The European Union: Climate Policy

Sunday, 2 February 2020 - 06:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Editorial, Environment, European Union, General

Flag of Europe (Latest update: 21 October 2020) The European Union’s climate policy is a European policy area that aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to transform European economies into a low carbon economy. On the one hand, the EU’s climate policy aims to reduce its own emissions of greenhouse gases (mitigation), for example through the emissions trading system that has existed since 2005. However, since limiting anthropogenic climate change can ultimately only be achieved at the global level, the EU is also actively involved in the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The EU’s climate policy also pursues the goal of limiting the effects of climate change (adaptation), for example through civil protection measures in Europe or through conflict prevention in developing countries.

Climate policy has become one of the most dynamic EU policies in recent years. Organizationally, climate policy has long been located in the Directorate-General for the Environment. The Barroso II Commission has for the first time created the post of Commissioner for Climate Action, which is now independent of the Environment Commissioner (Paris Agreement, United Nations Climate Change conference, European Commission – Climate Action, Fridays for Future, Flint water crisis, Boston Globe, 26 June 2018: Thirty years later, what needs to change in our approach to climate change, The New York Times Magazine, 1 August 2018: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change, The washington Post, 8 August 2018: Once prized and profitable, beachfront real estate can now be a losing proposition, CNN, 20 March 2019: Mexico’s ‘green gold’: The company powering cars with cactus juice, Forbes, 21 May 2019: Soil Erosion Washes Away $8 Billion Annually, France24, 17 June 2019: EU leaders to debate push for zero emissions by 2050, The Guardian, 20 June 2019: UK citizens’ assembly on climate emergency announced, The Guardian, 20 June 2019: Central European countries block EU moves towards 2050 zero carbon goal, The Guardian, 21 June 2019: Greenpeace activist: ‘Mark Field needs anger management’, BBC, 23 June 2019: Climate protesters storm Garzweiler coalmine in Germany, BBC, 24 June 2019: Wind power: £100m fund aims to boost UK companies, BBC, 24 June 2019: Climate change: Cashing in on CO2, France24, 26 June 2019: France falls short on emission targets, says climate council, The National 26 June 2019: UAE gears up for United Nations climate change summit in Abu Dhabi, CNN, 26 June 2019: Germany’s temperature record smashed as Europe’s heat wave intensifies, BBC, 27 June 2019: European heatwave sets new June temperature records, France24, 29 June 2019: US still outsider at G20 over fighting climate change, CNN, 29 June 2019: Russia plans to tow a nuclear power station to the Arctic. Critics dub it a ‘floating Chernobyl’, The National, 30 June 2019: Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting: ‘The situation is urgent’, France24, 2 July 2019: Last month ‘hottest June on record’ as heatwave swept Europe, The Guardian, 2 July 2019: Climate change made European heatwave at least five times likelier, The Guardian, 7 July 2019: One climate crisis disaster happening every week, UN warns, Al Jazeera, 8 July 2019: Israel’s ‘environmental crisis’ is of its own making, France24, 8 July 2019: French development agency chief on the issue of climate justice, France24, 9 July 2019: Paris follows London to declare ‘climate emergency’, The Washington Post, 9 July 2019: Trump’s ‘environmental leadership’ is sending us to a climate disaster, CNN, 13 July 2019: Tropical Storm Barry, USA Today, 13 July 2019. Now a hurricane, Barry nears Louisiana coast packing heavy rain, NOLA.com, 13 July 2019: Hurricane Barry heads for Louisiana: Live updates, photos, storm info (The Atlantic, 25 August 2015: New Orleans, 10 Years After Katrina), CNN, 15 July 2019: Staten Island seawall: Designing for climate change, CNN, 16 July 2019: Morocco in the fast lane with world’s largest concentrated solar farm, The National, 16 July 2019: Dubai community bans plastic bottles from restaurants and cafes, Reuters, 17 July 2019: Lionfish invasion in Cyprus? If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em, France24, 23 July 2019: Young ecologist Greta Thunberg addresses French parliament, The Guardian, 26 July 2019: If you can’t stand the heat … stop being a climate emergency denier, Earth Overshoot Day, France24, 29 July 2019: Earth Overshoot Day: Planet’s 2019 resources ‘budget’ already