to the German edition

Economists call on government to act quickly on climate protection and pandemic: Governments normally have 100 days to get up to speed, but the new traffic light coalition will not be given this deadline; the challenges posed by climate protection and the pandemic are too urgent. According to leading economists, the government under new Chancellor Scholz must not lose any time: Germany’s competitiveness is at stake. Fridays for Future activist Luise Neubauer is also already criticising the federal government and the coalition agreement: „We don’t have a choice between a little more or a little less climate protection. We have a choice between radical emission reductions in the next few years, or an imminent meet and greet with various climate tipping points, of which we can only guess the worst.“ ,

Warning against watering down the EU taxonomy: The European Union has set first criteria for sustainable investments. However, two points of contention remain open: whether fossil natural gas and nuclear power are officially considered „sustainable“ in the EU is to be clarified later. Large parts of the taxonomy were tacitly adopted by the EU states this week by not objecting to a matching legal act of the EU Commission during the set deadline. Now, for example, cars are only considered sustainable if they run directly on electricity, not on hydrogen.

16 percent of about 6,000 dragonfly species worldwide are endangered or threatened with extinction.

This is the result of a study by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which for the first time examined the threats to the dragonfly for its Red List. The destruction of wetlands as well as pesticides and other chemicals in water bodies are the main reasons leading to this decline. In South and Southeast Asia and Central and South America, the dragonflies‘ habitats are disappearing mainly due to forest destruction.

EU climate tariffs: Could prove to be an illusion. The planned CO2 border adjustment could easily come under suspicion of protectionism. It is a bureaucratic monster anyway.

Baerbock continues to reject France’s plans on „green“ nuclear power: France wants to classify nuclear power as a sustainable energy source. For the German Greens, this is a nightmare – and Annalena Baerbock made this position clear during her inaugural visit to Paris. Meanwhile, it became known that a good 50 per cent of respondents to a YouGov survey in Germany want at least a „small role“ for nuclear power. ,

Masks threaten wildlife: High levels of microplastics, masks swallowed by animals – experts warn that carelessly disposed Corona waste could lead to an environmental disaster. What is surprising, they say, is how strongly the appearance of the masks is influenced by national measures such as travel relaxations.

Personal CO2 budget could strengthen personal responsibility: The fear of doing without is perhaps still too great for the model of a personal CO2 budget. But it has great potential, believes Dr. Vicki Duscha from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). This is because it „actively“ involves citizens. They would learn „which activities and in particular which consumption account for which contribution to our current emissions“.


Wenn das Wasser kommt – An Essay

Droughts, floods, tornadoes – extreme weather events have become more frequent in recent years, and yet they are only one item on a long list of fundamental changes that humanity has to contend with. It is no longer just a question of what we can do to prevent the consequences of climate change, but what we can do to counter them. In a stirring essay that was already published in the Netherlands in 2020, bestselling author Rutger Bregman calls for us to no longer close our eyes to the inevitable: sea levels are rising, storm surges are becoming more frequent, Europe’s coastal regions, entire countries, the homes of millions of people are threatened. In a visionary way, Bregman makes mankind aware of its obliviousness to catastrophes and shows that often the worst has to happen before revolutionary measures are taken. The recent past confirms his thoughts.

Susanne Götze, a historian and journalist with a doctorate, has expanded the essay to include the German perspective and written an afterword on the current situation.



Streaming services: According to the report, the ecological footprint of some songs is comparable to around 4,000 flights between London and New York.
Glyphosate dispute in the USA: The US Supreme Court is expected to announce on 13 December whether the justices will accept an appeal by Bayer against a ruling in the legal dispute over the weed killer glyphosate.
Wastewater treatment: Berliner Wasserbetriebe will soon clean waste water with ozone.
Scrap problems with wind turbines: Green wind power has a recycling problem.
Green top marks for 14 German companies: Only 272 out of 12,000 companies worldwide make it onto this year’s environmental top list of the Carbon Disclosure Project. Germany falls back to third place.
White Christmas is becoming rarer: Climate change with rising temperatures is gradually driving the romantic White Christmas out of Germany.
Environmental subsidies: Biggest item in state aid and support.
Climate protest: Eiffel Tower in front of Reichstag building.

