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Climate crisis: Suddenly there is dynamism in climate protection


When it comes to the climate, the bad news dominates - there have recently been several positive developments. There is even talk of a trend reversal. The weekly overview of the climate crisis.

Dear readers,

whoever moves too fast loses.

For decades one had to get the impression that this basic rule of the official Mikado was also applied to the international stage of the climate negotiations.

Even after the brief euphoria of the Paris Agreement, little noteworthy happened in combating the climate crisis over the years.

Until now.

Because recently there has been a noticeable dynamic in climate protection, both at the state level and among companies.

Whoever calls for a whitewash: Unfortunately, we are still far away from climate-friendly life and business.

The "Emissions Gap Report" published by the United Nations Environment Program on Wednesday has just shown this again.

It is also correct, however, that more and more countries are at least announcing ambitious climate targets - Japan, South Korea and South Africa, for example, want to be climate-neutral by the middle of the century, and the entire EU anyway.

China, too, recently promised to achieve this target by 2060 and no longer emit any net emissions.

A total of 127 countries, which are responsible for around two thirds of global CO2 emissions, have announced net zero targets.

"In the past few months there have been very positive signs in climate policy," says Niklas Höhne from the New Climate Institute in an interview with SPIEGEL.

"The big players such as China and the USA are back on board and have for the first time committed not to use fossil fuels in the long term." China's announcement alone - if it is then complied with - could make a difference in the world by 2100 The analysts working with Niklas Höhne write that the temperature increases by 0.2 to 0.3 degrees.

Taken together, this now also has an impact on the scenarios for a rise in temperature in 80 years' time: If these long-term goals are really met, the world could barely miss the worst catastrophes, have calculated climate experts from the think tanks Climate Analytics and New Climate Institute.

According to their evaluation, the global climate then warms up by "only" 2.1 degrees on average.

This would enable the countries to at least approximately meet the Paris climate target of staying below two degrees warming.

Just a few months ago, the analysts had assumed a temperature increase of around 2.9 degrees for the climate measures currently being implemented in the countries.

The climate protection index presented on Monday by the organization “Germanwatch” already shows falling trends in the emissions of many of the world's largest CO2 emitters for the 2019 reporting year.

The report shows "that a global turning point may have been reached," the authors say.

The top spot in the new ranking is taken by Sweden, which could even be climate neutral by 2030.

At the end of the week, the heads of government of the EU want to discuss an increase in the short-term climate target by 2030 from the current 40 to 55 percent, and parliament is even calling for 60 percent.

The recently announced national climate target for Great Britain is also remarkable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from now on, the island's carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 68 percent below 1990 levels within ten years. 

Denmark spelled out at the end of last week what it means in practice to increase targets for free.

The country is the largest producer of oil and gas in the European Union and intends to stop all production in the North Sea by 2050.

Parliament has approved the government's plans.

"We are now putting a definitive end to the fossil fuel age," said Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jörgensen.

Meanwhile, the German energy industry seems to know only one direction when it comes to generating electricity from coal: just get out of here.

Last week the Federal Network Agency announced the results of the first round of tenders for the decommissioning of hard coal units.

Operators could apply for bonuses if they took their kilns off the grid; those who charge the least money for them had the best chance of winning.

At the turn of the year, eleven coal blocks will be taken off the grid in one fell swoop, the tender was "significantly oversubscribed," according to the authorities - the corporations were competing to see who could shut down their power plant first.

And that's not all: Making the EU climate-neutral is not only possible, it would also no longer cost the citizen, according to a study by the McKinsey management consultancy.

The bottom line is that the average household would spend the same or even less on living costs in 2050 compared to today.

The labor market will also benefit from the restructuring: According to McKinsey, six million jobs would be lost, but eleven million would be added at the same time.

Well, it's at least something.

If you like, I will inform you once a week about the most important things about the climate crisis - stories, research results and the latest developments on the biggest topic of our time.



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The topics of the week

Survey by Germanwatch: These countries do the most for climate protection

Scandinavian countries and Great Britain are among the best climate protectors in the world.

Germany is not among them - despite the coal phase-out and the climate package.

UN report on global climate goals: On the way to three degrees global warming

Global CO₂ emissions continue to rise - despite the Corona kink, according to the new report of the UN environmental program.

Without green stimulus packages, the Paris two-degree limit can no longer be saved.

New EU climate target: Eastern Europeans and France insist on nuclear revival

Shortly before the EU summit, six countries are campaigning for a comeback of nuclear power.

In Brussels, there are fears that the countries could link their approval of the new climate target to appropriate support.

Von der Leyens Green Deal: It works if you want - but do you want to?

The EU wants to be climate neutral by 2050.

This is often outlined as dystopian deindustrialization.

The consulting firm McKinsey says: costs and profits could balance each other out.

However, important aspects are not taken into account.

Largest oil and gas producer in the EU: Denmark stops drilling in the North Sea - in 2050

The parliament in Copenhagen has decided to end Danish oil and gas production in the North Sea - for the year 2050. Environmentalists criticize the late phase-out date.

French President Macron: A man sees green

Emmanuel Macron poses as a champion of an ambitious climate policy, he wants to spend billions on ecological change.

But can it also implement what it promises?

EU concept: Europe's transport should become greener

The EU Commission is working on its concept for a climate-neutral Europe.

Traffic plays an important role in this.

However, the key points that have become known in advance are met with criticism.

Environmental project in Poland: the country needs new beavers

A resourceful forester has resettled the rodents in a national park.

Are they useful in the fight against erosion and drying out of the landscape?

Warmed up

  • Why climate change is driving the world into a new era of pandemics

    ("Rolling Stone")

  • Deforestation in the Amazon region rises to a twelve-year high

    ("Zeit Online")

  • The corona crisis opens up the opportunity for climate-compatible reconstruction programs


  • Can beer and chips help against the climate crisis?


  • Climate change is less important to Europeans because of the corona pandemic



Term of the week: Anthropocene - the "Age of Man"

Geologists are still arguing whether the earth is in a new age, the so-called Anthropocene.

What climate change has to do with it.

Stay confident

Your Kurt Stukenberg

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2020-12-09

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