Climate change in the red for World Heritage: Almost 1.2 degrees warming

Dhe year 2020 is likely to be one of the three warmest since temperature records began in the middle of the 19th century, according to preliminary analyzes by the World Weather Organization (WMO) – and the previous decade the warmest ever. The six warmest years since the measurements began were all in the period since 2015. For Europe, the average temperature in the first ten months was even higher than ever before. The organization reported on Wednesday in its preliminary report on the state of the climate in 2020. The main cause of accelerated warming is the increase in greenhouse gases. A week ago, the WMO reported a new historical high for greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere for the past two years.

The current temperature forecasts relate to meteorological measurements from January to October. During these months the global average temperature was 1.11 to 1.23 degrees Celsius above the average for the years 1850 to 1900. The measurement results north of the Arctic Circle in Siberia were particularly drastic: the temperature there was more than five degrees above from January to October the average from 1981 to 2010. According to the WMO, the global temperature rise could temporarily exceed 1.5 degrees by 2024. Five years ago, in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the international community committed itself to limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees as possible. In the coming week everyone wants to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the climate protection agreement.

Climate change has meanwhile also become the greatest threat to world natural heritage sites worldwide. Global warming is a “high or very high threat” in a third of the areas, as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) also reported on Wednesday. In 2014 this was only the case for a quarter. The corona pandemic is also making itself felt, mostly negative, according to the IUCN. Without tourists, money for rangers in national parks would be lacking in many places and illegal activities flourished.

The Wadden Sea habitat on the North Sea is also one of the World Heritage Sites affected. The warming and rising sea levels endanger it as a breeding ground for migratory birds. The chances of survival of the world natural heritage are nevertheless good – if the ongoing conservation and protection measures are continued. The scientists are sounding the alarm at the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. The IUCN now assesses the prospects of survival as “critical”. The warming and acidification of the sea leads to the death of the corals.

to open

Climate change

Hot time
Image: AFP

In addition to Europe, according to the WMO, it was also very warm in the southwest of the United States, in western South America and in parts of Central America. Canada, parts of Brazil, northern India and southeast Australia, on the other hand, experienced cooler temperatures than average.

The mean global sea level has risen by an average of 3.3 millimeters per year since measurements began in 1993. A slight decline in 2020 – as in 2011 – is probably due to the natural climate phenomenon La Niña, but that does not change the long-term trend. During the La Niña months, more rain falls in tropical river areas than over the sea, which temporarily lowers the mean sea level globally. La Niña should still be felt until spring 2021, according to the WMO. Since 1993, sea levels have risen most sharply in the southern hemisphere east of Madagascar, New Zealand and South America.

One of the reasons for sea level rise is melting ice near the North and South Poles. Greenland lost around 152 gigatons (billion tons) of ice from September 2019 to August 2020. That was less than in 2019, when 329 gigatons melted. The WMO warns: “The Arctic is experiencing drastic changes as global temperatures rise. Since the mid-1980s, temperatures there have been rising at least twice as fast as the global mean. “

The Wadden Sea on the North Sea coast is also changing rapidly as a result of the warming.

The Wadden Sea on the North Sea coast is also changing rapidly as a result of the warming.

Image: dpa

In the Arctic, the extent of sea ice in July and October was lower than ever since the measurements began, according to the WMO. The minimum ice extent was 3.74 million square meters in September and was the second smallest (after 2012) that was ever measured. The floating ice of the Arctic does not contribute to sea level rise when it melts. However, the earth warms up faster if instead of ice, the light reflects, melts and dark water surfaces are exposed.

Sea levels are also rising because the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to excess energy in the earth system, a large part of which is absorbed by the oceans. The sea water becomes warmer and expands.

The hurricane season in the North Atlantic saw more severe storms this year than ever before. It usually ends on November 30th. Parts of Africa and Asia experienced heavy rain and flooding, including the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, as well as China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia. In contrast, northern Argentina, Paraguay and western Brazil experienced severe droughts in South America.


