Concrete demands for climate protection from industry: Industry is becoming the driver of climate change in Germany. In a paper entitled „Climate Paths 2.0“, the Federation of German Industries together with the Boston Consulting Group present how drastic the measures and how big the changes must be that a future government must decide on now. The new government must „very quickly set a very large course“ and make „critical decisions“. Germany is facing „the greatest transformation of the post-war era“. BDI head Siegfried Russwurm stressed: „We are running out of time. Political fundamental decisions to implement the climate goals are overdue.“ The study provides a roadmap for how Germany can reduce CO₂ emissions in industry, transport, buildings and the energy sector by 65 percent by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality in 2045. A Marshall Plan for the climate turnaround with huge costs. 860 billion euros by 2030. wiwo.de , sueddeutsche.de , bcg.com (original report) , bcg.com (English summary)
Habeck wants higher EU borrowing to fight climate change: Robert Habeck, Green Party Co-Chair, can imagine higher borrowing by Germany and the European Union to fight climate change. The possibilities of the Grundgesetz (Constitution) could also be used for this. The exploratory agreements with the intended coalition partners, the SPD and the FDP, allow for the use of leeway in the debt brake. A too rigid austerity policy in the EU could contribute to „liberal, democratic Europe going further down the drain“. Austerity programmes with harsh social cuts lead to a „danger of political radicalisation“. n-tv.de, faz.net
German wind turbines were only operating at 20 percent of their capacity in the first half of 2021. In purely arithmetical terms, 20.9 percent of the plants were running at full load. The solar plants had an average utilisation rate of 10.5 percent from January to June.
The utilisation rate of wind power and photovoltaic plants fluctuates more strongly than that of other technologies due to changing weather conditions. For example, the hurricane „Sabine“ in February 2020 with its strong gusts of wind ensured that wind power plants in Germany were utilised to just under half of their capacity (47.0 percent) in that month. In comparison, the utilisation rate in June 2021, when there was little wind, was 9.7 percent – the weakest value since the survey began in January 2018. Photovoltaic systems cannot generate much or any electricity during darkness and in the winter months and thus cannot achieve high utilisation rates. The lowest utilisation rate was 1.8 percent in January 2021, the highest in June 2019 with record sunshine hours at 19.5 percent. In comparison, conventional energy plants usually achieve higher utilisation rates because they are independent of the weather and are mostly used as base-load power plants. For example, lignite-fired power plants had an average utilisation rate of 46.7 percent in the first half of 2021. destatis.de
Countries are said to have tried to influence the IPCC report: The COP26 world climate conference begins next Sunday in Glasgow. It has now come to light that several countries have called on the UN to downplay the need for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are said to have stood out. Other rich industrialised countries are said to have questioned whether financial contributions to poorer countries to enable them to switch to climate-friendly technologies are really necessary to the extent mentioned so far. spiegel.de, tagesschau.de
Fish stocks in the North and Baltic Seas are at alarming risk: The EU is introducing catch limits in the North and Baltic Seas because fish stocks are collapsing. This is a consequence of ignoring years of warnings from scientists and nature conservation organisations. No limits were set for the fishing industry, which has powerful lobbyists. In the case of cod, for example, an institutional conflict between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament prevented the adaptation of a management plan for years. Without fish, by the way, there is no fishing industry. In order to save the stock at the last minute, the EU agriculture ministers have now agreed to a ban on fishing for cod in the western Baltic Sea. There is only a small catch quota for by-catches of cod in plaice fisheries. telepolis.de
Annual report warns of health impacts of climate change: There is an urgent need to do more to combat climate change and better protect ourselves from its growing risks. This is the core message of the new Lancet Countdown, as well as of the accompanying German report. For example, the health sector is ill-prepared for the consequences of climate change. „In 2020, people over 65 were exposed to extreme heat much more frequently than just two decades ago: There are now three billion more heat days for this particularly vulnerable age group. Mortality from heat waves is also increasing worldwide. deutschlandfunk.de
Total was already aware of the climate damage in the 1970s: long before the topic of climate change entered the public debate, the oil companies ExxonMobil, Shell and BP knew about the dangers. The 20 largest companies in the oil and gas business are responsible for more than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1965. What is new is that the French oil company Total Energies SE was also aware of the risks – down to the last detail. The strategists of the French energy giant have also been heavily involved in raising doubts about the authenticity of climate change, counteracting political measures and actively „creating ignorance“. This is the content of a study published by two historians and a sociologist in the journal „Global Environmental Change“. spiegel.de, faz.net
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
DAS UNSICHTBARE NETZ DES LEBENS
How microbiome, biodiversity, environment and nutrition determine our health
The successful author Martin Grassberger shows new ways how people can protect themselves from harmful environmental influences.