spent, The Guardian, 31 July 2019: Our planet is in crisis. But until we call it a crisis, no one will listen, BBC, 6 August 2019: Russia arms dump fire: Huge blaze in Siberia extinguished, The Guardian, 7 August 2019: ‘Part of German soul’ under threat as forests die, The National, 8 August 2019: UN: ‘Closing window’ to stop climate change threatening world’s food supply, The New York Times, 8 August 2019: Climate Change Threatens World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns, Bloomberg, 9 August 2019: The World’s Largest Forest Has Been on Fire for Months, The New York Times, 24 August 2019: Amazon Fires Prompt Action From Europe, and Silence From U.S., Saudi Gazette, 24 August 2019: As EU threatens trade retaliation, Brazil sends army to fight Amazon fires, France24, August 2019: Hunting tourists kill thousands of doves in Morocco, CNN, 26 August 2019: Brazil’s Bolsanaro says he ‘loves’ the Amazon. But his policies are designed to wreak havoc on it, The Guardian, 26 August 2019: Fires are devouring the Amazon. And Jair Bolsonaro is to blame, BBC, 26 August 2019: Amazon fires: G7 to release funds for fire-fighting planes, CNN, 26 August 2019: Trump skips G7 climate summit with aides claiming scheduling conflict, Politico.eu, 26 August 2019: UN chief urges G7 to do more on climate, BBC, 27 August 2019: Amazon fires: Brazil to reject G7 offer of $22m aid (no wonder. It is a declared goal by Bolsonaro to massively destroy further Amazon jungle in order to achieve short-sighted and short-term economic benefits. It can therefore evidently be assumed that Bolsonaro and his henchmen are behind the large-scale arson attacks on the Amazon region.), The Guardian, 27 August 2019: Amazon rainforest fires: Brazil to reject $20m pledged by G7 (Bolsonaro is just one more example for the fact that nationalists and racists worldwide can be principally characterized by their very limited intellectual capacities), Al Jazeera, 27 August 2019: Brazil to reject G7 offer of $22m aid to fight Amazon fires, CNN, 27 August 2019: Bolsonaro’s ego stands in the way of saving the Amazon, France24, 27 August 2019: Bolsonaro makes accepting millions in G7 aid for Amazon contingent on apology from Macron, Al Jazeera, 27 August 2019: Bolsonaro to draft measures on indigenous land demarcations, The New York Times, 28 August 2019: The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire, The New York Times, 29 August 2019: The Trump administration is working to roll back these 84 environmental policies., Al Jazeera, 29 August 2019: UN draft climate report warns oceans rising, warming, France24, 1 September 2019: Hurricane Dorian slams into Bahamas as dangerous Category 5 storm, CNN, 2 September 2019: Hurricane Dorian slams into the Bahamas, Politico.eu, 2 September 2019: London mayor mocks Trump for dealing with hurricane ‘out on the golf course’, BBC, 3 September 2019: Hurricane Dorian: Pleas for help as storm stalls over Bahamas, The Guardian, 3 September 2019: How much destruction is needed for us to take climate change seriously?, The Guardian, 4 September 2019: Hurricane Dorian bears down on Georgia and Carolinas – live updates, The New York Times, 4 September 2019: Hurricane Dorian Could Swamp the Coast From Florida to Virginia, Politico.com, 4 September 2019: An Oval Office mystery: Who doctored the hurricane map?, The Guardian, 5 September 2019: Twenty dead in Bahamas after Dorian leaves ‘generational devastation’, CNN, 6 September 2019: Satellite images show the devastation Hurricane Dorian caused in the Bahamas, Gulf Times, 7 September 2019: Merkel, in China speech, calls climate protection a global problem, The Guardian, 7 September 2019: ‘It’s all gone’: shattered Bahamas counts cost of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, Politico.eu, 7 September 2019: Von der Leyen’s climate promises run into Brussels reality, The Guardian, 9 September 2019: Climate crisis is greatest ever threat to human rights, UN warns, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: Adaptation isn’t enough. We’ve got to throw everything at the climate crisis, U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, 13 September 2019: Coastal Erosion, The Guardian, 14 September 2019: Naomi Klein: ‘We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism’, The Guardian, 17 September 2019: The silenced: meet the climate whistleblowers muzzled by Trump, France24, 18 September 2019: Trump revokes California’s authority to set auto emissions limits, NPR, 18 September 2019: Trump Says California’s Ability To Set Its Own Emissions Standards Will Be Revoked, The Guardian, 20 September 2019: Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates, France24, 