Climate change threatens around a third of the Unesco natural heritage (

The Wadden Sea is also affected by climate change.

The Wadden Sea is also affected by climate change.

Photo: dpa / Daniel Bockwoldt

Gland. Climate change has become the greatest threat to world natural heritage sites worldwide. Global warming is a “high or very high threat” in a third of the areas, as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) reported on Wednesday. In 2014 this was only the case for a quarter.

The Wadden Sea World Heritage Site on the North Sea is also one of the regions affected, with a “very high threat” from climate change. Warming and rising sea levels threaten it as a breeding ground for migratory birds. Nevertheless, the IUCN assesses the prospects for the survival of the Wadden Sea in the foreseeable future as »good« – if the ongoing conservation and protection measures are continued.

The UN cultural organization Unesco recognizes regions with unique nature that are worthy of preservation as world natural heritage. The IUCN has now examined the state of the world natural heritage for the third time after 2014 and 2017. Climate change is now affecting 83 of the current 252 sites. Three years ago there were 62, six years ago 35. There are many threats besides climate change, including tourism, deforestation and road construction. The IUCN also assesses the chances of survival of all sites according to four categories: “good”, “good with concerns”, “significant concerns” and “critical”.

The scientists are sounding the alarm at the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia. In terms of prospects of survival, it is now in the highest “critical” category. The warming and acidification of the sea leads to the death of the corals. The islands in the Gulf of California belonging to Mexico are also newly listed there. The Everglades National Park in Florida, the National Park on Lake Turkana in Kenya and the tropical rainforest on Sumatra in Indonesia were already in this category three years ago.

The Comoé National Park in Ivory Coast, on the other hand, is a success story. With better management and international help, the situation there has continuously improved since 2014. The national park has now moved up in the future prospects in the category “good, with concerns”. The Wulingyuan Landscape Park in China and the Giant’s Causeway, a five-kilometer-long dam in Northern Ireland, where thousands of basalt columns protrude from the water, have also improved.

The consequences of the corona pandemic are also noticeable in the world natural heritage. The absence of tourists has done some places good, but overall the negative effects outweigh the disadvantages, as the IUCN writes. Without tourists, there would be no money for rangers in national parks and illegal activities would flourish.

The IUCN is the world’s largest network of governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations. According to its own information, it has more than 1,400 members, including the WWF environmental foundation and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). Agencies / nd


New US Envoy for Climate John Kerry: The American Climate Czar

Trump leaves a mess in US climate policy, ex-Secretary of State John Kerry is now allowed to sweep him up. It won’t be easy.

Has the climate issue in its DNA: John Kerry Photo: reuters / susana vera

On the evening of December 12, 2015, John Kerry was sitting in the fully occupied “La Seine” room of the Paris conference center Le Bourget and switched on his table microphone. At the climate conference, the US Secretary of State thanks his French counterpart Laurent Fabius. Shortly before that, to the great cheer of those present, he enforced the Paris Agreement. Then Kerry with the carefully teased gray hair, in a blue suit, white shirt and red tie, praises the delegations from 195 countries who found a compromise in two weeks of tough negotiations: “There was a spirit of collegiality,” he praises, “ the willingness not to repeat the mistakes of the past and a sense of the urgency of our task. “

Almost exactly five years later, John Kerry stands on a stage in Washington on Tuesday and says practically the same thing: Working together, time is pressing, just don’t make the old mistakes again. Again he is wearing a blue suit and white shirt. Only the tie is blue this time and the hair a little grayer. His friend, colleague and soon also boss Joe Biden has just introduced him as the US President’s new climate envoy. Kerry says, “No country can solve this problem on its own, not even the US,” he promises the Americans “millions of secure jobs,” and concludes, “Joe Biden trusts God and science to save creation.”

