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Emissions trading in the EU to be tightened up: The European Union is stepping up its fight against climate change by tightening up emissions trading. Parliament and member states agree to expand the system of pollution allowances and reduce their number. In addition, the introduction of a climate fund is planned. Consumers and businesses in the EU will have to pay more often for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in future. Negotiators from the EU Parliament and the states agreed on a reform of the EU emissions trading system early on Sunday morning, according to the Czech Presidency of the Council. This should make the most important instrument of European climate protection policy much more powerful. In addition, a new climate social fund is to cushion the consequences of the energy transition for consumers. According to the EU institutions, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 62 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The plan is to withdraw a total of 90 million certificates from the emissions trading system in 2024, with a further 27 million to be added in 2026 n-tv.de , spiegel.de , rnd.de , europarl.europa.eu
Agreement on the European Border Adjustment Mechanism: It is a central building block of the European efforts to become climate neutral by 2050 and at the same time a kind of defence mechanism against the import of climate-damaging goods from third countries: The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) . It is intended to prevent Europe from focusing on climate protection but losing jobs in important industries. Negotiators of the European Parliament and the governments of the EU states agreed last week on a levy for imported products such as cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilisers as well as electricity and hydrogen, the production of which abroad produces carbon dioxide (CO2 ). It remains to be seen whether the EU will use CBAM for climate protection. It remains to be seen whether the EU will use CBAM as a form of climate protectionism and whether the nations whose exports to the EU are subject to the climate tariff will take countermeasures. taz.de , dw.com
4,885 Microplastic particles
settle on every square metre of Auckland’s roofs every day, according to estimates by a team of scientists. Calculated over a year, that’s 74 tonnes, which is roughly equivalent to three million plastic bottles falling on the New Zealand metropolis. golem.de
Climate Club officially founded: The group of large industrialised countries G7 has agreed on a constitution, the Climate Club is thus officially founded. A club that brings together those countries that have particularly ambitious climate goals. That is the idea behind the „Climate Club“, which the G7 group of states founded this Monday in Berlin. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had already initiated the resounding cooperation at the beginning of the year at the start of the German G7 Presidency. Now the group of states of democratic economic powers has adopted a statute that will allow the club to begin its work. Scholz has also invited China to join. sueddeutsche.de , augsburger-allgemeine.de
World Nature Summit on the home straight: Shortly before the end of the World Summit on Nature in Montreal, Canada, the Chinese Presidency presented a first draft of a final declaration. One of the main concerns announced in advance – the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s land and marine areas by 2030 – is included in the draft. In addition, more money is to be spent on the protection of biodiversity. Among other things, richer countries are to donate around 20 billion dollars annually to poorer countries by 2025. Initial reactions to the draft were mixed. sueddeutsche.de
Nuclear fusion successful: In the USA, a breakthrough in nuclear fusion that can be described as historic has been achieved. For the first time, more energy was produced than consumed when nuclear nuclei were fused, as US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced last week in Washington. The results were achieved at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and represent a milestone on the way to developing a new energy source. In a few years, nuclear fusion could possibly be used to generate electricity in huge quantities in a climate-neutral and safe way. However, there is still a long way to go before mass production is possible due to major technical hurdles. faz.net
Attitude to CCS has changed: The Federal Ministry of Economics has produced an evaluation report on the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act, according to which the ministry is considering making the controversial CCS technology for storing CO2 possible. However, the technology is not without risks. According to the Federal Environment Agency, it cannot be ruled out that the CO2 could escape from the storage facilities and thus pollute the groundwater. Frank Schilling of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology estimates such a risk to be very low. CCS technology has been very well researched and tested in many other countries. Without CCS, Germany will not be able to achieve its climate goals. businessinsider.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Erzählungen von einem anderen Morgen
Until 1990, the German-German border ran through the Schaalsee. In 2021, people from the East and the West, from the city and the countryside, will meet there. They are already working today for a good life in and with nature, and they tell of a different tomorrow.
TOMORROW, food will be valuable if its production increases soil fertility and protects water. Small initiatives and farms can also make a good living from this. They are supported by an administration that is well versed in organic farming. All this is possible because politics dares to do something.
