The rich harm the climate much more than the poor – politics

The richest percent of the world’s population is responsible for more than twice as much CO₂ emissions than the poorer half of humanity put together. So the rich damage the climate much more than the poor. This emerges from a report that the development organization Oxfam published before the general debate of the 75th UN General Assembly that began on Tuesday. As a consequence of the report, Oxfam is calling for the wealthy to reduce their CO₂ consumption, to invest more in public infrastructure and to reorganize the economy in a way that is climate-friendly.

The report focuses on the years 1990 to 2015. During this time, CO₂ emissions have doubled worldwide. The richest ten percent of the world’s population were responsible for more than half of the CO₂ emissions during this time. The richest percent alone was responsible for 15 percent of global CO₂ emissions. The poorer half of the population was only responsible for seven percent of global CO₂ emissions.

In Germany, the richest ten percent of the population were responsible for 26 percent of German CO₂ emissions in the period examined. The poorer half of the German population is five times as large as the richest ten percent, but with 29 percent of the German CO₂ emissions it only emitted slightly more CO₂ into the air.

The catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis are felt in many places. “This is due to a policy that focuses on consumption incentives, promises constant growth and economically divides the world into winners and losers,” said Ellen Ehmke, an expert on social inequality at Oxfam Germany. “The poorest pay the price for the consumption frenzy of a rich minority.”

One lever in the fight against climate change is traffic, especially air traffic. Oxfam is also particularly critical of SUVs, which were the second largest drivers of emissions between 2010 and 2018. “We have to solve the climate and inequality crises together,” said Ehmke. The excessive CO₂ consumption of the richest is at the expense of everyone and must be restricted. “Taxes on climate-damaging SUVs and frequent flying would be a first step.”

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Greenhouse gas: full steam ahead for climate protection (neue-deutschland.de)

Chimney of a cargo ship leaving the Rostock seaport

Chimney of a cargo ship leaving the Rostock seaport

If the European Parliament in Brussels has its way, shipping in the European Union will become more environmentally friendly in the foreseeable future. A few days ago, the MPs voted with a large majority in favor of including shipping in emissions trading from January 2022. By 2030, ships should also emit 40 percent less CO2 than in the same year 2018.

So far, shipping has not been involved in the trade in pollution rights. The aim of the EU emissions trading system introduced in 2005 is to make greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive systems in power generation and industry more expensive and to limit them by reducing the number of certificates; In Germany alone, more than 10,000 systems are involved. A certificate for the emission of one ton of CO2 currently costs just over 25 euros.

However, two important emitters are not recorded: agriculture and the transport sector. In shipping, too, the polluter pays principle must apply, demands the Green MP Jutta Paulus. She was instrumental in the initiative of the EU Parliament. The fleet efficiency target of at least 40 percent corresponds to 1.5 percent fewer emissions in the entire EU. “Applied to the new EU climate target of 55 percent formulated by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, this contribution from shipping would already cover ten percent of the emissions gap.”

The plans also have a financial aspect. So far, the European treasury has lost around 24 billion euros a year, which could be raised by pricing ship emissions, calculated the SPD MEP Tiemo Wölken (SPD). According to the Parliament’s proposal, half of the income from maritime emissions trading should flow into the EU budget and half into a fund for marine protection. And the left also supports the project.

According to the EU Parliament, all large ships using Europe’s ports should be subject to EU emissions trading. This would make the regulation competition-neutral. This means that cruise ships as well as large merchant ships would have to pay significantly for their emissions from 2022. The EU Parliament demands 25 euros as the price for one ton of CO2. Which, of course, is considered the lowest limit for effective pricing among environmental economists. Expensive, environmentally friendly investments are only worthwhile for the maritime industry from a price of around 100 euros. Initiating such investments is considered the real purpose of emissions trading.

The shipowners are not very enthusiastic. They point out that shipping is the only industry that has already set ambitious environmental targets worldwide through its umbrella organization IMO in London. A stricter sulfur limit for fuels has been in place since 2015, and shipping wants to cut its CO2 emissions by at least half by 2050. Ralf Nagel, Managing Director of the Association of German Shipowners, therefore believes that it is »the wrong way« to withdraw the money from companies that they would otherwise invest in more efficient and therefore more climate-friendly ships. “Money in the public coffers alone doesn’t help the climate.”