Kerry’s remarks last only four minutes, but they show the glitz and misery of US climate policy at the dawn of the Biden presidency. The new administration and John Kerry as their “climate tsar” recognize the climate crisis and make overcoming it one of their priorities; it focuses on science, economic growth, green jobs, technology and global collaboration. But Biden and Kerry also want to take the conservative US citizens with them – and they assume that the US will have a global leadership role in climate protection that no longer exists.

“On the first day in office” Joe Biden wants to rejoin the Paris Agreement that his predecessor left. But that only heals the legal wounds. Diplomat and climate protection activist John Kerry is now supposed to remove the mess that Donald Trump left in climate policy for four years: He has to end the political ice age around global warming. It won’t be easy.

Ein Klimachampion

But if anyone can do it, it is widely believed in the environmental community that it is John Kerry. The 76-year-old Yale lawyer “has the climate issue in his DNA,” says a European diplomat who has known Kerry for years. The head of the US environmental group EDF calls him “one of the most effective climate champions in the world”. And Varshini Prakash of the US Youth Climate Action Movement, Sunrise Movement, says: “Kerry believes in the importance of listening to young voices and making sure we are at the table – even if we don’t always agree.”

Kerry is considered a gentleman who knows the tricks of the political scene in Washington as well as the international stage. The Democratic US Senator for Massachusetts traveled with Al Gore to the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. In 2004, the 1.93 meter man with the always slightly swaying cowboy gang lost the presidential election against George W. Bush. In 2009 he failed with a law on CO2– Pricing in the USA. From 2013 to 2017 he was Secretary of State under Barack Obama. He negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, an old-school diplomat.

At the climate conference in Paris, Kerry worked with great dedication in front of and behind the scenes for a week. When Trump led the USA out of the Paris Agreement, Kerry founded the organization World War Zero in early 2019, with which politicians, military officials and actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson made public statements on climate policy. The martial rhetoric of tackling the climate problem “like the moon landing or the Second World War” was also chosen by Kerry when he was introduced as climate envoy.

Bidens Cabinet

The designated US President Joe Biden has determined key personal details. Antony Blinken, Biden’s former security advisor, is to become foreign minister. Jake Sullivan is set as National Security Advisor, which he was under Obama. Janet Yellen, former head of the US Federal Reserve, will head the Treasury. Ron Klain is to become Chief of Staff. The Senate has yet to approve the election of ministers.

Outgoing President

Contrary to all facts, Donald Trump continues to speak of election fraud. But he has announced that he will be leaving the White House if the electoral college appoints Biden as his successor in mid-December.

The “Climate Tsar” is facing enormous problems. First of all, the new administration has to fight the escalating corona crisis in the USA and stabilize the economy – how “green” the aid packages will be remains to be seen. Then the Trumpists systematically undermined the environmental agency EPA and the US State Department, which is responsible for climate policy, from within. And the US’s reputation as a global climate protector is at zero: for the second time, the US co-negotiated a climate agreement and then adopted it: first in 2001 from the Kyoto Protocol, then in 2020 from the Paris Agreement.

In order to polish up the US image, the US would have to quickly come up with a new and more ambitious climate plan. Then it would help if the US paid its bills. The country still owes the “Green Climate Fund” 2 billion dollars. Development groups and poor countries expect the US not only to meet its financial obligations, but perhaps also to cooperate in offsetting climate damage in poor countries or in debt relief. However, a Republican-dominated Senate will not want to know much about international agreements or new money for climate protection.

At least Biden wants to poke at home, not mess. With investments of 2 trillion US dollars, he wants to promote green energies, renovate 6 million buildings and massively expand local public transport in cities. He has promised that US electricity will be without CO by 20352 and to put the country on a course similar to the EU to be climate neutral by 2050.

In order to implement these grand plans, Biden plans to appoint a “climate coordinator” in the White House in December – Kerry’s counterpart for domestic politics. Kerry, on the other hand, gets a regular seat on the US National Security Council. The government will “treat the climate crisis as the most pressing national security threat that it is,” Kerry said.