How do we maintain our physical and mental health in times of new kinds of pandemics, chronic diseases, increasing urbanisation and media constant fire? Based on comprehensive ecological considerations and taking into account the latest scientific findings in microbiome research, Martin Grassberger draws conclusions about the fundamental interactions between us and our environment and shows how we can lead a good and healthy life despite disturbing developments. In „Das unsichtbare Netz des Lebens“ (The Invisible Web of Life), Martin Grassberger focuses on people and explains how each individual can protect himself, his children and the environment. residenzverlag.com
North Sea: The mudflats could soon disappear. freitag.de
KfW: To become a loan-financing climate bank. n-tv.de
Northstream 2: Baerbock against operating licence. spiegel.de
Return on investment of grid operators: Grid agency lowers prices. faz.net
Netherlands: Discussion about the renaissance of nuclear power. faz.net
Climate: Researchers dare to look into the year 2500. focus.de
The seventeeen goalsmagazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
In the documentary „Farmers“, Fairtrade producers from Indonesia, Kenya and Peru give insights into their lives in the midst of the pandemic. For six months, local film teams accompany coconut sugar farmer Ponisih, coffee farmer Caroline and banana farmer Roberto through the pandemic. The documentary impressively shows their everyday lives. transfair.org
Railway wants to reactivate 20 lines: According to information from Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), 20 railway lines with a length of 245 kilometres will be reactivated for railway operations. This was announced by the Federal Government in its answer (19/32665) to a small question of the FDP parliamentary group (19/32400). The lines are the first part of previously disused routes on which passenger or freight traffic is to take place again in the future. In the past months, a Germany-wide portfolio of routes with a length of about 1,300 kilometres has been identified for which there is transport potential, the answer states. According to DB AG, the reopening of a large part of the route kilometres is worthwhile after weighing up the costs and benefits.
Flixbus: Takes over US classic Greyhound. zeit.de
Climate protection and transport: According to the Director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation, Rainer Baake, the decision not to introduce a general speed limit on motorways in Germany will „fall on the feet of the new federal government“ He can already predict „that this issue is not over“. In their exploratory paper on the formation of a future federal government, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP had explicitly ruled out a general speed limit on motorways. Previously, the Greens in particular had advocated this. Baake believes that the transport sector will have to make a great, great effort after the Climate Protection Act. Every time the climate targets are missed in the transport sector in the future, the speed limit will become an issue again, he predicted. As an example of why a speed limit would have made sense in his view, Baake cited the building sector – the only sector that missed its climate targets by two million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions last year. The German government is now spending eleven billion euros to compensate for this surplus of emissions, Baake explained. Yet a speed limit would save the same amount of CO2 annually. automobilwoche.de
Using cargo bikes for sustainable mobility: The use of cargo bikes in commercial transport is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cars or delivery vans and improves the quality of life in cities. With Europe’s largest cargo bike test, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) show the potential that cargo bikes have for commercial use. More than 750 companies and public institutions across Germany tested their use in everyday life. One third of the participants switch to cargo bikes in the long term. dlr.de
Coalition negotiations: Munich Environmental Institute calls for rejection of blue hydrogen. iwr.de