Europe’s shipowners are also striving for a global solution within the framework of the IMO – this is where the European member states should get involved, according to the former SPD Senator Nagel. Shipping also needs new, climate-neutral fuels. For this, massive investments in research and development have to be made. The global shipping industry is building a five billion dollar research and development fund for this purpose. Shipowners pay two US dollars per ton of fuel into the fund.

The MEPs do not want to be satisfied with voluntary measures in the industry. As the next step after the parliamentary vote, the commission now has to draft a law. So-called trialogue procedures follow, involving the EU Council, i.e. the national governments, as well as the Commission and again Parliament, before a final decision is made. Experience shows that this procedure dilutes a parliamentary initiative.

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CO2 labeling of food: muesli with a climate crisis

The petitions committee of the Bundestag advises on Monday about CO2 labeling of food. There are no simple solutions.

A good breakfast: delicious and healthy – but also climate neutral? Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | How much climate crisis do I add to my muesli in the morning? Is my guilty conscience really necessary at the barbecue evening? There will soon be an answer to such agonizing questions, at least the initiators of a petition that will be discussed on Monday in the responsible committee of the Bundestag hope: a CO2-Labelling of food.

That doesn’t sound bad: When customers see how much CO2 If there is quark in a cup (because of the milk and the associated methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the cattle), even the vegetarian gets the quark ball stuck in the throat. Not to mention meat or cheese.

The climate-conscious buyer quickly reaches for a soy or oat drink. At least that’s what the company Oatly, which produces such drinks, hopes – and which started this petition last year with a large advertising campaign. “Hey, Bundestag!”, It was then said in full-page advertisements, you have to talk about it – because 57,067 people had signed.

And that’s how it should come on Monday. The committee will hear the petition and the reasoning that the food industry accounts for around 25 percent of all greenhouse gases. And that as a responsible consumer you should be able to choose what you expect from your mouth and the atmosphere.

The carbon footprint depends on many factors

The idea is sure to be well received from many sides. Many climate protectors are paying less attention to meat and animal products, many scientists who research the climate every day are now eating vegetarian food. However, experts also point out that it is not that easy with a label. Because how big the CO2-Footprint is also related to the transport: A liter of milk from Bavaria can have good values ​​at first – if it is carted to Hamburg, it looks quite different. How is that supposed to depict a simple, easy-to-read seal? And what about regional, ecological and social aspects?

It’s not that easy. Perhaps the experts at the hearing will have ideas about this. Or after appearing in the petitions committee, a few clever people sit down and make a proposal. Even if it was only to save the mood with the muesli.

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CEOs want more CO 2 reduction (neue-deutschland.de)

Paris. Before the new EU climate targets were announced, the heads of more than 150 international companies such as Google, Apple and Deutsche Bank called for a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. In a letter, they called on the heads of state and government to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent by the end of this decade, as announced by the Institute for Sustainable Business Management at the University of Cambridge.

The signatories, which include the heads of the US software giant Microsoft, the Swedish furniture store chain Ikea and the clothing company H & M, see the drastic CO2 reduction as a way of “preventing the worst consequences of climate change.” At the same time, strict climate targets could enable a “sustainable, competitive economic recovery”. In addition, it is “central” for companies to get clarity about the EU’s planned path to climate neutrality by 2050. To achieve this, the interim target for 2030 must be adjusted. So far it has been a 40 percent reduction in emissions compared to 1990. Allegedly, the commission wants to propose on Wednesday to increase this to 55 percent. AFP / nd

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Energy transition – Altmaier’s astonishing volte policy

Can a top politician just be wrong? After eight years in government, after three ministerial posts in three coalitions, can he admit that he had set the wrong priorities for years?

Peter Altmaier did that on Friday. There have been many failures in climate protection, many people are disappointed, he himself was “too hesitant”, said the CDU man – a former environment minister, former head of the chancellery, acting economics minister.

