Earth Hour on Saturday: Last Saturday, the lights went out for one hour in countless cities around the world at 8:30 pm. In Germany alone, 544 municipalities took part. Four large screens at Pariser Platz in Berlin showed the destruction caused by climate change before 8:30 pm. Earth Hour is the largest global climate and environmental protection campaign. Since 2007, millions of people all over the world have been turning off their lights at 8.30 p.m. local time on a specific day in March, thus setting an example for the protection of the planet. Many public buildings are also darkened. In 2007, Earth Hour began as a local action by switching off the lights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. pnp.de, deutschlandfunkkultur.de , wwf.de
Biden invites Putin and Xi to virtual climate summit: The USA wants to show the flag on climate protection. US President Joe Biden wants to show that his country is once again present internationally on environmental issues. And he is not forgetting his counterparts from Beijing and Moscow. According to the White House, the summit is intended to underline the urgency of stronger measures for climate protection and their economic benefits. The virtual summit is scheduled to take place on 23 and 24 April. 40 heads of state and government, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been invited. zeit.de, tagesanzeiger.ch
Two thirds of the riverine floodplains are not available as floodplains during floods.
This is the result of the Floodplain Status Report 2021, which Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Prof. Dr Beate Jessel, President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, presented today. This second floodplain status report since 2009 documents the condition of the floodplains on Germany’s rivers, the loss of floodplains and the status of floodplain restoration. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: „The Floodplain Status Report shows how urgent it is to restore floodplains and give rivers more space again. bmu.de
Largest floating solar farm goes into operation: A huge solar farm has recently been floating on the Strait of Johor, a strait between Singapore and Malaysia. The construction has a capacity of five MW and is one of the largest in the world. Since the island state of Singapore is heavily built-up, it was necessary to turn to the sea. futurezone.at
Inadmissible climate lawsuit against the EU: Last week, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that a climate lawsuit against the EU is inadmissible. About two years ago, eleven families had filed the lawsuit in Luxembourg. They wanted to prevent an EU legislative package from 2018, which aimed to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent (compared to 1990) by 2030, because the 36 people saw their fundamental rights violated. What was required, they said, was a reduction of climate gases by at least 50 to 60 per cent. The complaint was not even examined in terms of content. taz.de
Criticism of Dena over climate study: The federally owned German Energy Agency (DENA) involves companies in the preparation of a climate study – in exchange for money. Lobbycontrol sees this as crossing a line and points to more than 80 companies and associations that are sponsors of the study. Among them are companies like RWE, Thyssengas, Open Grid Europe or Daimler, whose business models are based on fossil fuels. A DENA spokeswoman explained that the guiding principle of the study was to involve partners – in order to benefit from „their expertise, market knowledge and assessments of current and possible, future developments“. sueddeutsche.de, lobbycontrol.de
Agriculture ministers of the federal states: The federal and state agriculture ministers have agreed on the EU agricultural reform. Among other things, 25 percent of direct aid to farmers will be linked to environmental conditions in future. Up to now, funds have been allocated purely according to the size of the area. Federal Agriculture Minister Klöckner spoke of a realistic compromise. The Greens also praised it. deutschlandfunk.de
USA increases oil imports from Russia – but continues to fight Nord Stream 2: US Secretary of State Blinken has reiterated opposition to the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. The USA is less strict on its own imports of raw materials. handelsblatt.com
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Wider das System Auto – Warum wir eine nachhaltige Mobilität brauchen
Our everyday life in public space, our understanding of space and time and ultimately a large part of our social processes are inconceivable without the permanent presence of countless automobiles. The topic of cars is often an emotional one, which is why a factual debate is often not easily possible. Besides, the automobile industry is very influential, many jobs depend directly and indirectly on the industry. It is also clear that car traffic has enormous disadvantages for people, animals and nature. The author Tobias Tannenhauer examines the topic of the automobile, its side effects and its strong influence on society as a whole. He questions the supposed economic power of the industry and presents approaches for a life without cars
France and Eastern countries: Hold on to nuclear energy. deutschlandfunk.de
Bundesrat: Länder push for reform of energy levies. energate-messenger.de