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.


„It won’t work without fewer cars“

Can FDP Minister Wissing get a grip on CO2 emissions from transport? What is important now for the number one climate polluter and for the mobility turnaround. The transport sector is Germany’s biggest climate protection problem child – emissions are not falling, but the number of cars is increasing. More than 160 million tonnes of CO2 are sent into the atmosphere every year, that’s a fifth of Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions. And in just nine years, these emissions must be reduced to 85 million tonnes. Will the traffic lights achieve this?


E-cars are also worthwhile in rural areas: never before have so many electric cars been newly registered as this year. However, many drivers still have doubts – because of the range and the costs. But many reservations are outdated. The new German government has set itself the goal of having around 15 million e-cars on German roads by the end of 2030. E-mobility is supposed to contribute to achieving the climate goals the government has set for itself. Currently, there are just over one million electric cars on the roads in Germany, and that includes so-called plug-in hybrids – i.e. internal combustion vehicles with a switchable electric drive.

CO2 guzzler HGV: Due to inefficient organisation, HGV freight transport wastes massive amounts of resources and emits far more CO₂ than necessary. But instead of using modern technology, communication still takes place by mail and telephone. Yet solutions would have been ready long ago.

Daimler receives Level 3 approval for S-Class: The Mercedes flagship is the first series-production car in the world that is allowed to drive completely autonomously under certain conditions. A „breakthrough“ for the car company.

Innovation in e-mobility: Tesla is the most innovative e-car brand, also in the eyes of consumers. Some of the German carmakers are closing in in their slipstream, but still have to convince consumers of their innovative strength.

Wissing’s priorities: The future Federal Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing (FDP), says he wants to focus on climate-neutral mobility offers for everyone. I was already Transport Minister, and I have always made sure that a mobility offer is made for everyone that remains affordable,“ Wissing said on ARD’s „Morgenmagazin“. What is needed is „a mobility offer that is climate-neutral“ for rural areas and cities, more local public transport, more cycle paths and good offers for pedestrian traffic.



How Germany could prevent a dependence on hydrogen:  A research project now advises minimising risks early on – for example by diversifying sources of supply.

Is the Ruhr region becoming a hydrogen powerhouse? Electrify yourselves! This is the first marching order to industry. The second: do it with hydrogen! But how will H2 flow to the factories in future? Industry in the Ruhr region is now leading the way.

Green hydrogen is and will remain a scarce commodity: In order to secure the supply of green hydrogen in the coming years, Germany will have to rely on imports. However, a new study by Fraunhofer UMSICHT, the Wuppertal Institute and the Institute of the German Economy comes to a sobering conclusion: supplies from abroad will not be able to cover the expected demand until 2030. Hydrogen is indispensable for the energy transition. It replaces coal and gas, especially in industry, but can also be used in electricity and heat generation or in transport. However, the use of hydrogen is only sustainable if renewable energies are used in its production. And this is precisely where the problem lies – domestic hydrogen production from renewable energies will not be able to meet the growing demand by 2030. A good 5,700 offshore wind turbines would have to be installed in 2030 for Germany to be able to cover its hydrogen demand entirely through domestic production.

Massive criticism of the EU’s regulatory plans: Hydrogen technology is indispensable in the fight against climate change. But EU parliamentarians are now arguing with the Commission about how to get there. Conservative European politicians warn against setting the wrong course for hydrogen production. In a letter they address Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and criticise current regulatory plans of the EU Commission. Instead, they call for more pragmatism and incentives for investments. The background is a „delegated act“ that the Commission wants to adopt next week and for which drafts are already circulating in Brussels. The Commission is unnecessarily complicating the European energy transition with this legal act, the letter says.

Bill Gates goes all in on hydrogen: And buys crazy fuel cell yacht.

cloud and sky

British researchers present hydrogen aircraft – it is to make flying CO2-free: Hydrogen is considered the energy carrier of the future because of its climate friendliness. British researchers have presented a hydrogen aircraft that should actually make flying CO2-free in the future. The project sounds promising, but there are hurdles.

