de, handelsblatt.com
WWF presents climate protection financing guide: The environmental organisation has presented a follow-up model for CO2 offsets. Companies are to „provide additional funds to finance global climate protection outside their value chains“. Too often, they still rely purely on offsetting their emissions The WWF emphasises that purchased CO2 credits are not a sufficient climate protection measure. „A follow-up model for additional climate financing through CO2 compensation is urgently needed,“ says Sebastian Öttl, expert for sustainable corporate governance at WWF Germany. wwf.de
Right to repair should be improved: Smartphones and tablets should be usable for longer, the right to repair meets with broad approval in Europe. However, eco-activists criticise the planned EU rules as insufficient. There are too many hurdles. Eco-activists see the planned EU rules as fake. The activists have received the draft of the repair regulations. In practice, the new rules in their current form will not give citizens a real right to repair“. klimareporter.de
World heritage sites threatened by climate change: At a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, experts in Delphi, Greece, addressed the impact of climate change on sites worthy of protection. Climate change has become the number one threat to natural World Heritage sites such as coral reefs and glaciers, the organisation announced. By 2100, half of them could have disappeared. The 220 natural heritage sites include the Gerianger Fjord in Norway, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, numerous national parks in Africa and in Germany the Wadden Sea, ancient beech forests and the Messel Pit near Darmstadt, an important fossil site. All world heritage sites should be better protected, derstandard.at , unesco.org
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Everything about almost nothing
The big universe of small particles
When we talk about dust, there is usually a problem: house dust triggers allergies, fine dust pollutes the city air, aerosols transport dangerous viruses. But the small particles can do much more: dusty soils are very fertile, the Amazon rainforest depends on fertilisation by Saharan dust, and without dust in the air it would be much darker on Earth because it reflects sunlight into the remotest corners. Even meteorological phenomena like rain or snow could not exist without small particles in the air. Clever, witty and eloquent, dust expert Jens Soentgen reports on the useful pests that surround us every day. dtv.de
Lula’s promise: Brazil’s newly elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announces a new path in the fight against climate change. faz.net
Food waste: Reduction benefits the climate. dw.com
Last Generation: Experts find no radicalisation. derstandard.at
Survey: Climate protection more important than economic development for majority in industrialised countries. welt.de
Denmark: Is climate world champion. taz.de
Pandemic: Did not bring about a turnaround in greenhouse gas emissions. faz.net
Heat pumps: Habeck announces special regulation for electricity price brake. tagesschau.de
Waste water: Can be converted into heating energy. n-tv.de
Start-ups: Record financing for energy start-ups. capital.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:
Football World Cup in Qatar – the fairytale of the climate-neutral tournament
Qatar had announced a CO2-neutral World Cup, despite huge new stadiums and daily fan flights. The practice is now less green, Fifa boss Infantino doesn’t mind.
Fifa boss Gianni Infantino has promised not only the best, but also the first climate-neutral World Cup in Qatar. In the country that has by far the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world, at around 34 tonnes per year. How climate neutrality is to be achieved – and whether it is possible at all – is the subject of an interview with Islamic scholar Tobias Zumbrägel of the Carpo Institute. The Emirate and Fifa themselves assume that a total of 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 will be blown into the atmosphere by the tournament. That is more than some countries in Africa emit in an entire year. But in view of the massive construction measures, the figure still seems too low, a fact that has now also been confirmed by independent studies. tagesspiegel.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
African countries cannot simply „adapt“ to the climate crisis
by Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist, Unicef ambassador and author of A Bigger Picture (first published in the Guardian).
„The entire continent of Africa is responsible for less than four per cent of historical global emissions, yet the people of Africa are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Our societies, our economies and, above all, our people are suffering profound damage. The same injustice is affecting other low-income parts of the world: in Pakistan, extreme flooding inundated one-third of the entire country earlier this year, killing more than 1,700 people. The World Bank estimates the total economic damage in Pakistan at over 30 billion dollars; reconstruction will cost another 16 billion dollars.