20 new hydrogen projects: Hydrogen production is the trend. Based on a study by McKinsey, the Hydrogen Council estimates the current project pipeline for hydrogen production at 500 billion US dollars – and the trend is clearly pointing upwards. In addition to the replacement of conventional plants based on fossil fuels such as natural gas with green hydrogen, or decarbonisation via blue hydrogen, massive capacity will have to be built up in the coming years in order to be able to use hydrogen as an energy carrier and climate-neutral raw material in the chemical or steel industry. chemietechnik.de
Helgoland: to become a hydrogen centre. faz.net
Monopolies Commission presents sector report: The 8th sector report of the Monopolies Commission pursuant to Section 62 of the Energy Industry Act entitled „Energy 2021: Exploiting competitive opportunities in electricity exchanges, e-charging stations and hydrogen“ is available as a briefing by the Federal Government (19/32686). In it, the Monopolies Commission addresses the competitive situation in electricity generation, the strengthening of competition among electricity exchanges in short-term electricity trading in Germany, competition policy analyses and recommendations for the development of a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles as well as the regulation of a hydrogen economy. The Monopolies Commission advocates aligning the regulation of hydrogen networks with market conditions and preventing cross-subsidisation. The regulation of hydrogen networks is clearly different from the existing regulation of natural gas networks, writes the Monopolies Commission. With regard to the financing of hydrogen networks, separate financing of hydrogen and natural gas networks should be stipulated by law from the outset, it demands. At the same time, the Monopolies Commission points out that gas network operators in particular, who also operate hydrogen networks, are subject to incentives to cross-subsidise the natural gas business at the expense of hydrogen network customers. „If it turns out that cross-subsidisation occurs despite accounting unbundling, unbundling under company law should also be considered,“ it demands.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
This week, on 26 October, the new Bundestag will be constituted. „Programme of Measures for Sustainability – Further Development 2021“: The „Programme of Measures for Sustainability – Further Development 2021“ (19/32688) adopted by the Federal Government in August is available for information. Unless otherwise stipulated in the individual measures, it applies to all authorities and institutions of the direct and indirect federal administration, insofar as the latter has powers under sectoral supervision law vis-à-vis these authorities and institutions. The programme reaffirms the goal of a „climate-neutral federal administration by 2030“. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, „each authority and institution of the federal administration shall undertake its own efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions“, the bill states. According to this, these emissions are to be avoided and reduced as a matter of priority; emissions that cannot be avoided are to be compensated.
According to the information, the federal government’s exemplary function for sustainable and energy-efficient construction applies to federal properties of the direct and parts of the indirect federal administration; for their other parts, a recommendation for application applies. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, the energy efficiency specifications of the Climate Protection Programme 2030 will be implemented for new buildings and renovation projects as minimum construction requirements in accordance with the decree of 25 August 2021. The goal is to refurbish the entire building stock by 2045, taking into account a corresponding start-up period. The potential for using renewable energies (heat, electricity and cooling) on federal properties is to be systematically identified and used in new construction and renovation.
In the area of mobility, the authorities and institutions are required to consistently implement the principle of travel avoidance and to give priority to using the railway for domestic business trips and business trips to neighbouring countries. Accordingly, domestic flights are to be avoided in favour of lower-emission means of transport; if the use of taxis or the hiring of motor vehicles is necessary, low-emission vehicles – if possible electric vehicles – are to be chosen as a matter of priority. Furthermore, all authorities and institutions should provide company bicycles and electric bicycles for business trips at the place of work in a timely manner as required.
