The federal government’s emergency programme for existing buildings was not efficient enough: The federal government’s hastily launched emergency programme for existing buildings is failing. The stated emission reduction of two million tonnes of CO2 is not quantifiable, the expert council for climate issues judges. „No evidence was provided that the Immediate Action Programme 2020 proposed by BMWi and BMI fulfils the requirement of § 8 para. 1 KSG to ensure compliance with the sector’s annual emission levels for the following years,“ the expert paper states. expertenrat-klima.de (original paper), klimareporter.de
Central banks continue to fuel the climate crisis: Large central banks like the Deutsche Bundesbank would have access to crucial instruments in the fight against the climate crisis. But despite their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, they continue to support fossil fuel deals. Now there is renewed criticism. Twelve of the world’s largest central banks continue to support fossil energies through their business policies and direct financing. energiezukunft.de
Around seven billion euros
– that is at least the insured losses that have been determined so far as a result of the flood disaster in the west and south of Germany. At least 180 people lost their lives in the floods in Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Bavaria in mid-July. But insurance companies only cover part of the damage. Last Wednesday, the Bundestag discussed a federal and state aid package of up to 30 billion euros for the affected regions. For the insurance industry, the flood disaster is the most expensive event in the history of the Federal Republic so far. taz.de
Children suffer particularly from the climate crisis: About one billion children – almost half of the world’s 2.2 billion children – live in regions that are particularly hard hit by the consequences of climate change. These children are exposed to a deadly combination of different climate and environmental risks: Heat waves, water shortages, diseases, storms and floods. data.unicef.org (original report), tagesschau.de
Even if electricity becomes greener, it will not become cheaper: climate policy is reaching the electricity bill. When the suppliers announce their prices for 2022 in late autumn, the surcharge is likely to be significant in many cases. In addition to higher commodity prices, a large part of the additional price will be due to the increased CO2 price that will be charged for the generation of electricity from coal and natural gas. The electricity suppliers will pass these costs on to their customers. The seemingly paradoxical thing is that even green electricity, officially declared CO2-free, will become more expensive due to rising CO2 prices. taz.de
Climate targets endanger the steel industry in Germany: election campaign bluster or serious concerns – the chairman of the board of Stahl-Holding-Saar Karl-Ulrich Köhler sees Germany as a location at risk. The climate targets set by politicians and the necessary conversion of production from coke and coal to electricity-based metallurgy pose a particular challenge, as this involves the use of so-called direct reduction plants and electric arc furnaces. „These plants will not necessarily be located in Germany,“ predicts Köhler. Instead, production will move to locations where CO2-free energy is cheap and abundantly available – such as France. welt.de
Datteln IV a black-build: The coal-fired power plant Datteln IV has its own history, because – despite an agreement to phase out coal – the power plant has been newly connected to the grid. Now the Münster Higher Administrative Court (OVG) ruled that the development plan was invalid. „The development plan of the city of Datteln is invalid,“ said presiding judge Detlev Klein Altstedde at the end of the hearing in Münster. The site selection for the power plant had been faulty. In addition, the regional association should have considered alternatives in its planning, such as the construction of a gas-fired power plant, the court further ruled. Such a gas-fired power plant would place „significantly lower demands on the space“ and have „considerably less impact on the environment. spiegel.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Sand – Wie uns eine wertvolle Ressource durch die Finger rinnt
Our world is built on sand, because sand is the basic material for concrete in almost all buildings and roads. It is also necessary for the production of computer chips, paper and toothpaste. Sand makes our current lifestyle possible, so it has long been in short supply in suitable quality – and the phrase „like sand on the sea“ is misleading. Multi-award-winning journalist Vince Beiser takes us into the realm of sand, to its sources, possible uses and to the conflicts surrounding its extraction. He tells the gripping story of a material without which our modern life would not be possible – and shows what threatens us if it runs out. Many cities are being rebuilt around the world, so building sand has become a scarce resource whose price keeps rising. oekom.de
Court: North Stream 2 is subject to EU gas market regulation. handelsblatt.com
Child poverty in Germany: Politicians need to catch up. rnd.de
Berlin: Universities almost completely eliminate meat from the menu for climate protection reasons. welt.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.
