Criticism of EU climate plans: Last Wednesday, the EU Commission presented its plans for sustainable carbon cycles. Among other things, the focus is on buildings. Just one per cent of all buildings in the EU are renovated for energy efficiency each year. Thus, Europe’s building stock is not being decarbonised fast enough. To ensure that more buildings are energy renovated or built equally efficiently in the future, the European Commission has submitted a proposal to recast the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The aim is to make the building stock climate-neutral by 2050. The planned reform is part of a series of legislative proposals by the Commission with which the EU wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. Another new source of revenue is on the horizon for agriculture. Natural solutions include, for example, reforestation or the rewetting of peatlands. Technical solutions rely on capturing CO that is produced 2and storing it underground – this is „carbon capture and storage“, or CCS for short. The EU Commission wants Europe to focus on both in its climate policy. About half of the CO is to be 2stored naturally and half technically. However, the plan has met with criticism from the agricultural sector and environmental organisations. There is also still a need for negotiations on another point. According to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, the decision on whether nuclear power will be classified as sustainable in the EU taxonomy will be taken next year. euractiv.de, ec.europe.eu , klimareporter.de, handelsblatt.de , heise.de
Gas market package presented – criticism from associations: The European Union’s gas market rules are elementary for the common handling of the fossil fuel by the European member states. The EU institutions last adopted a revision of the rules in April 2019. Among other things, this ensured that cross-border gas infrastructure projects must be unbundled and transparent. For example, the operator of a pipeline may not also be the supplier of the gas. This is precisely why the Nord Stream 2 pipeline cannot go into operation under the current circumstances. Now the EU Commission has presented proposals for a further revision of the European gas market rules. Announcing the proposals, Frans Timmermanns, Vice-President of the EU Commission, said: „Europe needs to turn the page and move away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner energies. That also means replacing fossil gas with renewables and low-carbon gases like hydrogen.“ Hydrogen instead of natural gas pipelines. The Commission wants to phase out gas, once a popular energy source. The draft met with a divided response. energiezukunft.eu , ec.europa.eu , taz.de (reactions)
A temperature record of 38 degrees was measured in the Arctic last year.
These values were measured on 20 June, and now the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has recognised the measurement in Siberia as a record for the region north of the Arctic Circle. This is a sign of climate change and sets alarm bells ringing, said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas. Temperatures in the Arctic have risen more than twice the global average. A record was also measured in Antarctica, at the opposite pole, in 2020: 18.3 degrees. derstandard.at
Christmas lights: A joy for the environment, too? Decorative lights are as much a part of the Christmas season as the Christmas tree and Christmas cake. But to ensure that the lights are not a burden on the environment, it is worth taking a closer look.According to a recent survey by an electricity provider, the Christmas lights in Germany are more abundant this year than ever before, with around 19.5 billion lights. But as the number of Christmas lights increases, so does electricity consumption – at a rough estimate, Germany’s Christmas lights now consume as much energy as if a medium-sized city with 200,000 inhabitants were also connected to the power grid all year round. dw.com
2021 was good for Germany’s forests: The past year was a good one for Germany’s forests, as can be seen from the 2021 forest condition reports of the individual federal states. They speak of more favourable weather conditions for forests compared to the drought years from 2018 to 2020. There had been more precipitation in the crucial growth phase than in recent years. Especially in the summer, there was sufficient rainfall so that the trees hardly had to survive longer dry phases. The late spring and the comparatively cool summer also slowed down the development of pests such as bark beetles. Nevertheless, the forests are still in a bad way: they are in a generally poor condition due to the drought years before. taz.de
The transformations of Robert Habeck: The Green Party leader Robert Habeck is now Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection – and Vice-Chancellor. Yet the 52-year-old has recently shown that he is no stranger to power politics. In the end, he is measured by figures that leave no room for interpretation. Accordingly, Habeck is bringing in former Hamburg Senator for the Environment Anja Hajduk as head of office and MEP Sven Giegold from Brussels, Patrick Graichen from Agora Energiewende and Schleswig-Holstein’s State Secretary for Finance Udo Philipp from the coast. The party spokesperson and confidante since Kiel times, Nicola Kabel, is also going along. Soon the minister will replace two-thirds of the department heads in the rather conservative House. rnd.de
Friederike Otto: Every year, the scientific magazine „Nature“ selects ten people who have had a significant impact on science. This year’s list includes a German climate expert and founder of a new branch of research. The magazine paid tribute to Otto’s efforts to determine the influence of global warming on certain weather extremes. Otto is a physicist. spiegel.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
The Book of Hope
How can we find hope in difficult times?