TOMORROW the forest will be diverse and can rejuvenate itself. Because it no longer has to supply what trade and industry need, because they now want to take what the forest can. Politicians have understood that the forest, in combination with soil and water, is an elementary good.
TOMORROW the small energy turns will be easy to realise. In addition to smart coupling and grids, there will be regional self-sufficiency, and the added value associated with the production of electricity and heat will benefit communities and municipalities. The many small transformations need a big transformation – for a peaceful, sustainable west-east future. oekom.de
Bundestag: Approves electricity and gas price brakes. They are to take effect from March, and also apply retroactively for January and February. tagesschau.de
France: Floating wind turbine to generate electricity on the Atlantic. basicthinking.de
Ministry of Economics: Gas volume in LNG terminals likely to exceed level of former Russian pipelines. tagesspiegel.de
Renewable energy industry: Praise for subsidies, criticism of skimming. n-tv.de
Cold weather in Germany: Level of gas reserves drops dramatically. rnd.de
1,000,000 stillbirths: Worldwide due to air pollution. freitag.de
Blockade in front of the Bundestag: Despite raids, the climate activists of the Last Generation continue their blockades. This time in front of the Bundestag. stern.de
The seventeen 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:
Digitalisation and Climate Protection: Between Error and Utopia
Artificial intelligence could help to save an enormous amount of energy and raw materials. Unfortunately, the opposite is currently happening. In order for digitalisation to benefit the climate, a number of things must happen now. In theory, digital technology can contribute enormously to saving electricity, raw materials and processed materials in the future – and thus also CO2 emissions. In practice, however, more and more raw materials are being mined worldwide for more and more digital devices, greenhouse gases and pollution are the result, and the operation of the devices consumes more and more energy. At the moment, therefore, digitalisation is leading to more consumption of natural resources and higher energy consumption than savings. This has just become clear again at a hearing in the „Committee for Digital Affairs“ in the Bundestag. In this Gradmesser episode, Christian Löwe from the Federal Environment Agency talks about how digital technology can help protect the climate and what should be done to make it work. tagesspiegel.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
by Hendrik Kafsack, Brussels
Trilogue on Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), (Photo: EU Parliament)
Climate club founded, climate border levy decided – industry should be able to breathe a sigh of relief. At last the EU is giving an answer to the central question of how it wants to achieve its climate goals without deindustrialisation. The climate club initiated by Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to prevent the necessary investments from distorting competition at the G-7 level. China and others are to join. And those who are not prepared to do so – as the EU institutions have agreed – are to pay a levy on the import of CO2 -intensive products that corresponds to the costs of European competition. So is the fair competition for the best approaches to climate protection about to begin? Can Europeans finally be sure that in their eternal pioneering role they will not at some point find themselves alone „in the heat“?
Not at all. The climate club remains only a vague hope. What is the value of the United States‘ accession, for example, as long as President Joe Biden is simultaneously launching subsidy programmes in the triple-digit billions, such as the Inflation Reduction Act?in climate protection, Biden is relying on the principle of „promoting rather than demanding“. From a regulatory point of view, this can and must be regretted – especially since the Europeans have so far been excluded from the subsidies. However, it will inevitably put the EU in a worse position in international competition. The border tax does little to change this. It only ensures that European industry can operate on an equal footing with competitors from third countries within the EU single market. On the international markets, it is still at a disadvantage because the EU has so far not wanted to promote the goods when they are exported. In short: It would have been better to give industry free CO2 rights as before, even if this may reduce the incentive to invest in green technologies. faz.net
Mobility trends in companies 2023: A sustainable orientation, digital solutions and flexible, individual concepts: According to Alphabet Fuhrparkmanagement GmbH, these are the central trends in corporate mobility in 2023. vision-mobility.de
What our behaviour really costs: Is public transport really chronically loss-making and individual transport an expression of the free market? A current study evaluates the internal and external costs of all means of transport in Munich. The results are also interesting for the traffic light coalition. tagesspiegel.de