German Aerospace Centre – Study sees great advantages for cargo bikes: Politically, cargo bikes are controversial, but now there is renewed support from the scientific community: According to a study, the vehicles replace many car journeys – and are often as fast as cars. spiegel.de
Prices that are too cheap: Airlines lure their customers with flights at junk prices. But is this still justifiable in view of the climate crisis? The issue has long been part of the election campaign. In the eyes of environmentalists, however, politicians are still far too timid despite ambitious plans. n-tv.de
Interest in combustion engines is waning: Cars with combustion engines are falling out of favour with private new car buyers. 15 percent of the participants in the latest Aral survey wanted to buy a pure electric car and 27 percent a hybrid model as their next vehicle. Compared to 2019, this is an increase of 18 percentage points, with which the alternative drives almost draw level with the classic combustion engines. There has been a sharp decline in petrol cars, which were the number one choice for 55 percent of prospective buyers just two years ago, but are now only 32 percent. Interest in diesels increased slightly, with approval or interest in buying now at 16 per cent, compared to only 12 per cent in 2019. handelsblatt.de
Abandoned bicycles cause problems in city centres: Abandoned and then simply forgotten bicycles are causing problems for inner cities in Lower Saxony. In Hanover, for example, employees of the city cleaning service threw away about 180 unused bicycles last Friday afternoon. It is particularly annoying when the junk bikes block the parking bars for other cyclists. zeit.de
Paris: Becomes a 30 zone for the most part. n-tv.de
Liquefied natural gas terminal in Hamburg could become hydrogen hub: The planned terminal for liquefied natural gas is to become an import location for hydrogen in the long term. The project has high political relevance. handelsblatt.com
Green steel from Sweden: For the first time, a Swedish manufacturer is delivering climate-friendly steel produced with eco-hydrogen. German industry is also working on the conversion. fr.de
Deutz with hydrogen engine: Deutz, something like the nucleus of the Otto engine, comes with an innovative hydrogen engine. Not a fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electrical energy, but a unit that burns hydrogen directly. motorsport-total.de
Hydrogen partnership with Namibia: Last Wednesday, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) signed a „hydrogen partnership“ with Namibia on behalf of the country. She said that Berlin was proud to be the first partner with which the country had concluded such a deal. t-online.de
H2Giga: Electrolysers for industrial production: Hydrogen could soon power ships without emissions and ensure climate-neutral steel and cement production. For this idea to work, the hydrogen must not only be produced regeneratively, but also be affordable. The H2Giga project aims to find solutions for this. deutschlandfunk.de
Oman: International investors are now increasingly discovering Oman for green hydrogen and ammonia projects. iwr.de
Worldwide hydrogen projects: Hydrogen project pipeline grows to $500bn. The accelerated global climate targets are visibly filling the hydrogen project pipeline: a recent study lists almost 500 projects worth around 500 billion US dollars. hydrogencouncil.com
France seeks cooperation with Germany on green hydrogen: Our neighbour is considered a pioneer in the EU with its national hydrogen strategy. But industry representatives say there are still hurdles to cooperation. handelsblatt. com
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Start-up difficulties with database for hazardous substances: The Federal Government comments on the SCIP database of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in its answer (19/32063) to a minor question (19/31860) of the FDP parliamentary group. In it, it informs that by May 2021, twelve million data reports on hazardous substances had been received in the SCIP database across Europe. This shows that the reporting procedure is not an insurmountable hurdle despite the initial uncertainties. According to the Federal Government, the establishment of the SCIP database is based on a decision by the EU legislator. According to the answer, the Federal Government shares the view of the questioners that an earlier opening of the data portal would have been desirable. However, it also understands the difficult task of ECHA to set up an IT system that is supposed to represent a diverse and highly complex product world. Moreover, the Federal Government was not of the opinion that ECHA had exceeded its competences with the technical and content-related specifications it had made.
FDP presents ten-point plan for climate resilience: In a motion (19/32080), the FDP parliamentary group formulates a ten-point plan for climate resilience and disaster management. A first analysis of the heavy rain disaster of July 2021 focuses on four fields of action – relief, disaster management, climate adaptation and climate protection, says the motion, which will be discussed in the Bundestag plenary today, Wednesday. According to the FDP parliamentary group, the federal government should, among other things, ensure rapid financial reconstruction aid, appoint a special representative for reconstruction at the federal level and restructure the competences in disaster control. In addition, the motion calls on the federal government to make transport infrastructure and urban planning climate-proof, to secure the digital infrastructure and to implement ecological measures for preventive flood protection.