20 September 2019: Students kick off global climate strike inspired by Greta Thunberg, CNN, 20 September 2019: Global climate strike, BBC, 20 September 2019: Huge crowds across Europe demand climate action, CNN, 20 September 2019: More than 100,000 gather in Melbourne as the world begins climate demonstrations, The New York Times, 20 September 2019: Young People Take to Streets in Global Climate Protest, France24, 20 September 2019: Merkel govt agrees on climate plan – but German green groups say it’s not enough, France24, 20 September 2019: ‘The earth is on fire’: Young people lead global climate change protests, France24, 20 September 2019: Amid increasing threat from climate change, New York prepares for rising waters, The Guardian, 21 September 2019: Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever, Gulf Times, 21 September 2019: ‘Millions’ protest in youth-led global climate strike, Politico.eu, 21 September 2019: Angela Merkel’s inconvenient truth, The Guardian, 21 September 2019: ‘Save us, save the world’: Pacific climate warriors taking the fight to the UN, France24, 22 September 2019: Youth leaders at UN demand bold climate change action, France24, 23 September 2019: UN chief calls for ‘concrete plans’ as climate emergency summit convenes in New York, BBC, 23 September 2019: Climate change: UN summit opens without key leaders, The New York Times, 23 September 2019: Leaders Get a Chance to Answer Youth Protests at U.N. Climate Talks, Al Jazeera, 23 September 2019: UN General Assembly 2019: All the latest updates, The Guardian, 23 September 2019: Greta Thunberg condemns world leaders in emotional speech at UN, The Washington Post, 25 September 2019: New U.N. climate report: Monumental change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions, CBS News, 25 September 2019: Erosion threatens scenery and real estate along iconic California coastline, The New York Times, 30 September 2019: What Kind of Problem Is Climate Change?, The Guardian, 3 October 2019: The movement to take climate action has begun – but we have a long way to go, BBC, 4 October 2019: The incinerator and the ski slope tackling waste, BBC, 8 October 2019: Extinction Rebellion: Protesters glue themselves to government building, The Guardian, 9 October 2019: Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions, The Guardian, 10 October 2019: Revealed: top UK thinktank spent decades undermining climate science, The Guardian, 11 October 2019: Tory MPs five times more likely to vote against climate action, The Guardian, 11 October 2019: Inside Copenhagen’s race to be the first carbon-neutral city, The Guardian, 13 October 2019: Top investment banks provide billions to expand fossil fuel industry, NPR, 30 October 2019: ‘Start Listening’: Greta Thunberg Rejects Major Environmental Award, The National, 31 October 2019: German government sued by farmers over climate targets in landmark case, CNN, 31 October 2019: First climate lawsuit brought against German government fails, The Guardian, 2 November 2019: Jeremy Corbyn decries fracking suspension as election stunt, Gulf Times, 2 November 2019: Asia must quit ‘coal addiction’: UN chief, France24, 3 November 2019: Actress and climate change dissident Jane Fonda gets arrested – every week, BBC, 4 November 2019: Paris climate accords: US notifies UN of intention to withdraw, Politico.com, 4 November 2019: U.S. starts climate pact exit — now what?, The Guardian, 4 November 2019: Trump begins year-long process to formally exit Paris climate agreement, Gulf Times, 4 November 2019: Merkel cheers VW’s electric push amid growing climate critique, France24, 5 November 2019: Macron says climate cooperation between Europe and China is ‘decisive’, The Guardian, 6 November 2019: Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’, The Guardian, 8 November 2019: My ‘OK boomer’ comment in parliament symbolised exhaustion of multiple generations, Politico.eu, 15 November 2019: Europe’s investment bank sets pace on fossil fuel lending, France24, 16 November 2019: Venice braces for more floods, strong winds, Irish Times, 16 November 2019: Seán Moncrieff: The planet is cooking for all of us, no matter our politics, CNN, 17 November 2019: The flat earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe. Does it hide a darker core?, CNN, 19 November 2019: California won’t buy cars from GM, Chrysler or Toyota because they sided with Trump over emissions, Politico.eu, 21 November 2019: Germany eats Poland’s green lunch, Politico.eu, 21 November 2019: Working together to face the energy challenge, CNN, 22 November 2019: China can go carbon neutral by 2050 while still growing its economy: report, The Guardian, 