An astonishing turn for someone who, as a friend of the economy, has fought hard against requirements and new climate targets. And yes: He is allowed to do that. There are too many people who do not admit mistakes.

It is easy to speculate about the motives. Altmaier has a keen sense for moods. As Environment Minister, he once basked in the glamor of the title “Mr. Energiewende” – which did not prevent him from adding billions in costs to the green conversion in the 2013 election campaign. That harmed the energy transition, but it was in line with the mood. And when the AfD and parts of the Union recently demonized wind power, Altmaier, the energy minister, was suddenly talking more about the hooks than about the opportunities offered by green electricity. Has he now, almost two years after the birth of “Fridays for future”, sensed a new mood?

In any case, the new course opens the Union more to black and green. And if, as Altmaier had in mind, a cross-party “Charter for Climate Neutrality and Economic Power” was drawn up before the election, the issue of climate for the election campaign would be over. On top of that, Peter Altmaier also has to state that the German economy is now further ahead than its economics minister. Even large corporations are aiming for a future without CO₂; and he doesn’t want to go down in history as a brakeman on duty. There are many reasons why Altmaier, if not from Saul, then from Peter to Paul.

Still, it would be foolish to put the motives for the change of heart above the meaning of the proposals. Altmaier has now correctly recognized a lot. The economy, for example, needs planning security – also about whether or not climate neutrality is the declared and permanent goal. It takes a lot of small intermediate goals. Altmaier now wants to set such goals by 2050.

And it’s true: the prices for carbon dioxide emissions must continue to rise, whether through stricter emissions trading in the EU or higher national minimum prices or both; otherwise the restructuring of the economy will fail. So that Europe’s industry does not fall behind, CO₂ surcharges could be due for imports, Altmaier wants to clarify that too.

The Greens, that is the poisoned part of the proposal, will find it difficult to avoid talks about such a “charter”. The literally burning issue of climate protection is somehow “in the works” in the election year. But Peter Altmaier has also committed himself: when the EU Commission declares next week which higher climate targets can be expected of the Europeans and what that means for the car industry, for example, the minister will no longer be able to protest. Because to be wrong twice, that would be really weird.

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Revolution in recycling of lithium batteries in Switzerland

© Kyburz / New recycling plant for batteries at Kyburz
© Kyburz / New recycling plant for batteries at Kyburz



The e-mobility pioneer Kyburz is breaking new ground in battery recycling: The Zurich-based company has put an innovative in-house system into operation – the first of its kind in Switzerland.


The recycling process developed in collaboration with Empa is environmentally friendly and offers potential beyond our own production. E-mobility is booming and the demand for lithium batteries is increasing rapidly. The production of the rechargeable batteries is resource-intensive and the recycling of the batteries is in some cases still in its infancy.

Kyburz Switzerland AG now has an innovative solution to this problem. The Zurich-based company put its own lithium-ion battery recycling plant into operation in Freienstein on September 4th – the first of its kind in Switzerland. The recycling process developed with the support of the Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Empa) and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) allows up to 91 percent of the metals contained to be recovered.

From the bachelor thesis to the pioneering project

The electric tricycle scooters from Kyburz are in use around the world, including at the Swiss Post. So far, the lithium batteries in the vehicles have been recycled externally, although the current processes are not sustainable enough from the company’s point of view. The batteries are shredded and then either melted down or treated with chemicals. Both use a lot of energy – and while the hot process (pyrometallurgy) loses valuable raw materials, the cold process (hydrometallurgy) pollutes the environment.

Kyburz was looking for an alternative: “Our goal was to develop a recycling process that is efficient, environmentally friendly and safe,” says Olivier Groux, who is responsible for the project. As part of his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering at the ZHAW, the trained chemical laboratory assistant was looking for a way to sustainably recycle lithium-ion batteries. “I thought to myself: If batteries are assembled from different materials, it must be possible to separate them again.”

Olivier Groux did pioneering work with his bachelor thesis and developed a completely new process: lithium iron phosphate batteries (LFP) can be sustainably recycled through optimal discharging, careful cell dismantling and purification using water – without the use of chemicals.

