Petersberg Climate Dialogue and a new tongue in cheek: Berlin hosted the International Climate Dialogue. Olaf Scholz and Robert Habeck appeared at the meeting with delegates from around 50 countries in Berlin. But Germany is not in a good position. The traffic light coalition has softened its own climate goals and the Gulf states, which were prominently represented in the World Hall of the Foreign Ministry, have a new wording. It no longer wants to say goodbye to fossil energies in perspective, but to fossil emissions. In other words: coal, oil and gas can continue to be burned if only the corresponding emissions are somehow technically separated and stored underground. If this view were to prevail, it would undermine the idea of building a clean alternative to the fossil system with renewable energies and green hydrogen. It is no coincidence that the Emirates appointed Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as president-designate of COP28, who is not only very smart but also head of the state oil company Adnoc. wiwo.de , sueddeutsche.de
How the EU wants to repair nature: The EU has ambitious plans for the recovery of damaged ecosystems. The business community and local authorities are not enthusiastic. They see conflicting goals and fear interference with their rights. Now, however, the goals agreed to protect and restore nature must also be implemented. The current debate on the planned EU Nature Restoration Law shows how difficult this is. According to the Brussels plans, nature restoration measures are to be taken on at least 20 percent of the EU’s land and marine areas by 2030; by 2050, the repairs are to extend to all ecosystems that are currently weakened or disturbed. But if forests, agricultural and communal land, rivers, lakes and coastal waters are to become ecologically healthy with the help of binding EU targets, this inevitably leads to conflicts of use, as recently became clear in a hearing of the Bundestag’s Environment Committee. There is a battle for land, and business and environmental associations see it similarly. The business community complains about the „European macro perspective“. The DIHK demands that decisions on land use and the associated conflicts should be made at the local or regional level, if possible. The green paper also stipulates that the condition of degraded ecosystems should be continuously improved and that there should be no regression along the way. Where the ban on degradation already applies, it has led to legal uncertainties and disputes. The already low incentives to invest in operational nature conservation would be further reduced. faz.net
11 million tonnes of food
ended up in waste in 2020. About two percent of the identified food waste was generated in agriculture, for example through sorting processes, storage or transport. Subsequent processing accounts for another 15 per cent, among other things due to damaged or defective packaging. In the retail sector, about 7 per cent of the identified food waste was caused by, for example, too large order quantities. In out-of-home catering, about 17 per cent of the waste was generated, for example by leftovers from buffets. However, by far the largest share of all food waste (6.5 million tonnes) was generated in private households (59 per cent). According to this, every German citizen produced just under 78 kg of food waste in their own household in 2020. umweltbundesamt.de
Habeck admits overcapacity: The Economics Minister wants to learn from past mistakes and prefer to build too many terminals for liquefied natural gas. „Yes, we are planning with overcapacity, that is what we are doing,“ Habeck said in response to a question from the audience, adding: „And I think that is also right,“ he said at an election campaign event. However, the three floating LNG terminals in Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbüttel and Lubmin have so far only built up an import infrastructure for twelve billion cubic metres of gas. In addition, eight billion cubic metres have been added in the Netherlands. „So there are still 35 missing,“ said Habeck. tagesspiegel.de
Solar energy is to be massively expanded: The solar industry and the German government want to cooperate more closely in the expansion of photovoltaics in order to achieve the targeted expansion goals. At the second photovoltaic summit in Berlin on Friday, there was widespread agreement that the construction and use of plants must be accelerated considerably in order to achieve the so-called renewable energy targets. To this end, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) presented a new solar strategy that comprises eleven fields of action, including facilitations for the installation of ground-mounted and roof-mounted systems. faz.net