Jane Goodall is the pioneer of nature and behaviour research and has been a passionate ambassador for species conservation for decades. In her twenties she went to the Gombe forests of Tanzania to study the chimpanzees living there; today she has become the icon of a new, young generation of climate activists. In The Book of Hope, she draws on the wisdom of her entire life, tirelessly devoted to nature, to teach us how to find confidence even in the face of pandemics, wars and looming environmental disasters. With her co-author Douglas Abrams, Jane talks about her travels, research and activism, giving us a new understanding of the crises we currently face. Together, Jane and Doug outline the only possible way forward – by allowing hope back into our lives.
Because hope exists, even if it sometimes seems out of reach. We can find it in nature – and in our own resilience. penguinrandomhouse.co.uk
Schleswig-Holstein: Criticism of Danish CO2 storage facility. zeit.de
Electricity mix in Germany: Coal-fired power on the rise. faz.net
Renewable Energies: Assume system responsibility. bee-ev.de
Antarctica: The last protective shield of the „glacier of the end of the world“ is about to collapse. focus.de
Safety checks: France shuts down powerful nuclear power plant. faz.net
Nuclear power nearing the end: Soon the nuclear power plants Grohnde, Gundremmingen and Brokdorf will be shut down. The last three plants will follow in 2022. klimareporter.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.
A vault for global food security
How can we feed the rapidly growing world population? How can crop failures be prevented and biodiversity promoted? What makes plants more resistant to climate extremes? Plant seeds contain the answers to these questions. Reason enough to keep them in the safest place in the world. 17goals.com
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
For some years now, protests have been mounting from the agricultural sector as well as from nature and environmental protection associations. Farms are under increasing pressure and small farms in particular fear for their existence. On the one hand, they are supposed to produce our food as cheaply as possible, and on the other hand, many demands and requirements for nature, environmental, climate and animal protection have been added in recent years or decades. The nature conservation associations, in turn, complain that not enough is being done about this. Politicians reacted by inviting former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the then Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner to a dialogue at the Chancellor’s Office in December 2019. One result of this meeting was the convening of the „Commission on the Future of Agriculture“. Olaf Bandt & Elisabeth Fresen were also part of this Future Commission on Agriculture. In this podcast episode, we talk to the two about their work in the commission, the results, which were published in the form of a final report and handed over to Angela Merkel, and what the future holds for agriculture in Germany under a new government. querfeldeinblog.de
More green and smart – Europe’s transport: new targets for mobility in the EU. The transport sector in the EU is to reduce its emissions by 90 percent in order to achieve the climate targets. The European Commission has made four proposals for this, which contain targets for various areas. In addition to sustainability, the focus is also on user-friendliness and digitalisation. Central to the individual plans is the revision of the guidelines for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). This network connects 424 major cities in the EU by rail, road or ship. The journey times between these cities are to be radically shortened. A train journey from Hamburg to Copenhagen, for example, is to take 2.5 hours instead of the current 4.5 hours. Some of these high-speed connections are to be built by 2040, others by 2050. t3n.de
Mobility around the car must become more available: The car, the Germans‘ favourite child, is currently undergoing a process of change. The car no longer has to be bought. Leasing and rental offers have been popular for years. Now a new offer is being added, such as the car subscription. The user gets everything in a package and no longer has to take care of anything himself. By paying a regular usage fee, they can use the car of their choice and decide for how long. heise.de
Too few public charging stations: Publicly accessible charging stations for e-cars are immensely important for promoting electromobility. According to figures from the Federal Network Agency, however, there are none at all in most German municipalities. According to a report, the situation is particularly bad in the home of the Federal Minister of Transport. More than half of the municipalities in Germany do not have a publicly accessible charging station for e-cars, despite the ongoing boom in electric mobility. According to figures from the Federal Network Agency as of 1 November, of the total of 10,796 municipalities in the Federal Republic, exactly 6516 do not have a single charging point for electric cars. That is over 60 per cent. n-tv.de
Sustainable mobility in China: In Liuzhou, China, the combustion engine is a discontinued model. Small and compact e-cars are the future – and especially popular with women and young people. Unlike the famous Ford T, they come in many colours. Or they can be painted to suit your personal taste. In the meantime, these vehicles are no longer considered second cars, but are used by many families as all-rounders. Especially since they remain affordable for normal and low-income earners. This also has to do with the fact that there has long been a market for used e-cars in Liuzhou. Many people are switching from motorbikes or the three-wheelers that are popular throughout Asia – many of which are nasty muckrakers – to the small electric car. This helps to achieve a passable ecological balance, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter and traffic noise. freitag.de
Duisburg: A climate-neutral container terminal is being built in Duisburg’s inland port. fair-economics.de
Federal Minister of Transport Volker Wissing: „It is absolutely clear that we cannot achieve our climate targets with fossil combustion engines“. zdf.de
Transport Committee has constituted itself: Udo Schiefner (SPD) is the Chairman of the Transport Committee in the 20th legislative period. At the constituent meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Bundestag Vice-President Petra Pau (Die Linke), the MPs elected him to head the 34-member committee with 33 votes in favour and one against. Schiefner had chaired the 2nd committee of enquiry (passenger car toll) during the last legislative period.
