Government must prop up energy companies with billions: The federal government is fighting the acute danger of a wave of insolvencies in the energy industry. A growing number of companies are threatened with insolvency due to the distortions on the wholesale market for electricity, oil and gas. Several large energy companies are named in the scene. welt.de
Climate crisis has arrived on our doorstep: Global warming is – according to WWF _a major threat to many plants and animals. The climate crisis has already changed the animal and plant world on all continents, writes the environmental foundation in its report „Feeling the Heat“ presented in the middle of last week. The average surface temperature of the Earth has only risen by about a grand since the Industrial Revolution. „The climate crisis is not a phenomenon of a distant future. It has arrived in our present – and also on our doorstep,“ said Christoph Heinrich, WWF Director of Nature Conservation. Climate-induced extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and flood disasters are encountering a plant and animal world that is already having great difficulty adapting to rising temperatures. n-tv.de , wwf.de (original report)
36.3 billion tonnes
CO2 emissions in 2021 were higher than ever before, according to the International Energy Agency. The recovery of the global economy from the pandemic is clearly at the expense of the climate and the environment. China is responsible for a third. tagesschau.de
EU wants to curb battery waste: The European Union should get more out of batteries – before they end up in hazardous waste. The European Parliament has been pushing for this for months. Now, with a large majority, it has introduced a bill for this purpose. This is not only about environmental protection, but also about independence in battery production. Until now, components such as nickel have often come from Russia. tagesschau.de
Japan can be a role model in the energy crisis: The war in Ukraine has had an enormous impact on German energy policy and economy. Germany can take its cue from Japan in its energy policy. In 2011, after the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan initially shut down all its nuclear power plants, which accounted for around 30 per cent of the country’s electricity supply, for safety reasons. fair-economics.de
Scepticism about certificate trading in agriculture: This year, the EU Commission wants to propose a legal framework for so-called carbon farming certificates, which certify when carbon removed from the atmosphere is stored in the soil. Farmers can then receive money if they increase the proportion of carbon-containing humus in the soil. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is critical of trading certificates to fix greenhouse gases in agriculture. „As far as tradable certificates are concerned, I am very sceptical and would rather reject this from today’s point of view,“ said State Secretary Silvia Bender (Greens). taz.de
One million football pitches for wind energy: Two percent of Germany’s land area is to be reserved for wind energy so that climate targets can be met and the Federal Republic of Germany becomes less dependent on energy imports. Two percent corresponds to one million standard-sized football fields. But the actual area required for wind energy is not so easy to find out. While the area to be sealed is still relatively easy to measure, the „above-ground“ part is a different matter. How much space a wind turbine needs to effectively generate electricity is not so easy to determine. For the wind farms that are mostly planned today, there is a „rule of thumb“ in the industry according to which the wind turbines should have five times the rotor diameter in the main wind direction and three times the rotor diameter in the secondary wind direction as a minimum distance from each other. klimareporter.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Rechtspopulismus vs. Klimaschutz?
Positions, attitudes, explanatory approaches
„Sustainability and climate protection are elite projects at the expense of the people.“ Narratives like these are increasingly part of right-wing populist arguments. What resonance do such positions have among the supporters of right-wing political movements and in the broader population? And what does a strengthening of right-wing populism mean for a socio-ecological transformation?
The book explores these questions. It shows that so far it is not so much climate change and environmental protection issues that have been disputed in general, but rather concrete political projects such as the energy transition. In addition, clear differences between the political pronouncements of right-wing populist forces and the attitudes of the population become visible. The characteristic claim of populists that they speak for „the people“ is not supported by the data analysed.