24 November 2019: Can we have net zero emissions and still fly?, BBC, 25 November 2019: Climate change: Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records, NPR, 26 November 2019: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Rising, U.N. Report Says, The Guardian, 26 November 2019: UN calls for push to cut greenhouse gas levels to avoid climate chaos, Politico.eu, 27 November 2019: Von der Leyen to kick off term with trip to UN climate conference, TopGear, 27 November 2019: And lo, the Pope did get-eth a new Dacia Duster Popemobile, Politico.eu, 28 November 2019: European Parliament declares global climate emergency, The Guardian, 28 November 2019: ‘Our house is on fire’: EU parliament declares climate emergency, The Guardian, 29 November 2019: Hundreds of thousands of students join global climate strikes, Al Jazeera, 29 November 2019: Thousands stage global climate protests before UN summit, CNN, 30 November 2019: Germany is closing all its nuclear power plants. Now it must find a place to bury the deadly waste for 1 million years, Gulf Times, 30 November 2019: Hundreds of activists break into coal mines in eastern Germany, Politico.eu, 1 December 2019: 6 things to know about the COP25 climate summit, Politico.eu, 2 December 2019: EU must make carbon pay, The Guardian, 2 December 2019: US Congress commits to act on climate crisis, despite Donald Trump, Jerusalem Post, 3 December 2019: New climate change report spells disaster for Israel (who would have thought that Israel would not be driven into the Mediterranean, but the Mediterranean into Israel?), The Guardian, 4 December 2019: Climate change to steer all New Zealand government decisions from now on, The Guardian, 4 December 2019: Climate models have accurately predicted global heating, study finds, France24, 11 December 2019: Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, BBC, 11 December 2019: Greta Thunberg named Time Person of the Year for 2019, The Guardian, 11 December 2019: Europe must lead on the climate crisis. The European Green Deal shows how, Politico.eu, 11 December 2019: Europe’s Green Deal plan unveiled, Politico.com, 11 December 2019: How California and Quebec are trying to Trump-proof their climate effort, Al Jazeera, 11 December 2019: ‘A future we want’: Global mayors on frontlines of climate fight, The National, 12 December 2019: Europe launches ‘Green Deal’ as Thunberg denounces climate inaction, DW, 11 December 2019: EU lauds new Green Deal as Europe’s ‘man on moon moment’, Politico.eu, 12 December 2019: The EU’s China moment, BBC, 13 December 2019: EU carbon neutrality: Leaders agree 2050 target without Poland, France24, 13 December 2019: EU agrees on carbon neutrality by 2050, Poland exempt, Politico.com, 13 December 2019: Europe threatens U.S. with carbon tariffs to combat climate change, France24, 13 December 2019: UN climate talks near end as countries divided on emissions, funding, Politico.eu, 13 December 2019: Charles Michel goes multi-speed to get Europe ahead on climate, BBC, 14 December 2019: UN climate talks hit rough waters, Al Jazeera, 13 December 2019: Will Europe’s Green Deal prove a giant leap for planet Earth?, Politico.eu, 15 December 2019: UN climate talks fall short thanks to US vacuum, The Washington Post, 15 December 2019: U.N. climate talks end with hard feelings, few results and new doubts about global unity, Politico.com, 15 December 2019: United Nations climate talks collapse after Trump shuns Paris pact, The New York Times, 15 December 2019: U.N. Climate Talks End With Big Polluters Blocking Stronger Action, The Guardian, 15 December 2019: UN climate talks end with limited progress on emissions targets, BBC, 15 December 2019: COP25: Longest climate talks end with compromise deal, France24, 15 December 2019: COP 25 climate talks end with no deal on carbon markets, Al Jazeera, 15 December 2019: Longest UN climate talks end with no deal on carbon markets, Arab News, 15 December 2019: Meltdown in Madrid, The National, 15 December 2019: Madrid climate talks ‘disappointing’ says UN chief Antonio Guterres, Gulf Times, 15 December 2019: UN climate talks a ‘lost opportunity’, says Guterres, Politico.eu, 15 December 2019: 6 takeaways from the COP25 climate talks, NPR, 15 December 2019: U.N. Climate Summit Goes To Extra Time, But Ends With Major Questions Unresolved, Al Jazeera, 16 December 2019: ‘Cleaner and cheaper’: Sunny Spain is banking on renewable energy, Politico.eu, 16 December 2019: When will the Netherlands disappear?, Arab News, 20 December 2019: It is time for a new approach to tackling climate change, France24, 25 December 2019: Britain’s Queen hails climate movement on Christmas Day, CNN, 26 December 