The SPD parliamentary group is represented in the transport committee by ten MPs, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group by nine. Five members of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group and four members each of the FDP and AfD parliamentary groups also belong to the committee. The parliamentary group Die Linke sends two members to the committee.
SPD: Jürgen Berghahn, Isabel Cademartori, Martin Kröber, Dorothee Martin, Jan Plobner, Udo Schiefner, Uwe Schmidt, Christian Schreider, Mathias Stein, Anja Troff-Schaffarzyk
CDU/CSU: Thomas Bareiß, Michael Donth, Martina Englhardt-Kopf, Jonas Geissler, Florian Müller, Christoph Ploß, Henning Rehbaum, Felix Schreiner, Björn Simon
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: Matthias Gastel, Stefan Gelbhaar, Susanne Menge, Swantje Michaelsen, Nyke Slawik
FDP: Valentin Abel, Michael Kruse, Jürgen Lenders, Bernd Reuther
AfD: Rene Bochmann, Dirk Brandes, Dirk Spaniel, Wolfgang Wiehle
The Left Party: Thomas Lutze, Bernd Riexinger
EU climate neutrality by 2050: hydrogen instead of natural gas pipelines, The Commission wants to make the once popular energy source gas a phase-out model. The draft met with a divided response. taz.de
Photovoltaic hydrogen could already be produced in Germany at a price of 6.23 euros per kilogram: According to new research, green hydrogen in Germany could now compete with hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Researchers at Cologne University of Applied Sciences have examined six different scenarios for alkaline and proton exchange membrane electrolysers. Alkaline electrolysers powered by grid-connected photovoltaic systems are identified as the most cost-effective option. pv-magazine.de
Staßfurt: Model project for green hydrogen. fair-economics.de
Blue hydrogen: The climate balance of blue hydrogen is controversial among scientists. In August, researchers from the US universities Cornell and Stanford presented a study according to which blue hydrogen used for combustion is even about 20 percent worse for the climate than natural gas, but now researchers in Switzerland and Scotland are taking a more positive view. However, it depends on where the natural gas is produced, say Christian Bauer from the Laboratory for Energy System Analysis at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen and Mijndert van der Spek, professor at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions at the University of Edinburgh. faz.net
Gigantic wind and hydrogen project: In addition to the Danish energy islands, a Dutch-German consortium also wants to build massive collection and distribution stations in the North Sea as well as huge wind farms. The electricity generated there is destined for several countries. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT sees the solution in a gigantic expansion of the supply of wind power. It is true that this is not available on days when there is little or no wind. But a large number of electrolysers on land and at sea are to produce enough hydrogen to easily bridge lulls. ingenieur.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Environment Committee has constituted itself: MP Harald Ebner (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) heads the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. At the constituent meeting of the committee, chaired by Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Ebner was elected chairman by secret ballot on Wednesday. The committee has 38 full members. The SPD parliamentary group is represented by eleven members, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group by ten and the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group by six. The FDP parliamentary group has five members, the AfD parliamentary group four and the Die Linke parliamentary group two.
SPD: Jürgen Berghahn, Jakob Blankenburg, Axel Echeverria, Nadine Hesselhaus, Rainer Johannes Keller, Franziska Kersten, Helmut Kleebank, Daniel Schneider, Lina Seitzl, Michael Thews and Carsten Träger.