Climate as a cross-cutting issue

“That shows the seriousness with which Biden and Kerry approach the issue,” said Greenpeace boss Jennifer Morgan. After all, the priorities of the Biden administration would be to fight the corona pandemic, the economic crisis, racism and the climate crisis.

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace-Chefin

“Europe must not wait for the USA, but must continue to put pressure on the Green Deal”

“Many causes are interrelated and need to be addressed together,” says Morgan, who worked for a long time for the Washington think tank WRI. “You have to establish the climate as a cross-cutting issue in foreign policy, including trade agreements, financial issues and the policies of the World Bank and the World Monetary Fund.”

But even more important for Morgan: “Kerry has to return to the negotiating table with humility.” The US is no longer leaders in climate protection, China and Europe have emancipated themselves. “Under no circumstances should Europe wait for the US, but must keep putting pressure on the Green Deal.”

For many observers, it is clear: the more ambitious climate protection happens in the US, the easier Kerry’s job abroad could become. China and India, for example, are apparently skeptical about the renewed change of course. There are no official reactions, not even from the UN.

After all, a change of course in the US would really make a difference. For the analyst group “Climate Action Tracker”, Biden’s plan to make the USA climate neutral by 2050 is a decisive step: “Together with China’s promise of CO2-Neutrality by 2060 and the plans of the EU, Japan and South Korea to be climate neutral by 2050, we are approaching a tipping point that brings the 1.5 degree target from the Paris Agreement within reach, ”it says.

A US Republican of all people is also cautiously optimistic. Bob Inglis sat in the US House of Representatives as a climate denier for South Carolina before he became a climate activist in his party. He sees the chance that Biden and Kerry could land with conservatives with the idea of ​​a CO2 tax: “A CO2 tax for imports at the border would be very helpful for the US industry,” he told taz. That would protect the economy against imports from China. Many of the climate investments such as new power grids or wind farms can also be labeled as “infrastructure aid” in order to get Republicans to approve.

“You only need a few votes in the Senate for such majorities,” says Inglis. And money from such a tax could help “pay the pensions of coal workers in Kentucky, for example” – where the powerful Senate spokesman, Mitch McConnell, has his base.

First, however, Biden and Kerry will probably bake small climate rolls, it is said from the European side. The new president wanted to convene a “conference of the leading nations” on the climate crisis in Washington “in the first hundred days”. “It won’t work, the sparrows will whistle from the rooftops,” says a diplomat. It is also not appropriate for the US to return as the leader. The informal MEF (“Major Economies Forum”) round, which the USA held in the climate talks after the Kyoto exit, was ended under Trump – the MoCA format with the EU, China and Canada took its place. “There will be some kind of informal round with the US again,” says the diplomat. “And it is also certain: the Americans will make a big show out of it.”


Andri Snær Magnason on the climate crisis. – Society

Humans act like gods, but cannot bear the consequences: Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason explains why it is so difficult to understand climate change.

Interview by

Kai Strittmatter

An autumn morning in the port of Copenhagen. The three-master lies there Active at anchor. A messy Andri Snær Magnason comes out of the cabin on deck, a toothbrush in one hand and a pot of coffee in the other. No, he didn’t sail here from Iceland, but he stayed here. The captain is a friend.


Time to pack up

BIn spite of all the ills that this epidemic year has wreaked, it has shown good timing. As soon as the curfew was decided in spring, the cloud cover tore open and the sun shone from the sky for weeks. Something similar in the late year: The lockdown light was followed by November bright. It has been sunny, warm and with little rain since the new exit restrictions began – a golden November lies behind us. The autumn month was three degrees warmer compared to the long-term average, only a quarter of the usual amount of rain fell, but the national average was almost one and a half times as frequent as usual.