Hamburg is turning the traffic light principle on its head: Everyone knows the current picture: If you want to cross a traffic light as a pedestrian, you usually have to wait for green. In some cases, pedestrians have to „beg“ for a green light by pressing a button, while cars have free passage. This well-known principle is now being turned on its head in Hamburg, at least for the time being at one intersection. rbb.de
How the mobility turnaround and the transport turnaround differ from each other: „The transport turnaround does not answer the question: Why are we so mobile all the time anyway? And why do the distances we travel every day continue to increase year after year? It is true that this also has to do with the fact that the means of transport are becoming faster and faster. But there are also many constraints behind it: we have to understand mobility not only as freedom, but also as a constraint, says mobility sociologist Katharina Manderscheid. rnd.de
Rail Acceleration Commission: Volker Wissing plans faster renovation of the rail network. The dilapidated rail network is one of the reasons why many trains in Germany are unpunctual. Transport Minister Volker Wissing has now announced comprehensive investments. zeit.de
Electric cars: US study examines winter range losses. The VW Group lands with its electric cars in the top group and at the end of the ranking. golem.de
Franco-German hydrogen cooperation: The leading associations of German and French industry want to accelerate the development of a hydrogen value chain and are counting on close cooperation. This is to form the basis for a European leadership role in the field of hydrogen. But this will not work without help from politics. handelsblatt.com
Pipeline system planned throughout Germany: By 2030 it should be possible to transport hydrogen from the north of Germany to the south. This was announced by the three transmission system operators Gascade, Ontras and terranets bw. The project partners mainly want to convert existing natural gas pipelines for this purpose. Other European countries have also been considered. rnd.de
Taken from the air – Hydrogen from the desert: To produce the coveted gas, water is needed – but in many regions that is in short supply. Researchers have now developed a device that uses atmospheric moisture instead. tagesspiegel.de
Namibia and hydrogen: Robert Habeck visited Namibia last week. Now there are some comments on the technical feasibility of hydrogen production. Even though, according to many experts, Namibia is one of the most promising countries for the cheap production of green hydrogen, it is also the driest country in the sub-Saharan region. Sufficient renewable energy alone is not enough for hydrogen production. Water, which is also needed, must therefore be obtained locally at low cost from seawater desalination plants. Only then will the project be profitable. heise.de
IASS Discussion Paper: Why the Gulf States are backing hydrogen: Why do local leaders in the Gulf States want to promote hydrogen energy systems? This question is addressed in a discussion paper at the Institute for Transformative Sustainability Research (IASS). energie.de
Consortium plans large-scale ammonia splitting project in Rotterdam: An initiative consisting of 18 companies and launched by the Port of Rotterdam Authority is investigating the possible construction of a large-scale ammonia splitting plant. It should enable an annual import of one million tonnes of hydrogen for the decarbonisation of industry and mobility. chemietechnik.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
EU Accelerate Investment in Developing Countries: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group advocates a close linkage between the European Commission’s Global Gateway initiative and the G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. Against the background of increasing global systemic competition, the initiatives should be used strategically and purposefully „to show partner countries the advantages of closer cooperation with liberal democracies“, MEPs write in a motion (20/4882) that is on the agenda of the Bundestag plenary on Friday. As they explain in the motion, investments of up to 300 billion euros should be mobilised for infrastructure investments in developing countries between 2021 and 2027 within the framework of the EU’s Global Gateway. Within the framework of the G7 Partnership on Global Infrastructure and Investment, an additional sum of approximately the same amount should be mobilised, with a special focus on sustainable, inclusive, climate-resilient and high-quality infrastructure in emerging and developing countries.
Combustion engine phase-out could have positive effects on gross domestic product: The Federal Government expects that the CO2 fleet limits in the automotive industry will contribute to „securing value creation and employment in Germany as an automotive location in the long term“. This is stated in an answer (20/4797) to a small question (20/3618) of the AfD parliamentary group. The MPs had asked whether there were any forecasts on the effects of a registration ban for vehicles with combustion engines in 2035 on the annual turnover of the German automotive industry. According to the German government, an impact assessment by the European Commission for the vehicle industry in the EU-27 assumes a decline in turnover and employment, but in terms of the economy as a whole, a slightly positive impact on the EU-wide gross domestic product is expected for 2040.