CDU/CSU: Astrid Damerow, Alexander Engelhard, Oliver Grundmann, Anja Karliczek, Klaus Mack, Volker Mayer-Lay, Björn Simon, Hans-Jürgen Thies, Anja Weisgerber and Klaus Wiener
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: Harald Ebner, Tessa Ganserer, Jan-Niclas Gesenhues, Linda Heitmann, Tabea Rößner and Stefan Wenzel
FDP: Muhanad Al-Halak, Ulrike Harzer, Olaf in der Beek, Lars Lindemann and Judith Skudelny
AfD: Andreas Bleck, Gereon Bollmann, Thomas Ehrhorn and Rainer Kraft
The Left Party: Ralph Lenkert and Amira Mohamed Ali
Committee for Climate Protection and Energy has been constituted: The Left Party MP Klaus Ernst heads the Bundestag Committee on Climate Protection and Energy. At the constituent meeting of the committee, chaired by Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Ernst was appointed chairman of the committee, which has 34 full members, on Wednesday. The SPD parliamentary group is represented by ten members, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group by nine, the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group by five, the FDP parliamentary group and the AfD parliamentary group by four each, and the Die Linke parliamentary group by two.
SPD: Sanae Abdi, Bengt Bergt, Timon Gremmels, Markus Hümpfer, Helmut Kleebank, Andreas Mehltretter, Robin Mesarosch, Andreas Rimkus, Dr. Nina Scheer, Katrin Zschau
CDU/CSU: Dr Hans-Peter Friedrich, Fabian Gramling, Mark Helfrich, Thomas Heilmann, Andreas Jung, Jens Koeppen, Anne König, Dr Andreas Lenz, Maria-Lena Weiss
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: Lisa Badum, Kathrin Henneberger, Bernhard Herrmann, Dr. Ingrid Nestle, Katrin Uhlig
FDP: Michael Kruse, Olaf in der Beek, Anikó Merten, Konrad Stockmeier
AfD: Marc Bernhard, Karsten Hilse, Steffen Kotré, Dr Rainer Kraft
The Left Party: Klaus Ernst, Ralph Lenkert
The first point is increasing water scarcity, especially in the south. The second point is heat waves, which will greatly affect the elderly, the sick, children and people living in poorly insulated premises. The third point is the rise in sea level. Unlike on the North Sea, where tides prevail, infrastructure and cities on the Mediterranean are often built directly on the coast. Many cities and also coastal ecosystems will have significant problems with this by the year 2100. And some places will only still exist in 2300 if there is a fundamental change in climate policy now.
Wolfgang Cramer, Research Director at the Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology in France,…. The way climate and environmental policy is being made at the moment, it will not be possible to prevent really serious consequences in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. They see themselves as a network that makes exactly that clear on a scientific basis: that the situation is critical, that we need a different policy for agriculture and fisheries, but also in the areas of transport and energy, that we need to protect the coasts and that people’s health is at stake. They would not be an activist organisation, but would make a synthesis of the scientific literature, which would make clear which risks objectively existed. This is prepared in such a way that it is understandable for politicians, but also for the interested public. mallorcazeitung.es
Nigeria: Nigeria’s society is deeply divided. A large majority of young people are opposed by an old political elite that clings to power. The gerontocracy is not only culturally conditioned, but also legally secured. Sharing power is not an option for the established ruling elite. africa-live.de
Ecowas Summit: The ECOWAS Summit and developments in Mali and Guinea: Last Sunday, the 60th Summit of ECOWAS member states took place in Abuja. The main topics on the agenda were vaccine supply, opening of the national borders of all member states and the political situation in Guinea and Mali. Both countries are currently headed by a military government that seized power in a coup d’état. From Guinea, ECOWAS demanded a return to constitutional order and the holding of elections within the next 6 months. At the same time, it welcomed the release of President Alpha Condé, who was deposed in September and had been imprisoned by the military government for 12 weeks.