Andreas Frey

Freelance writer in the science of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

So there was enough time this autumn to make the garden winter-proof. That, in turn, has to do with another crisis that no quick remedy will help. In this respect, autumn serves as a reminder for climate change, which continued at its unsettling pace in 2020. The climax of this development was reached right at the beginning of November, with numerous heat records across the country. For gardening enthusiasts, this meant putting a folding chair in the sun. And feet up! Late heat in the year is no longer the exception, but almost the rule. Winter comes in December at the earliest, if at all. In this respect, as a time-conscious hobby gardener, you have to ask yourself whether the old gardening wisdom still applies. It used to be said that the garden should be winterized by October 21. It is roughly the time it first got frosty decades ago. But the first frost has meanwhile been postponed by several days. In the north-west of the country there has not yet been any frost, in Frankfurt this year the thermometer slipped below freezing for the first time on November 5th, albeit only slightly. Moderate frost below minus five degrees has not yet occurred.

Rely on native plants

Ice days with temperatures below freezing point all day are also rare. The last time it was really wintry was November 1993, when there was permafrost for several days in a row. “Today gardeners can tend to take more time to make their garden winter-proof,” says agricultural meteorologist Andreas Brömser from the German Weather Service in Offenbach. You should be ready by mid-November at the latest and at least be on your guard from mid-October. Statistically speaking, there is a risk of sensitive frosts of minus five degrees after St. Martin’s Day. Domestic plants are only really endangered at these temperatures, and most of them can withstand light frost. Plants only stop growing when the average temperature drops below five degrees. Grasses and winter barley remain active even when it is very cold.

The situation is different with very warmth-loving plants, which are harmed by a touch of frost, but which are being planted more and more frequently because of their Mediterranean flair. In the last few weeks, Germany’s gardens have been wrapped, wrapped and packaged to protect banana and lime trees from death by cold. If you don’t want to work as a packaging artist every year, you better rely on winter jasmine and witch hazel in the future. They even survive real winters, as they happen every now and then in our latitudes despite climate change.


Influence of CO2 on climate change

EThere is no longer any doubt that the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to current climate change. The many drastic climatic fluctuations in the course of the earth’s history have so far not been associated with the burning of coal or oil in experts. A three-person international research group is now claiming that around 252 million years ago so many fossil fuels were burned in a short time that the resulting climate change led to the largest mass extinction of species in the history of the earth. The strong influence of carbon dioxide on the abrupt climate change at the time has been independently confirmed by another research group. The changes in the living world were so serious at that time that this caesura represents the transition from the ancient times to the Middle Ages for geologists.

In the last phase of the ancient world, in the Permian, the surface of the earth looked significantly different from today. More than a quarter of a billion years ago, almost all parts of the world were connected in a large land mass, the primary continent of Pangea. It extended almost continuously between the two poles. The other half of the world was covered by the giant ocean Panthalassa. The continent only began to break up in its center and gave rise to the Tethys Sea, the great-grandfather of the Mediterranean. In today’s Europe, the last phase of the Permian is known as Zechstein. The Zechstein Sea, a shallow ocean basin, extended into what is now the North German Plain and the North Sea. The large salt deposits in this area were created when this sea evaporated, leaving a thick crust of salt.

Life-friendly era

The marine fauna of the Permian was extremely diverse. Animals like plants in the rainforest lived on several floors on the sea floor. The trunks of various species of sea lily, the crinoids, were up to half a meter long. They formed the canopy of leaves for this benthic community. On the floors below there lived blastoids, various types of mussels and snails, as well as trilobites from the Cambrian. The “copper shale herring”, the first fossil find of which was described by the Saxon doctor Georgius Agricola in 1546, was particularly common in the shallow Permian seas. Overall, fossil finds from the Permian allow the conclusion that this epoch was extremely rich in animal and vegetable life.