The legacy of colonial exploitation and plunder by rich countries has meant that countries like Pakistan, Kenya and Mozambique do not have enough resources to cope with extreme climate change. Without the money to recover from extreme weather events, there is little hope for countries like mine to survive the next decades. freitag.de
Mobility transition: Automotive regions demand EU support for change in the automotive industry: Several representatives of European automotive regions are demanding financial support from the European Union. This will ensure the fundamental reorientation of the car industry, including the phase-out of new cars with an internal combustion engine by 2035 and the respective employees. On Thursday in Leipzig, EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit spoke of a „gigantic challenge“ to achieve the EU’s climate goals. In the EU alone, around twelve million jobs depend on the success of a successful transformation of the automotive industry. „Many regions depend on this industry remaining competitive and succeeding in the transformation to climate-neutral powertrains,“ Schmit explained. So far, the alliance includes a full 29 car regions in Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The alliance demands support from the EU for a „just and fair change“. heise.de
Cabinet gets billions for local transport on track: The additional billions promised by the federal government for local bus and rail transport throughout Germany are getting underway. On Friday, the cabinet approved a draft formulation to increase the so-called regionalisation funds by one billion euros annually from 2022 onwards. They are also to increase by three per cent annually from 2023 instead of 1.8 per cent each year as before. The federal government and the Länder had agreed on the increases at the beginning of November. The Länder had made this a condition for co-financing the planned nationwide 49-euro monthly ticket. wiwo.de
The future of transport – The train has not yet left the station: Throughout history, the mobility of us humans continued to increase. This is now becoming a problem, but one that can be solved. derstandard.at
Decarbonisation of road freight transport: Eight associations from the forwarding, transport, logistics and mobility sectors have jointly presented in a good five-page paper how they believe the climate turnaround in road freight transport can succeed. eurotransport.de , vda.de(Original paper)
Railways increase the cost of freight transport by up to 45 per cent: To achieve the climate targets, it is necessary to transport more goods by rail. DB Cargo now wants to charge significantly more for this – and is alienating customers in the process. spiegel.de
VW boss Blume wants to prevent new electric car factory: Oliver Blume is redesigning at VW. This includes the rescheduling of models and probably the cancellation of a new factory. golem.de
BMW: Secures CO2 poor steel. wiwo.de
Transporting hydrogen faster: Gas bubbles make the difference. A group of researchers from the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg have discovered how the transport of green hydrogen can be accelerated. Tiny gas bubbles make the difference. ingenieur.de
US hydrogen plan makes Europe nervous: The competition for the energy carrier is picking up speed: The Biden administration is promoting the establishment of a hydrogen industry with tax breaks. Not only in Germany is the fear of being left behind growing. sz.de
EU wants to expand hydrogen production with Egypt: Will green hydrogen solve Europe’s energy problems? At the very least, more Egyptian hydrogen is to be supplied to Europe in future – that is what the EU agreed with the host country at the climate conference. Germany is providing millions for the production of the green energy carrier abroad. n-tv.de
New hope for cheap desert hydrogen: Cheap green electricity from sun and wind-rich desert regions – the „Desertec 3.0“ project is now taking a new course. „Green“ hydrogen is supposed to help solve Europe’s energy problems. So far, however, pipelines, money and a political strategy are lacking. klimareporter.de
Orange is the new green: a key building block for the energy transition lies dormant in the earth’s crust: natural hydrogen. It could be extracted and stored in parallel CO₂. According to experts, this weathering could be proactively promoted to tap new, sustainable hydrogen sources. They also give their hypothetical product a colour: orange hydrogen. zeit.de
First hydrogen train arrives in Frankfurt: Train journeys through the Taunus region will become more environmentally friendly in the future. Hydrogen trains from the manufacturer Alstom are to be launched on four routes. Hydrogen trains emit no CO2 and require no overhead lines. Federal Transport Minister Wissing is enthusiastic about the project. n-tv.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Activities of the Arctic Council temporarily suspended: According to the Federal Government, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has also had an impact on cooperation with Russia in the Arctic. The Arctic Council, of which Russia is still a member, has suspended its activities for the time being, according to an answer (20/4396) to a small question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (20/3866). „Seven of the eight members declared immediately after the start of the Russian war of aggression that the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity have long formed the basis for the work of the Arctic Council.“ In light of Russia’s blatant violation of these principles, the Arctic Council members paused participation in all meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies.