Finally, six theses are formulated on how to deal with right-wing populism in the context of a socio-ecological transformation without reinforcing polarisations. oekom.de
EU Vice-President Timmermans: Putting climate policy on hold would be a historic mistake. onvista.de
Cem Özdemir: Russian President deliberately uses grain prices and hunger as political leverage. dlf.de
Christian Lindner: Unclean bill on the 200 billion climate package? fair-economics.de
Chernobyl: Power line apparently repaired. tagesschau.de
SAP: Software industry has a duty to protect the climate. zeit.de
Bayertochter: California sues Monsanto for environmental pollution. spiegel.de
Federal Finance Minister: Rejects „fuel price brake“ and temporary speed limit. n-tv.de
Cabinet decision: Abolition of the EEG on the way. bmwk.de
The seventeeen goals Magazin 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:
What can renewables really do?
Christian Lindner recently elevated renewable energies to the status of energies of freedom, and the FDP finance minister is right: renewable energies make us free and independent of all the oil and gas exporting unjust states, above all Russia. They are also free of CO2 emissions, which is an unbeatable advantage in the fight against the climate crisis.
At the moment, however, the situation looks like this: Germany condemns the war in Ukraine, but continues to transfer millions of euros to Putin’s regime every day, since most of Germany’s natural gas, oil and hard coal imports come from Russia. Simone Peter, President of the German Renewable Energy Federation, explains in the climate podcast how and where renewable energies such as wind and solar power, biogas or geothermal energy can help to end this dependence in the medium term. tagesspiegel.de
Car sharing services in Germany are growing: More and more car sharing cars are on the road in Germany. The industry association has recorded a significant increase. But not all places are benefiting from the trend. stern.de
Car toll as a building block for climate-neutral mobility: A user-pays car toll can ensure the maintenance of roads in Germany and strengthen the expansion of the infrastructure for climate-neutral mobility. This is shown by the think tank Agora Verkehrswende in a new study. The background to this is above all that the current financing of road infrastructure via the energy tax on petrol and diesel will disappear in the coming years with the switch to electromobility. agora-verkehrswende.de
More e-mobility needed to achieve German climate targets: On behalf of the Expert Commission for Research and Innovation (EFI), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe has investigated conventional and new drive technologies for passenger cars with regard to their economic efficiency, life cycle assessment and potential for the new German climate protection goals. In addition, the researchers have surveyed how the German automotive industry is positioned in an international comparison for the requirements of the turnaround in drive technologies. The two studies show that electric vehicles are the most economical and energy-efficient option for reducing greenhouse gases. idw-online.de
Expensive petrol: Söder calls for abolition of VAT on petrol. faz.net
High petrol prices – is it worth switching to electric now? The war in Ukraine is driving the already tense situation for fossil fuels to ever new heights. A barrel of Brent oil currently costs $116.37 (as of 10 March) – many motorists are asking themselves: Should I switch to e-mobility now? rnd.de
Bridge renovations – More speed, more money: Federal Transport Minister Dr Volker Wissing (FDP) has presented a „future package of efficient motorway bridges“ after the first bridge summit in his office with experts from the construction industry, administration, federal states and nature and environmental protection associations. Of the approximately 39,900 bridges on motorways and federal roads with exactly 52,386 partial structures with a length of about 2,150 km, about 8,000 partial structures on motorways and about 3,000 on federal roads are in need of rehabilitation. 4,000 of these require urgent renovation or reinforcement. If this is not possible, the only option is to build a new bridge, such as the Rahmede viaduct on the A45. busplaner.de
Transport turnaround: „Public transport can become more attractive than the car“, Climate protection is important to everyone, but hardly anyone gives up their car. Psychologist Meike Jipp explains why – and how the transport turnaround can still succeed. zeit.de
Buses with Alternative Drives: Hydrogen or electric buses – it’s an open match. In public transport, too, the trend is towards alternative drives. Electricity from batteries or fuel cells is to replace diesel and natural gas. derstandard.at
Gas grid operators want to speed up the switch to hydrogen: A group of gas grid operators wants to ensure that hydrogen instead of natural gas can flow through their pipelines as quickly as possible – also to reduce dependence on Russia. The companies are developing a transformation plan that outlines the gradual conversion of natural gas networks to the transport of hydrogen. The goal is to develop concrete conversion concepts with local communities and businesses. The transformation plan is to be updated annually. handelsblatt.com