Methane emissions have decreased significantly: Methane emissions have decreased in the EU framework from 497.16 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2000 to 385.15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019. This is stated in the answer of the Federal Government (19/32671) to a small question of the parliamentary group Die Linke (19/32614). In the same period, methane emissions in Germany fell from 88.39 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 51.15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, according to the answer. The control of methane emissions from the natural gas infrastructure in Germany is currently carried out on the basis of the regulations developed by the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), according to the government. This regulates the inspection of facilities and pipelines at fixed intervals and prescribes the elimination of detected leaks. The European Commission has announced a legislative proposal for the reduction of methane emissions in the energy sector for the fourth quarter of 2021, the government also reports. This would establish mandatory measurement, reporting and verification of all energy-related methane emissions, limit flaring and venting, and introduce an obligation to improve leak detection and repair across the natural gas infrastructure.
One of the most absurd facets of that chimera called „climate change“ is the emergence of a monetisation of the environment and the acceptance of bizarre terms like CO2 compensation or emissions trading. We have seen how capitalism and its consumption habits have become the cause of the environmental disaster we find ourselves in today. For us, the idea that capitalism, brokerage and profiteering can be used to mitigate the damage they have done over the years is the height of hypocrisy, severe cognitive dissonance or both at once on a global scale.
Mordecai Ogada, ecologist and author of The Big Conservation Lie. The money that changes hands in such transactions has no influence on emissions. It only means that those who pollute pay for it. The costs are passed on to the consumer, so polluters don’t lose out. And since most emissions occur in the production of important consumer goods, the whole thing turns out to be a simple attempt at blackmail, for which consumers pay, only to suffer the consequences in the form of extreme weather conditions. faz.net
Deforestation rate in Madagascar: According to the German government, the deforestation rate in Madagascar has declined slightly over the past ten years compared to 2000 to 2010. While the forest area decreased by about 10.3 per cent from 2000 to 2010, the value from 2010 to 2020 was 9.1 per cent, it writes in an answer (19/32656) to a minor question (19/32438) of the AfD parliamentary group. In total, Madagascar lost about 9.17 million hectares of forest area between 1990 and 2020, which is 26 per cent of its forest area. The reasons for the high deforestation rates are manifold, the answer continues. The growing population leads to an increasing demand for energy and firewood, also because there is still a lack of alternative forms of energy, especially in rural areas, where the electrification rate is only 5 to 7 percent. In addition, agricultural land is losing productivity due to ongoing soil erosion, which means that more land is needed to feed the population. „These factors have led to a high rate of slash-and-burn agriculture,“ the German government says. In addition, there is targeted illegal logging of particularly valuable tropical timber. According to the Federal Government, from 2016 to 2021, 25.3 million euros in Technical Cooperation (through the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, GIZ) and 54 million euros in Financial Cooperation (through KfW Entwicklungsbank, KfW) have been used to promote forest and nature conservation in the Republic of Madagascar.
Famine in Madagascar – the first made by climate change: Children have long since stopped going to school because they have to help find food. According to surveys by the World Food Programme (WFP), 1.14 million Madagascans are already dependent on food aid; more than 135,000 children are said to be acutely malnourished. Experts call the looming disaster „the first famine produced by global warming“. In fact, droughts are not uncommon in Madagascar. But the rains in the country the size of France have not been as persistent as this time. tagesspiegel.de
Corona in Africa: In parts of Africa, about as many people have contracted the corona virus as have been vaccinated in Europe – new figures show. Experts are calling for a change in vaccination strategy. spiegel.de
Egypt: Compulsory vaccination for state employees. zeit.de
Algeria: Thrown into the Seine: Macron commemorates the 200 or so Algerians murdered in Paris 60 years ago. Until the 1990s, there was hardly any talk in France about the murdered demonstrators of Algerian origin in Paris on 17 October 1961. President Macron has now attended a memorial service for them for the first time. nzz.ch
Burkina Faso: Silent refugee crisis. dw.com
Eswatini: More protests for more democracy. dw.com
Nigeria: The West African nation is the first African country to introduce a digital currency, the eNaira, to be launched today: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced the pilot phase of Nigeria’s electronic currency, the eNaira, which it will issue, on 1 October 2021. However, according to a statement released on Saturday by the CBN’s Director of Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, it will now be officially launched by President Muhammadu Buhari today, 25 October 2021.