Greens want compulsory solar on roofs: The parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen wants to accelerate the expansion of solar systems for electricity generation on buildings by means of a federal law. In a draft bill (19/32044), the Greens therefore demand that owners of new buildings for which a building permit is applied for after 1 June 2022 be obliged to install and operate solar systems for electricity generation on roof surfaces that are suitable for solar use. This regulation is also to apply to existing buildings where the roof cladding is being renewed. According to the draft law, exceptions should be possible if obligations under public law – in particular the protection of historical monuments or the obligation to green roofs – stand in the way of the installation of a photovoltaic system or if the obligation could only be fulfilled with an economically disproportionate effort. Furthermore, a homeowner should be exempt from the regulation if he operates solar systems for electricity generation in the immediate vicinity of his building.
CO2 price of 60 euros demanded: The parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen demands a comprehensive immediate programme for more climate protection in a motion (19/32041), which is on the agenda of the Bundestag plenum on Wednesday. The goals of this immediate programme should be the expansion of renewable energies, the change in transport, an offensive in the renovation of buildings and the decarbonisation of the economy, according to the motion entitled „Draw the consequences from the floods – get an immediate programme for climate protection underway“. Specifically, the parliamentary group demands the introduction of a national minimum CO2 price of 60 euros per tonne and an end to coal-fired power generation by 2030. In addition, climate protection contracts (Carbon Contracts for Difference) should be concluded with the economy with the aim of boosting climate-friendly investments. In the building sector, the applicants want the Building Energy Act to be further developed. The installation of oil-fired heating systems is to be banned, and the CO2 price for heating is to be borne by the homeowners. In the transport sector, the Greens advocate the introduction of a 130 km/h speed limit on all federal motorways and an acceleration of the mobility transition. To this end, they want to make an additional 2.5 billion euros available for the reactivation of railway lines, the municipal promotion of electric buses and the expansion of cycle path networks.
UN Decade of Oceans: In the view of the Federal Government, the UN Decade of Oceans is of great importance, as it is closely linked to the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is stated in an answer (19/31960) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/31448). For the implementation of the UN Decade of Oceans, the German Ocean Decade Committee was founded, which is composed of eleven representatives from business, science, administration and non-governmental organisations and is responsible, among other things, for the coordination of national contributions to the Decade. From July 2021 to May 2022, for example, the „Ocean Decade Laboratories“ are to take place, in which international experts will address issues surrounding a more sustainable approach to the seas and oceans. Overall, German marine research is highly efficient, according to the Federal Government. It is well financed and has an excellent infrastructure. An increase in funding is not currently planned.
„Green Energy Finance provides a framework for the systematic, standardised arrangement and subsequent safe implementation of green energy investments. Banks, other financial institutions and the global capital market players can directly influence the progress of climate change with their conscious decision to finance only these energy projects in the future and not fossil energy generation projects.“
Alexander Boensch, Project Director in the Bio Energy / Renewable Energy and Energy Finance division of the Renewables Academy AG (RENAC), said that the prerequisite is of course always that new green energy projects actually replace existing conventional energy production units to the same extent. To this end, politicians must set clear targets for the reduction of fossil energy production. fair-economics.de
„We conclude in the analysis that climate justice policies are not a choice, but further climate destruction is“
Kai Kuhnhenn, Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, because from a perspective that takes both climate science and the emissions budgets calculated by the German Advisory Council on the Environment (Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen) really seriously and is consistently oriented towards the benchmark of global climate justice and compliance with the 1.5°C limit, it becomes clear that even the most far-reaching election programmes have ambitious goals in parts, but also have numerous gaps when it comes to the necessary socio-ecological restructuring of the economy and society. The climate crisis forces us to fundamentally question the way we do business. konzeptwerk-neue-oekonomie.org
Africa Summit in Berlin – African heads of government insist on vaccines: Chancellor Merkel has called it a „dramatic injustice“ that in Africa only two percent of the population is vaccinated. The German government rejects the African representatives‘ demand for the release of vaccine patents. For the last time, Germany’s chancellor meets with African heads of state for the „Compact with Africa“. Through the initiative, Angela Merkel wanted to expand economic relations. dw.com (Merkel) handelsblatt.com (Vaccines)
High carbon storage in African mountain forests: The tropical mountain forests of Africa store more carbon per hectare in their above-ground biomass than all other tropical forests on earth. With this high storage capacity, which was previously estimated to be considerably lower by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they make a major contribution to climate protection. fair-economics.de
Regions become uninhabitable: A billion climate refugees? How a special project in Africa can help. focus.de
How NGOs come under pressure in African conflicts: Cameroon and Ethiopia have restricted the activities of international aid organisations in recent months. This could have fatal consequences for the civilian population – but what is behind it? dw.com
Algeria: Breaks off diplomatic relations with Morocco. Relations between the two Maghreb states have long been difficult and conflict-ridden. For Morocco, the Algerian recognition of the independence of the Western Sahara in particular put a strain on relations. Both countries also accuse each other of supporting separatist movements in the other country.