Federal Government launches its own hydrogen website: For the first time, the Federal Government’s new website bundles cross-departmental information on the topic of hydrogen, the National Hydrogen Strategy and federal funding opportunities. The „Hydrogen Pilot Office“, set up specifically for this purpose, offers targeted advice on the promotion of innovations and investments in the hydrogen sector as a new service. bmwi.de
Habeck’s home game in Schleswig-Holstein: Robert Habeck’s inaugural visit to his home state of Schleswig-Holstein was particularly marked by the planned LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel and the state’s leading position in the expansion of renewable energies. In exciting times, the visit to Kiel was balm for the soul for the Vice-Chancellor, it seems. He enthusiastically told the assembled journalists on Friday (11 March) that he had persuaded his entourage to venture from the hotel to the town hall on foot. Normally, the Vice-Chancellor travels in at least four cars. euractiv.de
Breakthrough in hydrogen storage: methanol plays a major role. Hydrogen can be converted into methanol with a so-called reformer. The process can also be operated in reverse with additional water vapour. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have now presented a smaller and more efficient reformer. efahrer.chip.de
In two steps to green hydrogen: In a new study, analysts from Global Data shed light on the opportunities for green hydrogen. They come to a very optimistic forecast: green hydrogen can change the energy industry. erneuerbareenergien.de
Green hydrogen from the desert: A lot of land, plenty of sun and wind: Africa could become an exporter of renewable energy. German companies are planning projects from Egypt to South Africa. The starting point for the „Green Opec“? The region in Namibia, where one of the world’s largest hydrogen projects to date is to be built, used to be a restricted area for diamond mining in the desert. It is extremely dry there, it practically never rains. If anything grows at all here, not far from the port city of Lüderitz, it is sparse bushes that can only survive thanks to the fog that forms now and then at night over the cooler Atlantic and then drifts inland. But instead, here in southwestern Africa there are two resources that are becoming increasingly important in the post-fossil world: lots of sun and lots of wind. fr.de
Study sees economic benefit from decentralised production of green hydrogen: According to the RLI study, it makes economic sense if green hydrogen is produced locally from surpluses from photovoltaic and wind power plants. This also saves grid expansion costs and makes the energy system more resilient overall. In the coming years, the construction of electrolysers of up to five megawatts should be promoted. pv-magazine.de
EU and industry €600 million plan for hydrogen research: The EU’s public-private Clean Hydrogen Partnership has launched its first call for proposals on 41 hydrogen-related research topics. Much of the funding will go towards hydrogen production and storage. euractiv.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Effects of the new Common Agricultural Policy on organic farming: In an answer (20/892) to a minor question (20/715) of the AfD parliamentary group, the Federal Government provides information on the effects of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union on organic farming from 2023. Among other things, it was asked on what basis and with what concrete objective the individual measures and the focus of the new organic regulations were defined. The basis for the design of the organic schemes, which are part of the direct payments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is the CAP Strategic Plan Regulation (SPVO)/Regulation (EU) 2021/2115. With the CAP Direct Payments Act (GAPDZG), the main decisions on the implementation of direct payments are taken at national level. The further structuring of direct payments is carried out by the CAP Direct Payments Ordinance (GAPDZV), which was issued by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the respective ministries in agreement with the consent of the Bundesrat. Organic schemes are measures under the first pillar of the CAP that promote environmental and climate protection as well as animal welfare. They were a new component of direct payments and had to be offered and introduced by the Member States on a mandatory basis; participation by farmers, however, was voluntary. For this purpose, each Member State would have to set aside a budget of at least 25 percent of direct payments. The member states could reduce this to the extent that support measures for the environment and climate in the second pillar accounted for more than 30 percent of EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) funds. This option is limited by the CAP Direct Payments Act for Germany to 2 percent of direct payments.