A step towards the circular economy

Managing director Martin Kyburz was won over by the idea and so he hired Olivier Groux. “We attach great importance to sustainability and are looking for ways in which we can implement the ideas of the circular economy in our company. An in-house facility for recycling our batteries is a big step in this direction,” says Martin Kyburz.

Olivier Groux developed the basis for setting up the in-house recycling system in close collaboration with Marcel Gauch, Lorena Toledo and Rolf Widmer from Empa St. Gallen. The project team summarized the findings from the project in a research paper, which was awarded first prize at the World Resources Forum.

Potential for a wide variety of battery types

The long-term goal is a production plant that can break down all LiFePO4 batteries ever installed by Kyburz back into their raw materials. In the first expansion stage, around 4,000 cells are to be processed per year. In the final stage, the system will have a capacity of up to 24,000 cells per year, which corresponds to the annual production of 3,000 vehicles.

Kyburz sees great potential in the recycling plant, also because the area of ​​application extends beyond its own production. The process can be applied 1: 1 to the majority of batteries used in domestic storage systems. With the use of certain chemicals, the processing process is also suitable for recycling other types of lithium batteries, such as lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese batteries (NMC) or lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum batteries (NCA). These are used in most electric vehicles – from cars to wheels to scooters.



Article posted online by: / Doris Holler /

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Motorists have to pay more road tax

Berlin (dpa) – Motorists have to pay significantly more vehicle tax due to a stricter emissions test introduced two years ago. So it says in a report of the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Finance Committee of the Bundestag, as the editorial network Germany (RND) wrote.

Due to the more realistic CO2 test values, new vehicles would usually be exposed to an average of almost 40 percent more. The report was also available to the German Press Agency.

In September 2018, the new European WLTP emissions standard was introduced for newly registered cars. The measurement process ensures more realistic values ​​for pollutant emissions and consumption.

According to a ministry report, 98 percent of new registrations measured nominally higher emissions than the old method. Car manufacturers were previously massively criticized for the fact that their vehicles consume and exhaust much more on the road than on the test bench.

According to the report, the average vehicle tax levied on vehicles registered for the first time a year before the changeover in September 2017 was 150 euros. After the introduction of WLTP it rose to 210 euros. The total income from vehicle tax rose from 8.9 billion euros in 2017 to 9.4 billion euros in 2019. That is an increase of five percent. The amount of the vehicle tax is linked to the CO2 emissions.

According to the report, the average vehicle tax paid has fallen again since the beginning of 2020 – to 201 euros by June. The ministry attributes this primarily to the fact that the proportion of cars with alternative, more climate-friendly types of drive has increased. The demand for electric cars has recently increased due to higher government premiums.

The federal government is planning a reform of the vehicle tax. To protect the climate, new cars with high fuel consumption are expected to pay higher vehicle taxes from 2021 onwards. According to the report, the submitted government draft takes into account the higher exposure to the WLTP test. The draft provides for a “moderate increase” with progressively staggered tax rates – in order to make climate protection and affordable and socially just mobility compatible.

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Climate Alliance calls for further measures (neue-deutschland.de)

The 2019 climate protection report was presented in the federal cabinet on Wednesday. According to this, Germany was able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent last year compared to 1990. A forecast for 2020 is based on 40 percent. This would correspond to the achievement of our own climate targets. However, the forecasts for 2020 coincide with the corona crisis and the associated lockdown.

“An economic crisis does not make structural change,” says Kai Niebert, President of the German Nature Conservation Ring (DNR). The reduction in 2020 is therefore not a result of “additional climate policy efforts”, but rather a consequence of “the lower energy consumption in the wake of the mild winter and the collapse of the economy as a result of the corona pandemic.” This is the assumption made by two studies commissioned by the German government that Germany will not be able to reduce 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The researchers have calculated a gap of 55 to 71 million tons of CO2, which lies between reality and the goals of the federal government.