Government presents draft for animal husbandry labelling: The Federal Government wants to launch a national animal husbandry labelling scheme. With the planned label, consumers should be able to see immediately in the supermarket where the meat comes from and how the animals were kept. The bill (20/4822) by Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) is to be referred to the responsible committee this Thursday after a 70-minute debate. After years of discussion, the planned compulsory animal husbandry labelling is to start next year in a first step with fresh pork on the market. The plan is to introduce a system with five categories during fattening – from the legal minimum standard in the barn to organic.
„We know that our actions are annoying. We know that they are unpleasant and that nobody wants them. We don’t want to do it either. But we are seeing that we need these interruptions in everyday life so that we can talk about the climate crisis and finally take action. And yes, the demand for a speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour on motorways and a 9-euro ticket are small. We know that these can only be the very first steps, and it makes me all the more stunned that not even that is being implemented.“
Carla Rochel, activist with Last Generation, … Yes, as things stand, we would not reach the climate targets. And according to the Federal Constitutional Court, these targets are already set far too low. Politics is all about winning the next election. The German government is not concerned with the survival of our society. Nevertheless, it has a lot of hope because history has shown how much the people can achieve when they start to act. Women’s suffrage, legal equality for people of different skin colours – these changes only came about because there was a civilian population that exerted pressure. vice.com
„We could miss out on preserving our life systems. They are based on genetic diversity, biodiversity and the diversity of ecosystems. We all depend on this biodiversity, we are completely interwoven with nature. A flower meadow, for example, is not only beautiful, it provides us with many services. The colourful flowers attract honey bees and many other pollinators, without which there would be no seeds and fruits. Without all this, we could not live, as we ultimately feed on animals and plants.
Josef Settele, one of the world’s most renowned biodiversity researchers, believes that a historic agreement will come, but the question is how strong it will be. Nature will be able to cope with Homo sapiens and, in case of doubt, will outlive us. But for humanity’s sake, he hoped that we would not suffer too much and that we would leave a world worth living in for the next generations. There is not much time left, but he is still confident overall. zeit.de
The USA discovers Africa: For the first time since 2014, an American-African summit is taking place. The meeting in Washington shows that Joe Biden does not want to leave the continent to China…. Joe Biden’s message at the first US-African summit in eight years included implicit self-criticism: „We have known for a long time that a successful Africa is essential for a better future for all of us,“ he said. The American president is courting 49 delegations of African states this week. He is talking about the partnership between America and Africa in the 21st century and how it must be more than aid. It must be about investment to unleash the power of the private sector.
Sierra Leone: -Thousands suffer from mining: In Sierra Leone, diamond mining destroys the livelihood of many people. Polluted drinking water is not the only problem. taz.de
Bundeswehr mission in Mali: Lambrecht only reluctantly agreed to the Bundeswehr mission in Mali until 2024. She attaches conditions to the timetable. If this red line is crossed, it could also have domestic political consequences. tagesschau.de
German energy policy threatens fishermen in Senegal: The German government’s energy policy threatens the jobs of numerous fishermen in Senegal. This was stated by German and Senegalese environmental organisations on Tuesday. Among others, the climate protection group Fridays for Future, which is active in both countries, therefore called on the traffic light coalition to neither support nor finance the planned exploitation of a natural gas field off the Atlantic coast of Senegal. The recently founded German-Senegalese Citizens‘ Alliance for Climate Justice also pointed out the dangers for maritime fauna and flora such as the resting places of migratory birds. For the environmental organisations, it is also clear that the promotion of additional fossil energies exacerbates climate change instead of slowing it down. taz.de
South Africa: South Africa’s president is facing serious allegations of corruption. Impeachment proceedings demanded by the opposition have now been rejected – by parliament, where Ramaphosa’s party has an absolute majority. tagesschau.de
Restitution: In 1897, the British army stole thousands of valuable works of art from the royal palace in Benin. Some of them ended up in German museums. Now the artworks are to be returned to Nigeria The 92 Benin bronzes from Cologne’s Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum now officially belong to Nigeria again. Mayor Henriette Reker (no party affiliation) and the Director General of Nigeria’s „National Commission for Museums and Monuments“, Abba Isa Tijani, signed an agreement on the transfer of ownership in Cologne on Thursday. monopol-magazin.de