The following age of the Triassic, especially its first ten million years, is extremely poor in fossils. In Central Europe, the young Triassic is known as the era of the red sandstone. The Palatinate Forest, Odenwald, Spessart and the island of Helgoland consist largely of the monotonous rocks of this time. Geologists have found a similarly dramatic impoverishment of species at the other transitions from the Permian to the Triassic in southern China, Kashmir, Pakistan, the southern Alps and in Greenland. A total of 90 percent of species of marine life and at least 70 percent of terrestrial species became extinct by the end of the Permian, including 21 of the 27 known families of reptiles and 70 percent of families of amphibians. About half of all insect species from the Permian did not survive the turning point.


Use in the Dannenröder forest: Another crash during the evacuation

As the police advance into the interior of the forest, accidents, some of them serious, are increasing. The police use stun guns.

Activist: inside of Ende Terrain block an excavator on Sunday Photo: David Baltzer

HAMBURG taz | The occupiers of the Dannenröder forest could breathe deeply for a day on Sunday – over the weekend 400 activists from Ende Terrain came to support from different cities. From early Sunday morning they blocked an excavator at the northern edge of the forest, and the clearing work stood still for the day.

The climate activists had announced the mass action beforehand, the police were prepared for it and announced early on Sunday that they would forego clearing for the day – “out of consideration for the Sunday of the Dead”. However, clearance work should still take place. In order for the heavy machines to drive into the forest, tree trunks lying around have to be removed and the muddy forest floor has to be graveled. The activists prevented that. The police stationed themselves in the forest with several hundred teams, a helicopter and two water cannons. Everything remained peaceful until the editorial deadline.

“We send greetings from the forest to the federal party conference of the Greens,” said the end of the terrain spokeswoman Ronja Weil on the weekend of the taz. The Greens agreed on Saturday to make the 1.5 degree target the basis of their policy. “We’ll show you how to do it here,” said Weil. And threatened the Hessian state government: “If you continue the violent eviction, we will make the clearing into your political disaster.”

On Saturday there was another serious accident in the forest. A woman fell four to six meters from a wooden platform and was seriously injured in the hospital. According to information from the police, her life is not in danger. The platform was in a tilted position, so that the woman slipped – why, according to the police, is not yet clear, the public prosecutor in Gießen is investigating.

Activists, on the other hand, described that police officers had climbed onto a rope that had secured the high platform. When they stepped off the rope again, the platform swayed so much that the activist fell.

The number of accidents is increasing

Since the police slowly but steadily penetrated the interior of the forest, violent and sometimes life-threatening situations have increased. A week ago, an activist fell from a height of five meters and was critically injured because the police cut a safety rope. Just one day later, another person fell from a rope stretched across a traverse for the same reason, but was doubly secured and was only swinging between the tree trunks – which can lead to serious injuries.

On Saturday, the police used a taser at a height of 20 meters. Two people would have hugged so tightly on the high platform that the climbing policemen could not have solved them otherwise, the police social media team explained. The stun guns cause painful muscle contraction throughout the body and can be fatal, for example in the case of heart defects or under the influence of drugs.

The occupiers again appealed to the Hessian Greens to stop the operation. “The Greens are jointly responsible for every threat to human life, every injury, every trauma, as long as they support the operation,” said a spokeswoman.


Covid-19: how to get out of the crisis while respecting planetary limits?

Published on :

For the first time since the 1990s, extreme poverty will increase in the world. How to get out of this health crisis from above? By creating a new development model that will mitigate climate change and the erosion of biodiversity and make life expectancy the cornerstone of our economies.

This is what our two guests essentially offer:

Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty who has just published a report on “The just transition” in economic recovery: eradicate poverty within the limits of the planet’s resources.

Read here

Eloi Laurent, economist, lecturer at Sciences-Po and Stanford University in California who has just published What if health guides the world? Life expectancy is better than growth, published by Les Liens qui libéré.