Binding animal husbandry labelling planned: The federal government wants to introduce a mandatory animal husbandry labelling system this year. According to an answer (20/811), a draft law will be presented shortly and will be discussed in parliament this year. The AfD parliamentary group had inquired in a small question (20/642) whether the introduction of a binding animal husbandry and origin labelling was planned. The extension of origin labelling of food is an important issue for the federal government. In the „Farm to Fork“ strategy, the EU Commission had announced that it would examine an extension of mandatory origin labelling for certain foodstuffs and would submit a legislative proposal by the fourth quarter of 2022. The German government supports the EU Commission’s plans to extend mandatory origin labelling to other foods. Uniform EU-wide regulations would provide consumers with the same labelling and the economy with the same framework, which would lead to cost savings compared to different national regulations and to fair competitive conditions in all EU states. The result of the impact assessment and the legislative proposal of the EU Commission should be awaited. However, the Federal Government reserves the right to consider national regulations if no satisfactory solution is found at EU level.
Government sees several causes for high natural gas prices: According to the Federal Government, the causes of the high price increases on the gas market are manifold. This is stated in an answer of the Federal Government (20/869) to a small question of the AfD parliamentary group (20/646). Last summer, less gas was available on the European market because, among other things, better prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) were achieved in Asia due to the economic upturn. At the same time, more gas was used for power generation and the revival of the economy after the pandemic led to an increased demand for natural gas. The federal government had observed that gas suppliers reacted differently to this. Norwegian suppliers had increased their supply. Gazprom had only fulfilled long-term supply contracts and had stopped trading for short- and medium-term supply products on its trading platform ESP as of November. Additional volumes were not offered to German traders by Gazprom in winter either, and individual natural gas storage facilities were not completely filled, the German government said in its response.
Proposals for climate protection programme to be presented shortly: The ministries involved in the federal government’s emergency climate protection programme will present their measures for achieving the climate targets laid down in law in the coming weeks. This is stated in an answer of the Federal Government (20/830) to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/628). On 11 January, Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Protection Robert Habeck (Greens) had presented an opening balance sheet on climate protection and mentioned as overarching measures the payment of the EEG levy from the federal budget as of 2023 and the increase of the target for 2030 to a share of 80 per cent of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption. The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection answered questions from the CDU/CSU MPs on when the draft bill would be presented, how it would proceed with individual energy sources and what concrete measures and regulations were envisaged, stating that the government was currently in the process of internal coordination and that a draft bill would be presented shortly. On the question of tender volumes and future burdens on the federal budget, the government states that the tender volumes in the EEG will be adjusted to the new expansion targets. A key factor for the EEG financing requirement is the selling price of electricity subsidised under the EEG on the electricity exchange, which depends on many factors, such as wholesale prices for gas or coal, the development of EU emissions trading and the expansion of renewable energies. The further price development is therefore very uncertain.
Disposal of Corona masks: The disposal of waste on public land and in public spaces is carried out by the public waste management authorities responsible under Land law. This also applies to forests that are privately owned, as long as this is regulated by state law, according to an answer (20/873) of the federal government to a minor question (20/762) of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The parliamentarians wanted to know, among other things, who organises the removal or disposal of used Corona disposable masks, protective gloves and other disposable products in the wild (forests, parks in cities, rivers, lakes) and who bears the resulting costs.
„We will see more and more wars over the consequences of the climate crisis. For example, large areas of land will become uninhabitable, food shortages and famines will break out, and wars will be fought over water.