EU Ombudsman Emily O‚Reilly: Reprimand for EU Commission for lack of sustainability in Mercosur trade pact oe24.at
Coronavirus: Masks cloak the environment. deutschlandfunknova.de
Combined heat and power plants: Must be hydrogen-ready. stadt-und-werk.de
The seventeeen goals magazine reports inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Car industry wants to raise climate targets: But this will not be possible without a quid pro quo from politicians. Across the entire fleet, this figure is to be halved by the end of the decade. The previous target of 37.5 per cent is only two years old, said BMW boss Oliver Zipse, who is also president of the European manufacturers‘ association ACEA. „But the association has realised that there have to be ambitious targets to stop climate change. “ In return, carmakers expect help and support in building the charging infrastructure. handelsblatt.com
Train beats car and plane in climate-friendly travel: Travelling by train remains the most environmentally and climate-friendly way to travel in Europe. Measured in terms of the greenhouse gases produced, the train is preferable to the plane or car among motorised modes of transport, the EU’s environmental agency EEA announced. pnn.de
Expert opinion: Jobs and turnover with Power-to-X, Large-scale production of more electricity-based, synthetic energy sources: This is what representatives of the energy industry are calling for in an expert report. It would have positive effects on the environment and the economy. automobil-industrie.vogel.de
Survey: Autonomous cars mean benefits for climate and traffic flow. it-daily.net
Minimum quota for the procurement of environmentally friendly commercial vehicles: To implement an EU directive „to support low-emission mobility“, the German government has presented a draft law (19/27657). The focus of the directive is the effort to promote a demand impulse of „clean“, i.e. low-emission and emission-free, road vehicles and thus to reduce emissions in the transport sector, the draft states. By contributing to the reduction of CO2 and air pollutant emissions, the political goals in the areas of environmental and climate protection would be strengthened. At the same time, the public administration would fulfil its exemplary function. In addition, the promotion of a broader demand for clean road vehicles should contribute to strengthening competitiveness and growth in the transport sector.
More investment in cycle paths and rail: The federal government has presented a bill „to amend the Federal Highway Act and the Railway and Road Crossings Act“ (19/27660). According to the bill, investments in cycling infrastructure and in the rail network are to be accelerated by relieving municipalities of financing contributions under the Federal Highway Act and the Railway Crossings Act. To this end, according to the federal government, the bill contains further regulations to simplify administrative procedures in the handling of construction measures at railway crossings.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
FDP proposal to ramp up hydrogen: The FDP parliamentary group calls on the federal government to include hydrogen in the general definition of gases in the energy industry law. When building a hydrogen economy, a strict separation of gas and hydrogen infrastructure must be avoided, the MPs further explain in a motion (19/27819). All operators of hydrogen networks would have to be subject to regulation. In justification, they say, hydrogen must be thought of holistically. There is a unique opportunity to combine climate protection and prosperity and to expand Germany’s competitiveness as a technology and industrial location. „Such a fundamental change cannot begin with the goal, but must be tackled step by step.“
Education as the key to sustainable development: Within the framework of a virtual symposium, the members of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development exchanged views with representatives of various youth organisations on Wednesday evening on the topic of „Sustainability from a Youth Perspective“. In the run-up to the meeting, the nine young people had discussed in two working groups the issue of „Technical innovations of and for tomorrow“, moderated by Kai Whittaker (CDU/CSU) and Christoph Hoffmann (FDP), and the issue of „Resource conservation, climate and environmental protection“, moderated by Michael Thews (SPD) and Bettina Hoffmann (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen). bundestag.de
Future of free-range and wild animal husbandry: In a motion (19/27834), the parliamentary group Die Linke calls for a „round table to secure the future of free-range and grazing animal husbandry“. According to the Left Party, animal owners, scientists, veterinarians, representatives of nature conservation associations and other stakeholders should participate in this round table.
End chick-killing: The FDP wants to „end chick-killing across Europe“ and opposes a „national go-it-alone“ on this issue. In a motion (19/27816), the Liberals call on the federal government to push for the creation of a legal framework for the European Economic Area at EU level, which, among other things, „lays down a binding ban on the killing of chicks as well as the killing of embryos in the egg as close as possible to the start of hatching“.