Climate activists visit Volker Wissing: Anti-aggression training for drivers was not a demand of the representatives of the Last Generation, said climate activist Aimée van Balen. The group met with Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) for a discussion on Tuesday. Activist Lea Bonasera described the meeting as „humanly respectful and extremely productive“. The dialogue was originally scheduled for one hour, but ended up lasting almost two hours. The Last Generation delegation particularly addressed the fact that a pure change of drive from combustion to electric cars is not enough, but that „we need a real change of transport“, Bonasera explained afterwards. The climate activist group „Last Generation“ intends to continue protesting after its meeting with Federal Transport Minister Wissing. Before the meeting, Wissing had distanced himself from the activists. taz.de , dlf.de
Earth overload reached last Thursday: Already last Thursday, the Earth’s natural resources available for this year would be used up if all people lived like those in Germany. Three Earths would be needed if all countries consumed as many natural resources and produced as many emissions per inhabitant as the Federal Republic of Germany, the environmental organisation Germanwatch announced. „Two thirds of the year we live ecologically on credit,“ it says in its press release. The Earth Overload Day date is calculated annually by the Global Footprint Network, a think tank based in the USA and Switzerland. The day is given for individual countries as well as for the entire planet. n-tv.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Nachhaltigkeit im Unternehmen
A guide from practice for practice
Doing business sustainably is currently one of the biggest challenges facing companies – not only are the requirements of governments and the EU constantly increasing, but the large retail chains are also demanding proof from their suppliers of care in the supply chain and climate protection.Anyone who wants to act sustainably encounters a variety of hurdles, from unfamiliar technical terms to an extremely differentiated and extensive range of tasks. If a company lacks the necessary expertise, there is a great danger of losing the overview.
This book provides a remedy: it briefly describes the most important sustainability topics from climate protection to sustainability in the supply chain to sustainability marketing. Step-by-step instructions provide quick orientation for implementation. Effort estimates and clarification of whether specialist support is needed round off the chapters, and valuable practical examples from committed companies supplement the theory. The
Ulmer Initiativkreis nachhaltige Wirtschaftsentwicklung e. V. (unw) has been working with its member companies since 1993 to promote sustainable economic development and has achieved a great deal in the region. We would like to pass on the wealth of experience we have gained with this book. oekom.de
Scholz: Pledge of two billion for the Green Climate Fund. stern.de
CDU vs. Greens: How Merz is putting the brakes on Habeck, the climate advocate. spiegel.de
Green power for glyphosate: Bayer AG closes mega energy deal in the USA. handelsblatt.com
Power grids too weak: Vonovia cannot put heat pumps into operation. welt.de
Green energy under every city: Wastewater can supply twelve million people with heat. n-tv.de
Because of nepotism in the BMWK: Dena chief post will probably be reassigned. zdf.de
Copper shortage: The world is producing too little metal for the energy turnaround. focus.de
Luisa Neubauer: Chancellor never made climate policy a top priority. fair-economics.de
Viessmann deal: This is how the historic sale of the heat pump business went down. handelsblatt.com
Focus on liquefied natural gas: What’s behind the global LNG boom. klimareporter.de
The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Are men to blame for the climate crisis?
The big SUV or lots of meat: there are many examples of a climate-damaging lifestyle. Men in particular should behave accordingly. However, it is not as black and white as this simple statement „men live more climate-damaging lives“ would suggest.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Federal government acts bigoted and Janus-faced
by Petra Pinzler
The journalist Petra Pinzler is harsh on German climate policy: Chancellor Scholz is calling for more climate protection internationally, while at home he is letting the climate protection law slide. This leaves a fatal impression in other countries.
Chancellor Scholz, it shows time and again, is a very docile student of Angela Merkel. Merkel had the reputation of being a climate chancellor during her 16 years in government. Today, on the other hand, it is largely undisputed that one of her major failures was in climate policy. Nevertheless, this has not harmed her image for a long time – and for one reason: Merkel has almost always made bella figura at international conferences. She was on the side of those who demanded more ambition and, when in doubt, also provided money for international pots. This strengthened her global reputation, which in turn helped her at home. That is exactly what Scholz is trying to do now. At the Petersberg Dialogue, he has just announced that he will provide two billion euros for the Green Climate Fund, and he has called for higher expansion targets for renewables.