The role of hydrogen in the maritime economy: Alternatives to fossil fuels have long been essential not only from an ecological point of view, but also form a promising, flourishing economic factor for the future. Hydrogen is the most important energy carrier of the future. In its National Hydrogen Strategy, the German government emphasises its versatility and sets itself the goal, among other things, of establishing hydrogen and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels as alternative energy carriers and expanding the transport and distribution infrastructure. Seaports and the maritime industry play a central role in the import, production and distribution of hydrogen. A study has now been completed that examines the topic in more detail:

Hydrogen from grasses: Researchers around the world are working on various production processes. In an interdisciplinary project entitled „Electrically enhanced microbial hydrogen production“, employees of Aachen University of Applied Sciences at the Jülich campus are working on producing hydrogen from organic material – for example grasses or straw. The three Jülich departments of chemistry and biotechnology, medical technology and technomathematics, and energy technology are involved. The main protagonists are Prof. Nils Tippkötter with his colleagues Simone Krafft and Berit Rothkranz as well as Prof. Thorsten Wagner and Prof. Isabel Kuperjans, the university announced.


Report on the status of the Nagoya Protocol: Between July 2020 and June 2021, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) carried out user inspections in written form at ten basic research institutions for the completion of the Risk Control Plan 2018/1 in accordance with Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No.511/2014. This is stated in the Fifth Report of the Federal Government on the Status of Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (20/183). In addition, on-site inspections took place at one company from the biotechnology sector. The BfN found violations of the EU regulation at one company in the plant protection sector and in five cases at institutions in the basic research sector. At the end of the reporting period, a total of eight proceedings were pending due to identified violations, the report states. Two of them related to violations that had already been reported in the Fourth Report. In one of these cases, fine proceedings had been initiated, the Federal Government writes in its information. With one exception, all inspections had been completed, and the Risk Control Plan 2018/1 had thus been concluded. The Nagoya Protocol – officially the „Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization“ – is a binding international treaty that entered into force in 2014. Germany has been a party to the Nagoya Protocol since 2016.

Green Deal leads to environmental improvements:  In the view of the German government, the EU’s „Green Deal“ will lead to the desired environmental improvements. This is stated in the answer (20/118) to a minor question of the AfD parliamentary group (20/18). The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) had sent a study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to the Thünen Institute and the Julius Kühn Institute with a request for a scientific evaluation. This evaluation had been submitted on 3 September 2021. The results of the analysis showed that achieving the four objectives designed to increase environmental sustainability, such as reducing the risk and use of plant protection products, reducing nutrient surplus, increasing the area for organic farming and increasing the area for species-rich landscape features, could actually lead to the desired environmental improvements in the model, even under the current implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which underlines the fundamental plausibility of the chosen model approach.


„Whales are now called the gardeners of the sea because they eat huge amounts of plankton. And this plankton is created by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and building up carbon in the oceans.

Harald Benke, retired whale researcher, on the whaling moratorium agreed seventy years ago. The whales would take these huge amounts of plankton, dive down and then stun ozusay the opposite of feeding at depth. And in this way, atmospheric carbon would reach the largest carbon repository on the planet, namely the deep sea, via the whales, so to speak.


„We want our clothes to be loved by customers and to be worn for a long time. I have been wearing Primark jeans for ten years and have never had a problem. But still: We know that we can do more to make our clothes more durable and we are actively addressing this. We already have external laboratories testing the durability of our clothes. There is no universal standard yet, so we are in the process of creating our own ambitious standard. We are focusing on several areas to make our garments more durable and changing the way they are designed and manufactured to reduce fashion waste.“

Christiane Wiggers-Voellm, CEO Primark Germany and Austria, the recycling of clothes can be improved. This already starts with the design. If you print a T-shirt in a complex way, it becomes more difficult. Sequins also make recycling more complicated – we therefore train our design teams accordingly. And in production, for example, we used yarns made from recycled plastic bottles.



Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso gets a new government. President Roch Kaboré has dismissed Prime Minister Christophe Dabiré. He had submitted his resignation. The country is in crisis.

Burundi: Prison fire in Burundi leaves 38 dead and 69 seriously injured. The cause of the accident is unknown so far. The prison was overcrowded with about 1500 inmates, it is designed for only 400 linnets.
Gambia: Incumbent Barrow wins presidential election in Gambia. Adama Barrow has ruled the Gambia since the fall of dictator Yahya Jammeh. His rivals so far do not recognise the election victory.
Kenya: Electoral Commission claims interference could affect 2022 elections. Allegations of interference by official bodies in the work of Kenya’s electoral commission have rocked preparations for the country’s next elections and renewed concerns about the country’s political stability. President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, said the country must break the cycle of violence that has cost lives, driven people from their homes and caused massive economic losses in five of the last six elections since 1992.
Congo: For decades, it was not talked about in Belgium: the fate of children born of a sexual relationship between a white and a black woman in the Belgian Congo colony. In colonial times, such relationships were forbidden, any children were put in asylums. Now, for the first time, five victims of this practice in Belgium have sued the state – and failed.

Mauritius: Tax Paradise. For $375,000 you can get a golden visa to paradise. Mauritius is booming, luxury resorts for the super-rich are springing up all over the island. With low tax rates, Africa’s richest country attracts wealthy people from all over the world – but locals have little to gain from it.


How plants buy us time in climate change: How does the photosynthesis rate of plants change when more CO2 is available in the ambient air? This question has long preoccupied scientists and, depending on the method used, has led to different estimates of the extent to which plants take up additional CO2. A new study now comes to the conclusion that plants today perform about twelve percent more photosynthesis than 30 years ago – with a simultaneous increase of 17 percent in the CO2 content of the atmosphere. As a natural store of the greenhouse gas, plants thus slow down its accumulation in the atmosphere.

How urban sprawl acts as a fire accelerant: Most of the devastating fires in the USA occur at the interface between settlements and forests. Especially in California, more and more people are moving into the countryside. In California, there is no compulsory fire insurance, and many do not take out any, precisely because the premiums for a house in such a risk zone are high. Some insurance companies explicitly exclude coverage for homes in high-risk areas. But often it is not only the residents at the site of the disaster who rebuild their homes – even after a disaster, the flow of new immigrants continues.

Food security threatened by plastic in the soil: The pollution of agricultural soils with plastic threatens food security, according to the United Nations. When plastic field covers accumulate in the soil, harvests shrink. If the material breaks down into microplastics – pieces smaller than 5 millimetres – it can enter the food chain and potentially endanger health, it said. In 2019, agriculture consumed 12.5 million tonnes of plastic worldwide. 37.3 million tonnes have been used for food packaging. Asia’s share is the largest, at 50 per cent, according to an FAO report. By 2030, the consumption of films for greenhouses, field covers and storage of fermentation fodder (silage) will increase by 50 per cent from 6.1 million tonnes in 2018, according to forecasts by industry experts. ,

Sustainable Cities: Europe’s Most Beautiful Slow Cities.
Endangered Amur tiger: Extreme snow masses in the far east of Russia endanger the already endangered Amur tiger, the largest wild cat on the planet.
How to stop the great extinction: In 20 years, the number of birds in Austria’s meadows and fields has dropped by 40 percent. They are running out of space and food.
Rohingya sue Facebook: Algorithms fuel hatred.


Groom attacks climate activists for blocking street:  Climate protesters blocked a street in Mannheim’s city centre. According to the report, the activists blocked Fressgasse in Mannheim during an unannounced meeting on Saturday afternoon, sitting down and using flower pots, among other things. One person had stuck his feet to the pavement with glue, others chained themselves to a model car made of cardboard and pallets. Police eventually cleared the street, partly by carrying away the activists, and took the personal details of 18 participants. One groom, who was on his way to his wedding, apparently got physical. He was charged with assault.

to the German edition

All images, unless otherwise stated:

You are receiving this newsletter because you are interested in environmental and sustainable issues.