Whales are gigantic carbon stores: It is well known that forests, peatlands and grasslands store large amounts of carbon and can thus be a decisive factor in the fight against climate change. This is one of the reasons why the German government has just adopted a National Peatland Protection Strategy. But what about aquatic carbon sinks? In the journal „Trends in Ecology and Evolution“, researchers led by Heidi Pearson, a biologist at the University of Alaska Southeast, argue for using the potential of the largest animals on the planet – whales – for carbon sequestration. In the study, the team explores how these marine giants affect the amount of carbon in our air and waters, and whether they may be able to help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. spektrum.de
After the loggers: Rainforest can remain species-rich: The Indonesian island of Borneo is considered a hotspot of global rainforest destruction. According to estimates, about half of the forests there have already been cut down. Today, oil palms are grown on huge deforested areas. But usually there is still a phase in between in the development from species-rich rainforest to agricultural monoculture in which the destruction of the valuable ecosystems could be halted. Selectively cleared forests, in which only trees that are particularly valuable for the timber industry were felled, can be diverse and functional ecosystems, a research team led by Yadvinder Malhi from the British University of Oxford now reports in the scientific journal „Nature“. They should be protected and not written off for new palm oil plantations. tagesspiegel.de
What exactly is biopiracy? Nature has long been the basis for pharmaceutical research and genetically modified food crops, and it is used by research and companies to develop many products. But when discoveries based on the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples or the wealth of biodiversity in developing countries are exported and patented without money being paid for them, this is called biopiracy. This practice has a long history. Colonial powers such as Spain, Britain and others exploited the natural resources of the territories they occupied and skimmed off high profits through trade in coffee, cotton, tea, spices and rubber. Now the issue is considered a central point of contention at the UN World Summit on Nature in Montreal. dw.com
Bali: Famous rice terraces threatened by water shortage. n-tv.de
Innovation: Cheap salt battery to store four times more electricity than lithium batteries. derstandard.at
Spain: Parliament paves way for „menstruation holiday“. zeit.de
The Power of Crisis
Increased energy prices and questions around the topic of energy security dominate the public debate. In addition to short-term measures to substitute Russian energy imports, the medium and long-term security of energy supply and the target picture for the energy transition are also at stake: Now that gas is being questioned as a bridging technology, can renewable energies soon secure the energy supply of the future? What potential does green hydrogen have as an energy carrier of the future and what role do climate innovations and digitalisation play? How must we shape the European energy market? Which raw materials do we need for the energy of the future – and is the increased use of domestic energy potentials, for example through fracking and mining, part of the solution?
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation will be looking for answers to these questions at the energy conference „The Power of Crisis: Energy of the Future“ in Berlin on 26 January 2023. In doing so, we will not only look at innovative start-ups and their concrete approaches to solutions, but also discuss these questions together with high-ranking representatives from politics, science and business. kas.de
Can solar sails protect against climate change: Geo-engineers have been looking at how technology can intervene in climate change for a while now. Now two researchers have proven, at least theoretically, whether and to what extent solar sails in space can help. The researchers Borgue and Hein do not consider a single solar sail to be useful – they advocate swarms of hundreds of small sails made of ultra-light material and silicon dioxide nanotubes. These would have to be placed about 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth, facing the Sun, and block just two to four per cent of the Sun’s light to return the Earth to pre-industrial temperatures. In total, the sails would have to have a mass of 550,000 tonnes – at least. And to get them into space, there would have to be between 399 and 859 rocket launches every year within a decade – in 2022 there had been 173 launches by mid-December. t3n.de
We wish all our readers a wonderful festive season, a happy new year 2023, health, success and happiness. We will be back on 9 January 2023. Until then, stay in touch with us.
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