Both are good and both are right. The only problem is that Merkel’s method seems rather embarrassing today. Or more specifically: How can Scholz, without blushing, call for more climate protection internationally, while in this country he is letting the climate protection law slide and – even worse – advising his transport minister to ignore the law, i.e. to dawdle on climate protection, and thus violate the law?
Much has been written about the national failure of the traffic lights to save CO2 – less well known is how fatal their duplicity is internationally. Because worldwide, of course, Germany’s actions are perceived just as much as the Chancellor’s speeches. deutschlandfunk.de
Fewer and fewer children can ride a bicycle: Fewer and fewer schoolchildren in Lower Saxony can ride a bicycle. This has been pointed out by the Landesverkehrswacht and the Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrrad-Club (ADFC). This is a nationwide phenomenon, as studies have shown. It is not new, but it is getting worse and worse. One of the main reasons is the lack of exercise among children, says Susanne Osing, who is responsible for the kindergarten and primary school sector at the Landesverkehrswacht. Only through exercise can children learn to assess their bodies and become confident in their movements – and thus ultimately become safe cyclists. However, there are no exact figures on the decline of young cyclists. However, the development can clearly be observed in the annual cycle training in the fourth classes, said Osing. stern.de
CO2 reduction in logistics: How AI and augmented reality make goods transport more efficient: The goods transport sector is one of the largest CO2 emitters worldwide. Companies and politicians find it difficult to take effective measures to make this sector more environmentally friendly. Yet, thanks to intelligent digitalisation and the latest technology, enormous potentials for CO2 reduction and cost savings can be raised immediately and without expensive investments. ingenieur.de
Remanufacturing for e-bikes: More and more people are riding electric bikes. But when something breaks on the motor, there are often no spare parts – the entire e-bike motor is replaced. But there is another way, as a research project by Fraunhofer IPA has now proven: 3D printing can be used to produce spare parts for motor components that are barely inferior to the originals. This „remanufacturing“ saves raw materials, energy and money and promotes the circular economy. In order to give companies an understanding of the possibilities and practical implementation, the Fraunhofer IPA has initiated the „RemanLab“ – a kind of learning factory in which knowledge is imparted on the concrete object. wissenschaft.de
Federal Cabinet approves draft law on motorway expansion: According to Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, the federal states agree with most of the motorway projects. Only Hesse apparently needs more review time. zeit.de
Mobility: High-performance computers control cars of the future: The next generations of vehicles will be increasingly automated and networked in order to move more and more autonomously in road traffic and gradually relieve drivers. This requires enormous computing power, which only the most powerful computer systems can provide – whether in the vehicles themselves, along the roads or in the higher-level data centres. Thus, in addition to internal communication systems and those connected to the outside world, the vehicles need a central computer. This in turn consists of subcomponents that have to carry out demanding calculations, process huge amounts of data and achieve maximum reliability. kit.edu
Thanks to the 49-euro ticket: Germany is now in fourth place in the Greenpeace ranking on public transport: The environmental organisation has compared prices and design of public transport tickets in Europe. Complicated tariffs and high prices hinder the use of public transport in most European countries, according to a study by the environmental organisation Greenpeace. This is the result of a country ranking published by Greenpeace in Berlin on Thursday. tagesspiegel.de , greenpeace.de
„Counterproductive“ statements: Hydrogen industry comes down hard on Vestager: The Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, was sharply criticised by the European hydrogen lobby group Hydrogen Europe. Previously, the Dane had been critical of hydrogen. Hydrogen is seen by many as a key technology for the decarbonisation of Europe. Advocates expect hydrogen to play an important role in the economy of the future. The gas is particularly sought after in steel production and as a chemical feedstock. A future European hydrogen equipment industry producing electrolysers and related products was declared a top priority in Brussels. This led to initiatives such as the EU Hydrogen Strategy, the Hydrogen Bank and inclusion in the „green industrial plan“. On 25 April, state aid commissioner Vestager told the Danish magazine Finans that she would not approve state aid for hydrogen. „Hydrogen is not part of the programme. That is because it is very expensive to transport,“ she stressed. Hydrogen is considered difficult to transport because of its relatively low energy density. Therefore, the risk of hydrogen producers moving to the US is limited, even though very advantageous tax breaks are offered there, she said. „If you want to be present on the European market, the risk of moving production to the US is not very high,“ she added. These statements apparently struck a nerve in Brussels, where the lobby group Hydrogen Europe is based. Vestager „is about to do significant damage to the European hydrogen sector“, warned the lobby group’s executive director, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, in a letter addressed to her office. euractiv.de