Ethiopia: Amnesty denounces violence in Ethiopia. As fighting continues in the Tigray region, the suffering of residents there is growing. Human rights activists demand a response from the United Nations. dw.com
Benin: Violence in the Sahel: The impacts are getting closer. From the central Sahel, armed groups are moving further south, for example to Benin, to carry out attacks there as well. This weakens the whole region. dw.com
Cameroon: Thousands seek safety in Chad after clashes in Cameroon. africanews.com
Kenya: Kenyans find rural lifeline after Covid stampede. bbc.com
Kenya 2: Covid infection rate exceeds WHO high-risk threshold. theeastafrican.co.ke
Mali: Future of the UN mission. Carry on? Not an option. The number of blue helmets killed and injured in Mali continues to rise. It is high time for a rethink – involving the local population. taz.de
Morocco: Germany moves diplomatically towards Morocco. Relations between Germany and Morocco have been strained since March. After the change of government, Berlin wants a new start to „return to the traditionally broad and good relationship“ dw.com
Namibia: Resistance to oil production project grows. dlf.de
East Africa: The climate crisis and devastating drought in East Africa.The eastern Horn of Africa has seen three consecutive seasons of hardly any rain. Covid-19 and the invasion of desert locusts now put millions of people in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia at risk of starvation. Livestock and wildlife are already dying of thirst and starvation in large numbers. And at the heart of it all is the deepening climate crisis. theguardian.com
South Africa: Court sends Jacob Zuma back to prison. The prison authorities had previously allowed the former president to serve the rest of his 15-month sentence at home on grounds of illness. Now he is appealing against the verdict. faz.net
Tunisia: This is how the president wants to lead the country out of the political crisis. Next year, Tunisians are to vote on constitutional reforms and a new parliament. But time is pressing, because the economic situation is desolate. nzz.ch
Large cities full of industrial chemicals in the air: The air of cities seems to be polluted by hitherto unknown degradation products of common industrial chemicals. A new Canadian study reports on this using organophosphates as an example. This group of substances is used worldwide as flame retardants, for example in furniture, household and electronic appliances. However, the substances are not firmly bound in them and some of them escape. Reactions in the atmosphere lead to the formation of a number of other, as yet undiscovered chemicals from the organophosphates. One of the study leaders, John Liggio, from the Canadian governmental environmental agency in Toronto: „We selected nine organophosphates and first simulated in the lab what would be produced from them under conditions like those in city air. There were almost 200 different degradation products! We characterised them chemically and physically and then looked to see if we could find them outside in the real atmosphere.“ deutschlandfunk.de
Plastic waste in the sea – Deformed and transformed: You cannot always recognise plastic waste in the form of recognisable objects in the sea; the waste can also take on unusual shapes. In this case, the plastic is fused and sometimes stuck together with small stones, so that it is hardly recognisable as plastic any more. Scientists have now discovered such pyroplastics and plastic agglomerates in the Atlantic Ocean on the island of Madeira. It can be assumed that these formations do not only occur there: „Plastic crust-like traces have also been found in freshwater in a dry riverbed in Spain,“ Sonja Ehlers from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology explains. The biologist therefore considers it possible that they also occur in German waters: „I assume that pyroplastics are also produced in this country, for example during a campfire, and then also get into the flowing waters.“
Strong tornadoes favoured by climate change: In recent days, a series of strong tornadoes moved through the Mississippi basin in the USA. It caused severe devastation and many fatalities. The tornado covered a total of 365 kilometres, the longest distance ever measured. December is an unusual time of year for the storms anyway, which normally tend to occur in spring. Climate scientist Michael Mann explains that this was not a purely natural disaster, but was exacerbated by man-made climate change. High water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico would have led to unusually high temperatures. At the same time, the Pacific Ocean is colder than usual due to the climate phenomenon La Niña, which causes the jet stream to move northwards. When the warm and humid air masses collide with the jet stream, the tornadoes are finally formed. telepolis.de
Sustainable fashion: According to calculations by the management consultancy McKinsey & Company, the global fashion industry causes as much CO2 emissions in the production of clothing as France, Germany and Great Britain combined. tagesschau.de
Bark beetles: May stay. Special forestry concept to save forests. n-tv.de
Species-rich forests: Grow more consistently and are more climate friendly. fair-economics.de
Arms negotiations – missed opportunity: Christmas will not be a time for charity, at least when it comes to banning so-called killer robots. The discussion on banning autonomous weapons has been postponed. The UN conference responsible for reviewing the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) has scheduled the issue for next year after its meeting in Geneva last week, when proposals will be considered and possible provisions worked out. The Stop Killer Robots initiative says the conference missed a unique opportunity to draw clear legal and moral lines. A minority of states like the USA and Russia, which is already working on autonomous weapons, would have used the consensus provisions of the conference to block a much-needed legal response to previous developments. heise.de
The FAIReconomics newsletter will be published again on 10th January 2022.
We wish all our readers a peaceful festive season and a happy new year 2022!
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