Union demands more ambition from Minister Schulze in the implementation of RED II

Plant for the production of synthetic fuel

Fuels produced on the basis of hydrogen can make a contribution to climate protection.

(Foto: Sunfire)

Berlin Normally, the fronts of climate and environmental protection in the grand coalition are clear: when Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) makes a proposal, parts of the Union parliamentary group warn that the minister is going too far with her plans and endangers growth and jobs.

But this time things are different. Leading representatives of the Union parliamentary group accuse the minister of showing too little ambition in the implementation of the second EU Renewable Energy Directive (Renewable Energy Directive II, or RED II for short) in national law.

The parliamentary group vice-chairmen Georg Nüßlein, Gitta Connemann, Ulrich Lange and Carsten Linnemann as well as the economic policy spokesman Joachim Pfeiffer have written to support changes to the draft law. The addressees: Federal Ministers Peter Altmaier (Economy), Helge Braun (Chancellery), Julia Klöckner (Agriculture) and Andreas Scheuer (Transport). Schulze’s draft law is currently being coordinated by departments.

The Union is particularly critical of Schulze’s proposed greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) quota of 16 percent by 2030. The value is “by far not sufficient,” says the Union politicians’ letter that is available to the Handelsblatt.

It is “just as incomprehensible that nothing should change to the current quota of six percent by 2024”. The environmental department is accepting that “almost nothing” will happen in the coming years when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the drive energy in traffic.

The authors of the letter do not want to accept the argument that there is still a lack of production capacity for sustainably produced biofuels. Investments in further production capacities would only be made if companies had the certainty that their products would also be in demand by the mineral oil companies in order to meet their quota obligations.

An opportunity for advanced biofuels too

“In order to achieve the CO2 reduction targets in the transport sector, it is now necessary to set the right course – at the same time and equally for electricity, hydrogen and its secondary products, and in particular for advanced biofuels,” write the authors of the letter.

In this context, the authors also criticize what they consider to be the insufficient minimum quota of two percent by 2030 for synthetic kerosene that is produced on the basis of hydrogen. “With these small quantities in the narrowly limited sector of air traffic, no hydrogen economy can be established in Germany. A lot more ambition is required here, ”the letter says.

A correctly designed GHG quota supports electromobility with batteries and fuel cells and is at the same time an essential key for climate-friendly combustion technology in the vehicle population. “We cannot afford to neglect existing options for reducing greenhouse gases in traffic,” write the Union politicians.

A fundamental dispute is hidden behind the criticism. Environment Minister Schulze emphasizes that she regards battery-powered solutions as the method of choice in the passenger car sector because she considers the production of synthetic hydrogen-based fuels to be inefficient.

Associations also criticize

The Union politicians, on the other hand, are convinced that climate-neutral fuels that are produced on the basis of hydrogen also deserve a chance.

In particular, you have an eye on the vehicle fleet. In fact, 40 million vehicles with internal combustion engines could still be in operation in 2030. The Union MEPs write that the impression arises that the development of climate-friendly gaseous or liquid fuels should be deliberately slowed down in favor of an “exclusive direct use of electricity in traffic”.

Parts of the economy are also critical of the draft. For example, machine builders and the automotive industry complained that the design fell far short of expectations. In June, the National Hydrogen Strategy announced that the minimum share of renewable energies in the final energy consumption of the transport sector would be significantly increased beyond the EU requirements, according to the VDMA mechanical engineering association. This goal is clearly missed in the draft. This would stall the hydrogen economy and fuel cell technology.

Schulze has already improved her design. In a guest article for the Handelsblatt a good two weeks ago, she announced that she wanted to set a target value of 20 percent for the energetic share of renewable energies in the transport sector (rail, road, air) in the law for 2030. Previously, it had only set a target of 14 percent for 2026. The quota for the energetic share of renewable energies complements the GHG quota, which, however, only relates to road traffic.