Green hydrogen: Underestimated storage medium for wind power? Renewable energies still come with a disadvantage: they cannot be stored sufficiently with today’s methods. Too few storage facilities and methods are available. This could change with green hydrogen as a storage medium for wind power. In the „OffsH2ore“ project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and its partners developed a concept for generating hydrogen directly at sea. According to Fraunhofer ISE, the production of hydrogen with the help of electrolysis using offshore wind energy would not only be technically but also economically feasible. The researchers not only focused on the feasibility of hydrogen production, but also developed a concept for how the gaseous hydrogen should reach land. The results suggest that wind energy could in future be stored in offshore plants in the form of green hydrogen. inside-digital.de
Industry association: Germany will have to rely mainly on imports: According to experts and the German government, Spain will become one of the most important suppliers of green hydrogen to Germany in the coming years. The hydrogen, produced from renewable energies such as wind and solar, will primarily enable the decarbonisation of industry and certain areas of the transport sector, as the industry association Zukunft Gas explained on Friday. The demand in Germany is huge. Experts predict that at least 1.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen will be needed annually by 2030. Such quantities cannot be produced exclusively in Germany. „In the long term, considerable quantities of hydrogen will have to be imported to Germany, as the production of green hydrogen in Germany is naturally limited,“ the ministry wrote in response to a query. About 50 to 70 percent of the quantities needed in the future will have to come from abroad, the ministry estimates. faz.net
The US truck industry is in hydrogen fever: US regulations seal the end of diesel trucks. On the long haul, the industry is betting on hydrogen trucks. The technology often comes from Germany – the big money beckons in the USA. handelsblatt.com
Scholz talks hydrogen imports in Kenya: On the second day of his Africa trip, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanked Kenya for its efforts in the fight against climate change. „Kenya is an inspiring climate champion,“ Scholz said on Friday after meeting with William Ruto, the president of the East African country. The Germans have high hopes for the development of green hydrogen in particular as an antidote to energy shortages. Kenya, with its vast land and easy access to wind and solar energy, could become one of the central producers here. Kenya wants to obtain all its electricity from renewable energies as early as 2030. Head of State Ruto underlined his commitment to climate protection by announcing his intention to join the international climate club. zdf.de
Study: Ammonia cracker realistic and safe method for large-scale hydrogen imports: Much of the hydrogen needed in north-western Europe is imported, including in the form of ammonia, which is easier to transport than hydrogen. As a rule of thumb, one million tonnes of green hydrogen can help reduce CO2 emissions by about ten million tonnes.a study by Fluor shows that it is technically and economically feasible to safely convert ammonia into one million tonnes of hydrogen per year using a large-scale cracker. windkraft-journal.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Federal government wants to improve fire protection for animals: The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) plans to amend the animal protection regulations with the aim of improving fire protection in housing facilities. According to an answer (20/6556) of the Federal Government to a small question (20/6306) of the parliamentary group Die Linke, this will reduce the risk of fires in large animal facilities. The question of fire protection concepts is covered by the building code, for which the Länder are responsible, and fire protection requirements regarding fire walls, escape and rescue routes and the fire resistance of building components are regulated in the building codes of the Länder. However, the model building code served as a template for the building codes of the Länder, and according to it, buildings had to be arranged, erected, altered and maintained in such a way that the development of fire and the spread of fire and smoke was prevented and that in the event of a fire the rescue of people and animals as well as effective extinguishing work were possible. The building supervisory authority decides on the necessity of special requirements. The review and assessment of whether the existing requirements are met on site in individual cases is also the responsibility of the authorities of the Länder.