Climate and Transformation Fund: The Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF) is expected to provide allocations, grants and investments of 35.96 billion euros in the coming year. This is 8.02 billion euros more than this year. Commitment appropriations for the coming budget years amount to 110.24 billion euros. Compared to the planning for 2023 in the government’s draft federal budget (Chapter 6002, Section 60, 20/3100), this expenditure in the Fund’s economic plan is 602 million euros higher and the commitment appropriations are 5.02 billion euros higher. The Climate and Transformation Fund, formerly: Energy and Climate Fund, is a special fund of the Federal Government and serves to finance climate, energy and transformation policy projects. bundestag.de
The Left Party wants to decriminalise containerising: The parliamentary group Die Linke wants to decriminalise so-called containerising. This is the removal of edible food from supermarket waste containers. As the parliamentary group explains in a draft law (20/4421), such acts can currently be classified as theft. The parliamentary group refers to surveys according to which 80 per cent of those questioned would oppose criminal liability. „In the current situation of rising food prices, criminalising people who appropriate food that is still edible is even less justifiable,“ the parliamentary group states. To implement this, the bill provides for an amendment to section 248a of the Criminal Code („Theft and misappropriation of low-value items“). According to this, prosecution is to be waived „if the offence relates to foodstuffs which have been deposited by the owner in a waste container which is used for collection and disposal by a waste disposal company or otherwise made available for collection“.
Impact of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030: The implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is still in its infancy in Germany and the European Union, according to an answer by the Federal Government (20/4243) to a minor question by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/3978). The strategy of the EU Commission provides for a large number of measures that will be further specified and developed in the course of its implementation, writes the Federal Government. The timetable provides for a staggered implementation of measures, so that not all measures have yet been concretised. Against this background, an assessment of all economic, ecological and social impacts is not very meaningful and „is not planned by the Federal Government“, the answer states.
Council of Climate Experts urges politicians to change paradigms: The development of greenhouse gas emissions as well as the continuation of the trends of the last few years make the Council of Climate Experts doubt that the targets for 2030 can be achieved. This is the result of the „Report on the Development of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Trends in Annual Emission Levels and the Effectiveness of Measures (Two-Year Report 2022)“, which is available as information (20/4430). In summary, the report states that three main findings of the report are decisive for the future direction of German climate policy. Firstly, there have been substantial emission reductions in the period from 2000 to 2021, but the realised climate policy impacts were in many cases lower than the targets announced and addressed by political instruments. This is shown by the very different trajectories of reductions in the various sectors through phases in which emissions did not decrease further or even increased again. Secondly, an almost continuous increase in activities in all sectors, including rebound effects, had counteracted a possible stronger reduction in emissions. Thirdly, past trends in GHG emissions, as well as extrapolation of trends in recent years prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, indicated a significant compliance gap with respect to the 2030 targets for all sectors and overall.
„Not doing anything about climate change against one’s better judgement is violence and kills, yes. But one hears the argument all the way to the steep thesis that one may even suspend the constitutional order if the situation presents itself apocalyptically enough. But such argumentation is wrong. Changes must be democratically legitimised and secured by the rule of law. And anyway, nothing is saved by the disruptive actions alone. The activists want to initiate opinion-forming processes and increase the pressure on the population, the public and the political actors so that something finally happens.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Lob-Huedepohl, member of the German Ethics Council. … one can super distract from one’s own inability to act consistently by declaring others to be scapegoats. The general public knows and in principle also wants that something radically changes in favour of the climate. He deliberately says „radical“ in the sense of „going to the root“ and not „radical“ in the sense of action. However, far too few are prepared to change their own actions in everyday life or to support corresponding political guidelines. Therefore, the blockers would touch the deep bad conscience of many people, especially political actors. For they would have to set the political framework. n-tv.de
„Take the water circulation in the North Atlantic: it could come to a standstill above a certain threshold – a tipping point. Or the distribution of the ice masses. It can also change irreversibly as soon as the ice sheets of Greenland or the glaciers of Antarctica recede. Behind each of these tipping elements is a different mechanism by which it is caused to tilt. What they have in common is that a change in their state can have consequences for the entire planet.