Together with the Climate Alliance, an alliance of civil society organizations, the DNR has made demands on the federal government as to how the climate protection goals can be achieved by 2030. “The climate cabinet must meet immediately and ensure that Germany fulfills its contribution from the Paris climate agreement,” said Christiane Averbeck, Managing Director of the Climate Alliance. The measures for this would be on the table, now it would depend on “an early and socially fair design and political will”.

In order to achieve the climate goals, DNR and Climate Alliance propose measures in nine sub-areas: For example, they are calling for a significant »reduction in motorized individual transport« for more climate-friendly mobility. To this end, the rail network is to be expanded and fully electrified, speed limits are to be introduced and the approval of new combustion engines to be stopped in the near future. A faster phase-out of coal and an expansion of renewable energies are required for energy production.

Germany must “be supplied with at least 75 percent renewable electricity by 2030.” Agriculture should be ecologically converted, existing natural areas and forests preserved and promoted. In order to achieve climate neutrality in industry, this should be promoted during the renovation, and the federal government should also campaign for this at EU level. Climate protection activists also advocate effective and socially acceptable CO2 pricing and the abolition of climate-damaging subsidies by 2025. In addition, state investments are to be linked to sustainable criteria.

Christiane Averbeck said that during the corona crisis, the federal government “heeded the recommendations of science” and quickly took the right measures. This also has to happen in order to cope with the climate crisis. That is why the climate protectors consider the federal government’s goals to be too low and are in favor of a 65 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.

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Berlenga Island exchanges diesel for solar energy and becomes 100% sustainable | Environment

On a rock above the Pescadores neighborhood, fulfilling “strict criteria of landscape integration”, EDP Distribuição installed photovoltaic panels, an energy storage system and equipment that allow remote control and monitoring of the system. This new renewable energy solution, which replaces diesel generation on the island of Berlenga, is inaugurated this Wednesday and represents an investment by EDP Distribuição of around 350 thousand euros.

It is a “total replacement of diesel, with a mixture of two systems: solar generation and batteries”, João Marques da Cruz, EDP’s executive director responsible for distribution, explained to the PUBLIC, adding that the island is now 100% sustainable and self-sufficient: “You can supply the needs of Berlengas for 24 hours. It is total decarbonization. ”

Until now, the electricity supply on the island off Peniche was carried out by three diesel generators and had a consumption-dependent operation. In other words, being dependent on transporting fuel to the island, EDP estimated needs and, in the event of a peak need, there could be a power outage. A problem that no longer arises, Marques da Cruz points out: “Solar generation can always generate electricity, because it stores it. Therefore, the quality of the service provided is higher. ” The price for the population remains “unchanged”, since the service is charged through the regulated tariff.

Each year, around 15,000 liters of fuel were transported to the island by boat, which implied a high environmental risk associated with maritime transport, noise and air pollution (annual emissions were approximately 40 tons of CO2). “Fortunately, there was never a stroke, but it was a risk”, assumes Marques da Cruz

Photovoltaic panels were installed on a rock above the Pescadores neighborhood
DR

The Berlenga Sustentável project, in partnership with the Câmara de Peniche and the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, was a “wish” of EDP Distribuição since 2018 and implied a special authorization from the European Union. There is a rule that prohibits operators from exploiting electricity-generating assets – and it was necessary to explain why Berlenga should be an exception. “EDP is always very committed to contributing to the energy transition and this project fits into this.”

The archipelago was classified in 2011 as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, has been a nature reserve since 1981 and was classified as a Special Protection Area for Wild Birds in 1999.

The island of Berlenga has, since May 2019, a daily limit of visitors set at 550 people. A study by Universidade Nova de Lisboa concluded that more than 65,650 people visit the island each year (43,250 in the summer months), excluding usual seasonal residents, service providers and representatives of official entities with jurisdiction in the Berlengas Nature Reserve. This entry limit imposed by the Ministry of the Environment was justified by the existence of “sensitive” species and habitats and also by the small size of the territory – and, in fact, it was foreseen since 2008 in the Berlengas Nature Reserve Planning Plan, although it has never been fixed.

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Sustainability: BMW ties executive salaries to ambitious climate targets – t-online.de

  1. Sustainability: BMW links executive salaries to ambitious climate goals t-online.de
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