The timing of doing this difficult building energy law now in this spring, that is right. At most, one could say that it could have been earlier, but not later, no way. And it couldn’t have been earlier, because – as you mentioned – last year everyone was up to their eyeballs trying to save Germany from a serious energy crisis. And the communication, of course, self-critically, it must be said, did not succeed in the first wave in sufficiently clearly rejecting the importance, but also the social flanking and also the false insinuations. It is still called a heating ban – yes, what kind of nonsense is that?! Nobody wants to ban heating, on the contrary!
Robert Habeck, Bundeswirtschaftsminister… and tearing out functioning heating systems from the boiler room – it was not sufficiently successful to say that it was not in there at all. But the difficulty of the debate is also rooted in the matter. Even with perfect communication – which, of course, no one can guarantee – this law – and there will be others – will always lead to – and he wants to emphasise this – justified social questions.
That was also right and important. He had already said that we have too little discussion about what the abstract resolutions – we want to be climate-neutral by 2045, everyone thinks that’s great, everyone says it’s best to go even faster – mean in concrete terms. And there is a consequence and we have to make a decision: Do we just want to carry the resolutions before us like a monstrance, but not work for them to become reality, or do we work for them? deutschlandfunk.de
Scholz wants to admit African Union to the G20: South Africa is so far the only African country to be a member of the G20. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also wants to create a seat for the African Union. This, he said, was dictated by „respect for the continent“. The Chancellor expressed optimism that the G20 will decide in favour of AU membership in the foreseeable future. „I have held many talks and have the feeling that there is broad, growing support for this,“ Scholz said after talks with AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki. He was „very firmly convinced“ that the AU could be admitted soon. spiegel.de
Bundeswehr mission in Niger decided: The EU is planning a new mission in Niger. Now the Bundestag has also given the green light for German participation. Niger is the neighbouring country of Mali, where a deployment ends. zdf.de
Sahel: Germany wants to step up engagement: The Bundeswehr will withdraw from Mali. But the end of the military deployment is to be the beginning of a larger development strategy for the entire Sahel region. dw.vom
More than 100 dead after heavy rains in Rwanda and Uganda: Rescue teams are deployed in the affected areas in the north, south and west of the country and many people are being brought to safety, the office of President Paul Kagame announced. The rains began last week, triggering floods and landslides in the west and north of Rwanda. Uganda has also been raining heavily for days. At least three people drowned last week after a river burst its banks in the remote district of Rukungiri. zeit.de
UN and USA suspend food deliveries to Tigray: In Tigray, there are indications that aid supplies have been diverted into dark channels. Therefore, the UN World Food Programme and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have stopped their food deliveries there for the time being. dw.com
Benin bronzes in private hands: The return of Benin bronzes from Germany to Nigeria is causing quite a stir. The Federal Foreign Office is now responding to public criticism. The point of contention: contrary to other assumptions, the collection will apparently become private property. The Federal Foreign Office sees the responsibility for the Benin bronzes after their return to Nigeria in the African country. „With whom the returned bronzes will remain, which Nigerian institutions and persons will be involved, and where the responsibility for preservation as well as making them accessible lies, are questions that will be decided in Nigeria,“ the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said on Sunday. „There were no conditions attached to the return of the bronzes to Nigeria.“ Earlier, it was revealed that outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari had transferred the precious bronzes to the Oba as head of the Kingdom of Benin. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and State Minister for Culture Claudia Roth (both Greens) had initially returned 20 valuable Benin bronzes at the end of 2022. More than 1100 of the works from the palace of the then Kingdom of Benin, which today belongs to Nigeria, were previously in around 20 German museums. The objects, which are made of ivory and other materials in addition to bronze, mostly come from British looting in 1897. focus.de