Thomas Stocker, climate physicist, Stocker advocates an IPCC special report on tipping points. The discussion about this should not distract from how devastating climate impacts are even without such extreme scenarios. There is a bias in the reporting. This may have to do with the fact that tipping points are very vivid and dramatic and therefore attract a lot of attention, especially in the media. But in his opinion, this is risky for the credibility of science, because we are still discussing on the basis of relatively little evidence. That could be dangerous. We don’t really need the threat of tipping points to make us aware of the urgency of the climate crisis. There are other good arguments for that – and ones that are based on much more robust research. We know how urgent it is because of the global carbon budget we still have left. zeit.de
In the midst of the climate crisis – „Big moment“ for Africa’s gas industry: Africa’s gas industry wants to become a crisis winner. At the climate conference, the African Union is promoting investment in the sector. Climate activists warn against investing in short-term European interests. dw.com
„Global Shield“ protective shield against climate disasters agreed: Together with 60 particularly vulnerable countries, the G7 have agreed on a programme called „Global Shield“. In the event of a crisis, it is intended to facilitate rapid assistance, but critics see the protective shield as a diversionary tactic. spiegel.de
Europe’s search for energy in Africa: Europe is in the middle of an energy crisis. In their search for alternatives to Russian gas, the EU and Germany are also looking to Africa. So far, the continent produces around six percent of the world’s gas, but this share could soon increase significantly. Whether Egypt, Mozambique, Nigeria or Algeria: the list of countries that want to expand their gas exports is long. In Senegal and Mauritania, the production of liquefied gas is being promoted on Germany’s initiative. There are also untouched gas fields in South Africa and Tanzania. The countries stand to gain billions in revenue if they develop them. The African Union (AU), a forum of 55 member states, senses big business and the chance to emerge as a winner from the energy crisis. dw.com
Environment: What climate change is doing in Africa. faz.net
The new oil barons: Some African states see themselves at the beginning of a fossil age and want to extract large oil deposits. They are demanding what industrialised nations have long had. „The rich states want to prohibit us from using our resources,“ says petroleum commissioner Shino from Namibia, summing up her view of things. „But these states are industrialised. They can quietly stop using fossil resources themselves. Then there will be more for us.“ zeit.de
New dispute over genocide agreement with Namibia: No new negotiations with Namibia, that is what the German government had said in September. But now there are to be further talks because the pressure keeps growing. dw.com
South African men demonstrate against sexualised violence: In South Africa, the number of murders of women and rapes is increasing. Now men are also rebelling against it – first and foremost the King of the Zulus. zeit.de
Overwhelmed by the climate crisis: The causes of the climate crisis have been known for decades, as have the consequences. But even the „worst case scenario“ seems to shake people up only to a limited extent. „The climate crisis is a very abstract and complex problem,“ explains psychologist Katharina van Bronswijk. Many people understand in principle that we have a problem, but they do not see the possibilities for action. This is especially the case now, when several crises are happening at the same time. In her view, opportunities for citizens to participate in climate protection are therefore crucial – above all, marginalised groups must be included. Accordingly, it is „very important to always flank environmental measures with social measures as well“ deutschlandfunk.de
Sea level rise in the Mississippi Delta: The marshes in the Mississippi Delta are considered a unique natural region. The marshy areas between land and sea on the south coast of the USA extend over thousands of square kilometres. But now the sea seems to be encroaching further and further into this flat landscape. Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have now used Landsat satellites, measuring aircraft and on-site measurements to investigate the extent of the land loss and the reasons for it. The evaluations revealed: Since the early 1980s, the wetlands along Louisiana’s coasts have been losing land almost continuously. On average, 54 square kilometres of land area sink into the floods every year. scinexx.de
Good news from the Great Barrier Reef: The climate crisis is threatening coral reefs, this is now a truism and is described as coral bleaching. To limit the damage, they are being bred. An Australian project now reports success.Four years after they were planted, corals bred at an offshore nursery on Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef have spawned for the first time. A team from the Reef Restoration Foundation (RRF) had observed the spectacle in Acropora corals about one metre in diameter at the Welcome Bay nursery on the island. The spawning is a beautiful milestone that contributes to the recovery of the corals, said Azri Saparwan, marine biologist at the RRF. spiegel.de
Under the magnifying glass: The green lungs of the earth. faz.net
Environmental destruction: Making zoonoses more common. spektrum.de
Indonesia: Support for the coal phase-out. klimareporter.de
Overtourism: How Santiago de Compostela suffers from the rush of pilgrims. stern.de
Global warming: How athletes have to adapt. welt.de
Oil multinationals pay out 45 billion euros in dividends for one quarter
Consumers around the world are feeling the effects of the Russian war against Ukraine in their wallets: their energy bills are rising significantly. The oil companies – and their shareholders – are profiting from this. The oil companies‘ billions in revenue are making their shareholders‘ profits bubble up. Oil producers worldwide paid out dividends of 46.4 billion US dollars (44.7 billion euros) in the third quarter, according to a study by the London-based investment company Janus Henderson. That was an increase of more than three quarters compared to the same period last year. The increase had been expected in view of the results announced by energy giants such as BP, Shell or Saudi Aramco. Since the beginning of the year, oil prices had risen enormously because of the Russian attack on Ukraine and a boom in demand due to the recovery after the pandemic. Nevertheless, the analysis is likely to drive the debate on an excess profits tax. manager-magazin.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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