Tax incentives for building refurbishment passed: In its meeting on Wednesday, the Finance Committee passed the ordinance amending the Energy Refurbishment Measures Ordinance (19/26559). With this, changes in direct subsidies are also applied to tax incentives. The ordinance provides for tax incentives for energy-efficiency measures of up to 40,000 euros, spread over three years. It implements the Building Energy Act, which came into force in November 2020.
Collection rate of electrical and electronic equipment should be increased: The collection rate for electrical and electronic equipment must be increased and the illegal export of such waste equipment abroad should be stopped. There was broad agreement among the experts on these two points at a public hearing in the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety last Wednesday. However, the experts at the meeting, chaired by Committee Vice-Chair Michael Thews (SPD), disagreed on the way to achieve these goals. The subject of the hearing was the draft of a first law to amend the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (19/26971). This pursues the goal of achieving the collection rate set by the EU of at least 65 per cent of the average electrical and electronic equipment put on the market in the three previous years. In 2018, this rate in Germany was only 43.1 per cent. As a measure to increase the rate, the draft law stipulates that in future all food retailers with a sales area of at least 800 square metres that sell electrical or electronic equipment several times a year will be obliged to take back such equipment.
Question on the implementation of the Supply Chain Act: The FDP parliamentary group has submitted a minor question (19/27707) on the clarification of terms and the practical implementation of the Supply Chain Act planned by the Federal Government. Among other things, it would like to know from the Federal Government which criteria define the term „adequacy“ in the section „reasonable manner of acting that complies with due diligence obligations“ (paragraph 3(2)) in relation to the aforementioned factor „type and scope of the company’s business activity“. Furthermore, the Federal Government should answer with which measures it ensures preconditions for a legally secure planning and design of due diligence processes against the background of unclear legal terms and requirements for companies.
„Our studies show that if the climate protection goals are implemented, the demand for gas will decrease. The pipeline is unnecessary in energy terms, expensive and contradicts the goals of the energy transition, climate protection and the diversification of natural gas supplies. The project should never have been started.
Professor Claudia Kemfert, Head of the Department of Energy, Transport and Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research and Professor at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, ….if we seriously wanted to achieve the climate goals, we would need a natural gas phase-out by 2038 at the latest, i.e. parallel to the coal phase-out. Gas is not a bridge to nowhere. Instead of bridging technologies, we need technologies of the future, namely renewable energies. Gas-fired power plants produce less CO2 emissions than coal-fired power plants. But that is only half the story. In the case of natural gas, it is also production and transport that worsen the climate balance. The problem here is not carbon dioxide, but methane. During extraction, some of it simply escapes into the atmosphere. But methane also escapes during transport, at the pipeline valves and through leaks. This effect has long been underestimated, partly because it is difficult to measure. dw.com
Suez Canal: Tugboats cannot get container ship free in Suez Canal Ever Given is blockading one of the world’s most important trade routes. The blockade could last for weeks. The owners and insurers are facing claims in the millions. derstandard.at
Ivory Coast: For the second time in a short time, the head of government has died in Ivory Coast. This makes many fear for the internal peace in the West African country. faz.net
Eritrea: EU imposes sanctions. spiegel.de
Corona vaccination start in Africa: Vaccination rate in the per thousand range. In most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, vaccination against Covid-19 is now underway. But the broad mass of the population does not benefit. taz.de
Namibia: „Fridays for Future“ in Africa raises the hue and cry against oil exploration in the natural paradise on the Okavango. deutschlandfunk.de
Private companies for reform partnership in Africa: According to the Federal Government, no further countries have been included in the „G20 Compact with Africa“ initiative (CwA) since April 2020 and no further reform partnerships have been concluded within the framework of the Marshall Plan with Africa. However, in addition to the intergovernmental reform partnerships, additional development policy initiatives and instruments for the even closer involvement of private enterprises have been created, she writes in an answer (19/27540) to a minor question (19/26672) of the FDP parliamentary group. According to the Federal Government, the reform partnerships are the bilateral contribution to the implementation of the Compact with Africa Initiative (CwA). In this context, reform-minded partner countries are supported with funds from intergovernmental development cooperation (DC) to improve the framework conditions for job-creating investments by private enterprises on the ground. „Direct financial participation by private enterprises in intergovernmental cooperation projects financed from the budget title for bilateral financial and technical cooperation is not envisaged in principle,“ emphasises the German government. Nevertheless, companies contribute directly to the implementation of projects within the framework of the usual tendering process for supplies and services.