Despite protection obligation: Europe’s last primeval forests continue to disappear: The last primeval forests are threatened in many parts of the world, including in Europe. In most European countries, there are only a few primeval forests, which are also usually small and isolated. An international team of researchers now warns in a commentary published in Science that the loss of Europe’s last primeval forests is continuing unabated, despite the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 mandating their protection. „These forests are crucial for the conservation of biodiversity. Many endangered species depend on them, including lynx and bears, as well as a variety of beetles and fungi,“ Dr Mikoláš, lead author of the study from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, explains. „They store large amounts of carbon and therefore contribute to the fight against climate change. Despite their importance, we are currently failing to adequately protect this unique natural heritage.“ fair-economics.com
The future of the village – A way of life under criticism: Surveys confirm again and again: More than half of Germans would like to live in the countryside. Climate change, pandemics, home office – the urge to get outside is growing. Every day, more than 50 hectares of land are newly designated as settlement and transport areas. If half of this is considered sealed – with negative effects on the climate and the flora and fauna. In the countryside, many municipalities are engaged in a bitter competition. They try to lure companies to their generously established industrial estates or woo new citizens with cheap building land. Live in the village – work in the city. For many this is a dream, but living between two worlds is not sustainable. What does it cost nature? And society? How sustainable is life in the countryside? deutschlandfunkkultur.de
More solar from the balcony: Interest in solar energy has risen sharply since the beginning of the energy crisis and especially with the Ukraine war. Last year, 7,200 megawatts of new photovoltaic capacity were created in Germany, almost as much as in the record years 2010 to 2012. Among private individuals, those with their own homes have the advantage here, but people can also go solar themselves in rented flats with so-called balcony solar systems. Consumer protection organisations are now calling for the installation of these devices to be made much easier in order to facilitate the switch to green electricity and reduce electricity costs. The chances that the federal government with traffic lights will meet these demands have improved. klimareporter.de
Everything organic: Packaging to eat along. ingenieur.de
„It’s an ecosystem“: Mysterious blue animals are now cavorting in the great Pacific rubbish vortex. focus.de
Climate crisis and science: There are extreme events that no climate model can simulate. spektrum.de
9 May 2023
Baltic Offshore Wind Forum
Energy security in the context of a transformed geopolitical landscape in Europe. dena.de
Hybrid expert discussion:
Green lead markets – the lever for climate neutrality? gruene-bundestag.de
Speech by Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Germany’s development policy must grow with new challenges: Russia’s war against Ukraine is shaking the basic assumptions of international politics. Germany will play an important role in supporting the reconstruction of Ukraine; engagement in the Sahel is also to be continued. In addition, conflicts affect energy partnerships and the pursuit of climate neutrality. The views and development perspectives of the Global South are also at stake. Innovative approaches such as feminist development policy are becoming increasingly important. Finally, from a development policy perspective, „Zeitenwende“ raises the question of what role fair partnerships, networks and international cooperation should play. dgap.org
10 May 2023
Public Hearing of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Building
Time: Wednesday, 10 May 2023 , 6.15 p.m.
Place: Paul-Löbe-Haus, meeting room E 700
The Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development addresses the topic of „Sustainable Building“ in a public expert discussion
Detailed information on the session can be found on the Bundestag website:
EU plans for chat control: goodbye to civil rights
Interior Minister Faeser (SPD) wants to have chats on the internet monitored across the board in future as part of a planned EU law. Civil rights activists are up in arms. The red-yellow-green coalition is currently arguing about a planned EU law that would undermine civil rights like hardly any regulation in the IT sector before. It is about the „Regulation on the Prevention and Combating of Sexual Abuse of Children“ (Child Sexual Abuse Regulation, CSA-VO). On one side are the hardliners from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, led by Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). On the other side, the civil rights faction in the FDP is up in arms. And in between is Federal Minister of Digital Affairs Volker Wissing (FDP), who, as in the case of the internal combustion engine phase-out, could be preparing to run afoul of the EU Commission. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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