Prof. Dr Reinhard Steurer, Professor of Climate Policy at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. These would become the wars of the future. Not only environmentalists are of this opinion, but the US Department of Defence has also been aware for decades that the climate crisis will be a major military threat in the future. If we do not take climate protection much more seriously very quickly, we will unfortunately enter a very troubled time. orf.at
Consequences of the Ukraine war in Africa: The war in Ukraine may further exacerbate the food crisis, especially in East Africa. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) now warns of this. „Conflict is a major cause of hunger and food insecurity in the world,“ says WFP Director David Beasley: „We now have 283 million people marching towards hunger, and 45 million knocking on the door of famine.“ taz.de
Russia’s allies in Africa: Russia has been expanding its influence in Africa for years. Now, after the attack on Ukraine, this seems to be paying off diplomatically for President Vladimir Putin. Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroon, Eswatini and Morocco decided not to participate in the vote. Algeria, Uganda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Mali, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Congo Brazzaville, Sudan, South Sudan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa abstained. Especially in South Africa, intellectuals, diplomats and opposition politicians sharply criticised the course of the government in Pretoria: „The refusal to condemn this war puts South Africa on the wrong side of history,“ said opposition leader Herman Mashaba of the Action SA party, for example. It was obvious that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a „violation of international legal principles“. However, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) refuses to see this and to break away from friendship with its old ally Russia. dw.com
Eswatini: Eswatini is the last absolutist monarchy in Africa. The king lives in luxury, the citizens in poverty. But slowly discontent is growing. faz.net
Morocco: Madrid is concerned about the increasing number of migrants from Morocco reaching the Spanish North African exclave of Melilla. Is Rabat using them to exert further pressure in the Western Sahara conflict? faz.net
Sea-level rise threatens turtles: Wedged between Angola in the south and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, the huge Democratic Republic of Congo has only a narrow coastal strip of 37 kilometres. Here, the effects of climate change are particularly tangible. 5.56 millimetres per day on average have eaten into the interior of the country between the years 1986 and 2016. The rising sea level is also causing the beach where turtles lay their eggs to shrink. The situation is calling animal rights activists to the scene. President Cyril Ramaphosa, meanwhile, defended his government’s „neutral stance“. Ramaphosa instead accused the West of not doing enough to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. dw.com
New high-performance computer plays out climate change faster: The German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) has put its fourth high-performance computer system, named Levante, into operation. The supercomputer calculates up to 14 quadrillion mathematical operations per second (PetaFLOPS), quadrupling the computing power of its predecessor system. With the new system, climate research in Germany will be able to resolve its climate models much higher in the future. heise.de
Plastic Budget: Unfortunately, discarded plastic bags or bottles are a „familiar“ sight in the landscape. Yet such carelessly discarded or purposefully disposed of wayside plastic waste is one of the major ways in which soils become contaminated with plastic. Especially when it is reduced to microplastics and permanently accumulates below the earth’s surface, it can have negative consequences. spektrum.de
On the way to the next generation of energy storage: zinc-ion batteries: Researchers are currently working successfully on the next generation of energy storage devices. Their goal is aqueous zinc-ion batteries that eliminate any risk of explosion or fire. There are important challenges that need to be overcome in the further development of this new battery technology. fair-economics.de
Green north German dikes: How safe are they in the climate crisis. rnd.de
Green brands: How sustainable are they digitally. absatzwirtschaft.de
Green Amazon rainforest: Close to the tipping point. geo.de
Shark meat in cat food: About three quarters of all sharks in the seas and oceans are threatened with extinction. In the past 50 years, the number of sharks living in the wild has declined by as much as 70 percent. The main reason for this is overfishing, also due to the shark fin trade. This is a topic that is always heavily discussed in the media and condemned for brutal methods. Now a study from Singapore reveals another problem of shark fishing. Samples from 16 different pet food producers in Singapore were examined. Components of shark meat were found in almost one third (31 percent). According to the IUCN Red List, almost all shark species found and identified in the feed are either potentially endangered or already endangered. The blue shark was found most frequently in the samples. The IUCN considers this shark to be potentially endangered and its population in the wild continues to decline. Blue sharks are particularly frequent victims of the shark fin trade and scientists are calling for restrictions on fishing. However, there are currently no official regulations. utopia.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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