South Africa: At a meeting with veterans of the resistance struggle against apartheid, the South African Defence Minister was held against her will. She could only be freed with the help of the police. faz.net
Sudan: For days, thousands have been protesting against the government in front of the Palace of the Republic in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The head of the transitional government, Abdullah Hamduk, has now convened a crisis team. dw.com
African tourism: It has been over 20 months since the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global health emergency and pandemic. It is estimated that in 2020 alone, the resulting travel disruptions drained US$4.5 trillion from the global tourism economy and cost millions of jobs. In Africa, half of all people working in tourism lost their jobs. A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that by the end of 2021, another US$1.7 to 2.4 trillion could be lost in the global tourism sector. In Africa, these losses are estimated at between US$ 170 billion and US$ 253 billion. Tourism is an important source of funding for the management of protected areas and provides jobs for people living near national parks and wildlife. If travel to protected and conserved areas such as national parks and community conservancies fails en masse, jobs and conservation management are at risk. allafrica.com
Water gets short shrift in the climate debate: groundwater reserves are the main source of concern. They are essential for the irrigation of plants and trees – and thus for agriculture and food. And not only for that: they are important for navigation, because springs and rivers are fed by groundwater. And without groundwater, our drinking water would be threatened, because almost 60 percent of it comes from groundwater. But the water in the ground is finite. The wet resource is likely to become increasingly scarce and altogether more valuable in the future. zeit.de
Negative emissions from rock: kilometre-thick layers of basalt in Siberia document the demise of almost all life 251 million years ago, and thick layers of basalt in North America mark a mass extinction 200 million years ago. The age of the dinosaurs, which is generally considered to have ended with an asteroid impact, also ended at the same time as the Deccan basalt plateaus in India. Now the black, heavy rock is supposed to help prevent the next end of the world. When finely ground, it can pull excess greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, This component of climate protection, known as „negative emissions“, is, according to many researchers, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the only chance of still achieving the Paris climate goals. spektrum.de
Deadwood is an important component of ecosystems: Researchers have determined that a full third of all forest inhabitants, around 13,000 species of plants, animals and fungi, depend on deadwood. However, this type of wood is no longer found in classic commercial forests. How deadwood can be given more space in the forest again has now been investigated by the WWF on 3,500 hectares of forest of the Esterházy farms in the Austrian Leithagebirge and the results have been summarised in a guide for commercial forests. derstandard.at
The Municipal Climate Conference 2021 will take place on 4 November 2021. Stakeholders in municipal climate protection from all over Germany are invited to the livestream and online expert forums.
Cities, counties and municipalities are increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change and at the same time are among the most important actors in climate protection. This year, the Municipal Climate Conference is taking place under the motto „Pressure to act meets energy – climate-active municipalities on their way“. The focus is on the challenges and tasks of administration and politics. At the same time, the conference offers municipalities the opportunity to learn from the exemplary climate activities of other cities, municipalities and districts.
The conference is divided into two parts this year. The first part of the conference will take place on 4 November from 2-5 pm as a face-to-face event for invited guests in Berlin. It will be broadcast online as a livestream for all other interested parties. The event will focus on the public announcement and awarding of prizes to the winners of the national competition „Climate Active Community„. https://www.klimaschutz.de/klimakonferenz2021
How a ship could transport electricity: Masahiro Ito is a start-up founder and is looking for funding for his idea of transporting electricity by ship. Trimaran is the name the Japanese founder of the start-up PowerX has given to his special kind of future tanker, of which there is not yet a single example. The ship is to become the world’s first electricity tanker and bring electricity from wind turbines far off the coast of Japan to shore in the future. He wants to create the „Tesla of the sea“. The idea is so audacious that it is worth thinking about. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
You are receiving this newsletter because you are interested in environmental and sustainable issues.