Rwanda: The vaccine manufacturer Biontech wants to produce malaria and tuberculosis vaccines in Africa. To this end, the company is examining the establishment of sustainable production facilities in Rwanda and Senegal. sueddeutsche.de
Zambia: Africa’s new model democrat takes office. Hakainde Hichilema’s election victory in Zambia has triggered euphoria on the continent. But opposition victories are likely to remain rare. nzz.ch
Somalia’s fight against the Islamists: „We only have one chance not to end up like Afghanistan“ The triumph of the Taliban in Afghanistan has not only shocked the West. In other crisis states like Somalia, there is growing concern that a similar scenario could occur. spiegel.de
South Africa: Fatal shooting of South African whistleblower in corruption scandals. Babita Deokaran was killed outside her home in Johannesburg. She had not received any special protection despite her whistleblower status. derstandard.at
Tunisia: Parliament remains blocked: Confidence waning. President Saied wants to reform Tunisia – and suspends parliament. The EU should now support civil society. taz.de
Germany belongs to the favourable area: Germany is also affected by climate change, as could easily be seen from the floods on the Ahr. But so far, Germany is in the low and medium climate risk range. Despite all the risks, Germany will still come off comparatively lightly. „We have to say quite clearly: compared to almost all other regions in the world, Germany is a favourable area in terms of climate change,“ says UBA expert Inke Schauser. But in one area, the development is already unacceptable: heat deaths. „There is already a high risk there today,“ she warns. klimareporter.de
Different climate developments in the east and west of the USA: Climatically, the east and west of the USA are developing further apart. Climate researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that on average more rain has fallen in the eastern half of the country in the last 30 years than in the entire 20th century. In the western US, on the other hand, rainfall has decreased. Researchers usually use 30-year intervals in their work to map such developments. Whether the observations reflect long-term weather fluctuations or are part of global warming is not yet entirely clear. spiegel .de
A different world in the oceans: heating, acidification, mineral deficiency: by the end of the century, large parts of the near-surface marine ecosystems are threatened with drastic changes. By the end of the century, depending on the emissions scenario, between one third and 95 per cent of all near-surface marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds, coral reefs or tidal flats will experience conditions that have rarely or even never existed in the course of Earth’s history. spektrum.de
Flood forecasts: Can be improved. fair-economics.de
Fish kill in Spain: Spain’s Mar Menor was once considered a natural paradise, now a fish kill of unknown magnitude has set in. faz.net
Greenland: Rain is another warning signal for climate change. scinexx.de
Hydrogen Region Saar: small country – big projects
The special role of Saarland in the development of hydrogen as an energy carrier in an industrial region rich in tradition and exciting, partly cross-border projects will be addressed by renowned speakers at the TÜV SÜD H2 Forum „Hydrogen Region Saar: small country – big projects“ on 31 August 2021. The Hydrogen Region Saar is located in the heart of Europe – an appropriate setting for the presentation of the Hydrogen Roadmap Europe by Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe in Brussels. Other presentations at the event will focus on sector coupling in the industrial environment and the role of hydrogen in the transformation of steel production. tuvsud.com
How Instagram and co destroy rare plants: A photo of a rare, unusual-looking plant that thrives in South Africa is shared more than 10,000 times on social media. A few weeks later, smugglers in South Africa are caught with the endangered plant species. Their trade is banned. „We receive a new report of plant poaching almost every day,“ laments Pieter van Wyk, 33, a botanist who works closely with the South African Institute of Biodiversity (Sanbi). South Africa is home to almost a third of the world’s succulent plants. Many of them are protected. Through publicity on social media, the illegal plant trade has taken on proportions similar to rhino poaching, with international criminal networks as the string pullers. The hashtag #PlantTikTok has 3.5 billion views, while on Instagram there are 12.3 million posts with the hashtag #Succulents. futurezone.at
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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