More: Guest commentary Svenja Schulze: “We have to be even more ambitious in the expansion of renewable energies”


Back on the go: Ex-Secretary of State Kerry and US Climate Policy – Politics

For a veteran of US foreign policy, Joe Biden closes the circle of his work: The newly elected President has appointed John Kerry, who will be 77 years old in December, as Climate Czar and in this position he has cabinet rank and a seat on the National Security Council granted. “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis for the acute national security threat that it is“announced Kerry.

As Foreign Minister, he had significantly negotiated two important agreements that are part of the core of Barack Obama’s political legacy – and which the outgoing President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from: the nuclear deal with Iran and the Paris climate agreement. Biden wants to bring the USA back into both contracts.

The chances of success for an understanding with Tehran are mixed. Kerry’s mission to restore the United States’ credibility in climate protection, which was ruined under Trump, is likely to be no less difficult.

Todd Stern rated the nomination as an “unusual sign” that would attract great international attention; he was Obama’s climate commissioner and chief US negotiator in Paris.

Trump left no stone unturned in destroying Kerry’s life’s work

For Kerry, who had been in the Senate for decades and later a fellow Biden in Obama’s cabinet, it is a satisfaction, a reparation for the four Trump years. He left no stone unturned in destroying Kerry’s life’s work.

As early as 1992, as a senator, Kerry was a member of the 60-strong US delegation to the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where the Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted – and the US under President George HW Bush refused to sign it.

“The work that began with the Paris Agreement is far from over,” wrote Kerry on Twitter. He is returning to government to “face the greatest challenge of this and future generations”. And provided the message with a picture that shows him signing the 2016 climate agreement with his granddaughter Isabelle on his lap at the UN headquarters in New York.

He would work with the “young leaders of the climate movement,” Kerry promised – another point against Trump. Who had via Twitter about the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunbergthat she should work on her anger management and go to a good old-fashioned movie theater with a friend after Time she had been named Person of the Year in December 2019 – a title that Trump alone should have considered appropriate to himself.

Greta Thunberg will judge the US by actions, not announcements

However, Thunberg in particular will measure the USA, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, by actions and not by announcements. What Kerry can achieve in his presumably last political office will largely depend on whether the Republicans continue to control the Senate or whether the Democratic candidates prevail in the two runoff elections in the state of Georgia in early January.

For the domestic political implementation of his climate goals, Biden wants to appoint a director in the White House who is equal to Kerry.

At least one year ago, Kerry founded a bipartisan climate coalition whose founding members include not only stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting, but also moderate Republicans like former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger from California and John Kasich from Ohio. And Biden has distanced himself from the Green New Deal proposed by his former competitor Bernie Sanders and left-wing MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In addition to Kerry, Biden reactivated a number of other members of the Obama administration. At the same time, he set about getting closer to his promise to form a government that “looks like America”, that is, reflects the diversity of the country. Both criteria apply to Alejandro N. Mayorkas, who is supposed to lead the Homeland Security Department responsible for internal security, counter-terrorism and border protection.

An architect from the Dreamer program is scheduled to run the Department of Homeland Security

Born in Cuba, the lawyer came to the USA with his parents in 1960 on the run from Fidel Castro’s revolution. He is the first Latino and the first immigrant at the head of the agency that Trump put into position primarily as an institution to ward off immigrants from Latin America – with many legally at least questionable methods such as separating children from their families or the controversial construction a fortification of the border with Mexico, praised by Trump as a border wall.

Mayorkas, who turned 61 on Tuesday, assured him that he would do his best to restore confidence in the institutions. He knows the ministry very well, from 2014 onwards he was Vice Minister for two years after various management positions. He was one of the architects of the Dreamer program, with which Obama wanted by decree to protect hundreds of thousands of migrants from deportation who entered the United States illegally as children; Trump had ended the program.

Mayorkas is considered a candidate who is to be mediated both to the moderate and to the left wing of the Democrats – but could face resistance from the Republicans in the Senate.