Kenya: Wants to close large refugee camps. Almost half a million people live in the two camps Dadaab and Kakuma, some of them for many years. Now the Kenyan government wants to close the camps at short notice. dw.com
Congo: Election with predetermined outcome? Presidential elections will be held in the Republic of Congo this Sunday. Most citizens know only one head of state: Denis Sassou-Nguesso. And there is no change in sight. dw.com
Niger: There is currently a state power vacuum in Niger. The people in the country are at the mercy of Islamist terror. taz.de
The new magazine April / May 2021 has been published.
The world is moving closer together: When Indians or Chinese eat more meat and consume more oil, food and petrol become more expensive in our country. Conversely, we influence living conditions in Africa, Asia and Latin America with our consumption, our exports and our policies. Such interactions are crucial for the fight against poverty, for environmental and climate protection and for securing peace.
welt-sichten helps to better understand the interrelationships – whether printed as a magazine or online with the website www.welt-sichten.org. The spectrum of topics ranges from the global economy and development policy to climate change and environmental protection to peace issues and the role of religions.
Every month, the magazine offers analyses, reports, interviews and short reports, book and film tips. Each issue has a thematic focus. Authors from all over the world have their say, and we take up controversial debates in discussions and commentaries. welt-sichten.org
How we will work in the future: Flexibility and individuality will determine the future of work. The Corona pandemic has accelerated this development. Düsseldorf labour scientists have now developed concrete theses on the organisation of working time. One conclusion: more and more employees want to organise their place, time and tasks of their job independently and thus better balance work and private life. businessinsider.de
Being able to travel with a clear conscience: We can and want to travel again after the lockdown. One thing is becoming clear: more and more people want to pay attention to sustainability aspects when planning their holiday trips. In addition to ecological concerns, such as offsetting the CO2 emissions of a flight, it is above all social concerns that are close to travellers‘ hearts. Hardly anyone wants to stay in an accommodation where the employees are treated badly or spend the money where it does not reach the local people. gexsi.com
Old fruit varieties are being lost: Thousands of fruit varieties are in danger of being lost. An association in Austria is working to save them. Because the biodiversity of apples offered in supermarkets is declining. They can be traced back to six original varieties. But of apples alone, there are an estimated 5000 varieties in the German-speaking world. spektrum.de
Advertising industry: Coalition of providers wants climate-neutral advertising. horizont.net
20th anniversary of the German Institute for Human Rights: Reforms urged. bundestag.de
Serial building in Germany: Building industry to become greener, more digital, more sustainable. allgemeinebauzeitung.de
Future of the city: After the pandemic, metropolises must score with quality of life to attract people. handelsblatt.com
Poland: No future for coal. deutschlandfunkkultur.de
Conflicts: Number of wars rises to 21 worldwide welt-sichten.org
The energy transition is a central building block for a secure, environmentally compatible and economic future. But it is not only a task for politics and business. As an individual, you can effectively contribute to the energy transition in your personal life. The task of the creative competition is for participants to develop solutions for their personal energy transition. For your own concept, you have to choose between one of the following five areas. Your goal should be to optimise one of these areas:
- Smart Living
The submission should answer how the energy transition can be improved in the selected area and also how your idea influences the personal energy transition of the individual. Participation is possible from 15.03 to 30.05. Prize money awaits the winners. net4energy.com
Electric scooter riders are most likely to have an accident while drunk: They have been controversial since their introduction. The e-scooters that drive through many German metropolises, park on the footpaths and are also otherwise unpopular obstacles. Now it is official. An e-scooter accident is typically caused by a younger drunk person who loses control while driving fast. Last year, there were 2155 accidents involving electric stand-up scooters in Germany in which people were injured. Five people were killed, 386 were seriously injured and 1907 were slightly injured. More than 80 per cent of these casualties had been riding the e-scooters themselves, reports the Federal Statistical Office. For the first time, it presented accident figures for this type of transport, which has been approved for public road traffic in Germany since 15 June. The most frequent cause of accidents was driving under the influence of alcohol, at 18.3 per cent. In the same period, 7.1 per cent of cyclists involved in accidents were accused of this by the police, and 7.8 per cent of those who had an accident on a motorbike without a licence. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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