2019: What’s behind Trump’s nonsense on windmills and light bulbs, BBC, 2 January 2020: Norway records warmest ever January day at 19C, BBC, 13 January 2020: Siemens resists climate protests over Australia coal project, Politico.eu, 13 January 2020: EU countries scrap for cash from new green scheme, Gulf Times, 14 January 2020: EU executive unveils plan for 1-trillion-euro climate investments, France24, 15 January 2020: Environmentalists file suit against Merkel’s ‘weak’ climate laws, The Guardian, 19 January 2020: Davos 2020 should be all about climate crisis but Trump won’t admit it, CNN, 19 January 2020: Trump vs. Thunberg: The climate crisis could dominate Davos, Arab News, 19 January 2020: Saudi Arabia joins club of Middle East’s ‘green energy’ leaders, The Guardian, 20 January 2020: Climate refugees can’t be returned home, says landmark UN human rights ruling, The National, 20 January 2020: To tackle climate change, developing countries have to get on board, The Guardian, 20 January 2020: The Guardian view on Davos: capitalists know they must do better, The National, 19 January 2020: Davos 2020: The latest news and events from the World Economic Forum, France24, 21 January 2020: Climate change to take centre stage at Davos, The Guardian, January 2020: Davos 2020, The Telegraph, 22 January 2020: Ursula von Der Leyen threatens a carbon border tax, opening new front in the trade wars, Politico.eu, 23 January 2020: Davos is woke (or so it thinks), BBC, 23 January 2020: What does Trump actually believe on climate change?, Gulf Times, 24 January 2020: US’s Mnuchin tells Thunberg to go ‘study economics’ in Davos spat (he better give this advice to himself and the rest of the Trump administration, as there is not one credible economist among them), The Guardian, 24 January 2020: ‘Blatant manipulation’: Trump administration exploited wildfire science to promote logging, The National, 24 January 2020: Davos 2020: The latest news and events from the World Economic Forum, Politico.com, 25 January 2020: ’I stand with Greta’: Mnuchin’s wife posts — then deletes — support for climate activist, Politico.eu, 27 January 2020: Time for a Christian conservative Green policy, The Guardian, 7 February 2020: The EU’s green deal is a colossal exercise in greenwashing, Politico.eu, 13 February 2020: ‘Epic battle’ over green farming divides EU departments, France24, 27 February 2020: German teen Naomi Seibt, the darling of climate change deniers, Gulf Times, 29 February 2020: Luxembourg becomes first country to make public transport free, Politico.eu, 4 March 2020: Brussels launches legal effort to make EU climate neutral by 2050, Politico.eu, 4 March 2020: Brussels’ climate ambitions run into national resistance, BBC, 4 March 2020: Greta Thunberg brands EU’s new climate law ‘surrender’, Politico.eu, 4 March 2020: Greta Thunberg rains on EU climate law parade, The Guardian, 4 March 2020: Tropical forests losing their ability to absorb carbon, study finds, BBC, 5 March 2020: Europe experiences exceptionally warm winter, Gulf Times, 5 March 2020: EU unveils climate law, but eco-warrior Greta Thunberg remains unimpressed, BBC, 3 March 2020: Is it possible to build wildlife-friendly windfarms?, The Guardian, 12 March 2020: Coronavirus poses threat to climate action, says watchdog, The Guardian, 18 March 2020: Germany has an unholy new alliance: climate denial and the far right, The Guardian, 18 March 2020: Irish planners reject Trump golf resort’s plan to build wall, Politico.eu, 19 March 2020: Fast forward to carbon-neutral cities, France24, 20 March 2020: Clearer water, cleaner air: The environmental effects of coronavirus, The New York Times, 27 March 2020: Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Find Opposition Within: Staff Scientists, Al Jazeera, 1 April 2020: Climate blow: Trump admin completes rollback of emissions rules, The Guardian, 6 April 2020: ‘Bad news’: radiation 16 times above normal after forest fire near Chernobyl, Politico.com, 13 April 2020: Coronavirus fuels calls to clamp down on EU wildlife trade, Politico.eu, 22 April 2020: Coronavirus throws global climate diplomacy into disarray, BBC, 22 April 2020: How the largest environmental movement in history was born, BBC, 23 April 2020: How has coronavirus helped the environment?, Al Jazeera, 24 April 2020: EU urged to attach ‘green strings’ to members’ cash handouts, BBC, 25 April 2020: Coronavirus recovery plan ‘must tackle climate change’, The Guardian, 27 April 2020: Meteorologists say 2020 on course to be hottest year since records began, Politico.eu, 4 May 2020: Bailout Europe’s chance to go green is in danger, BBC, 6 May 2020: Coronavirus: UK warned to avoid climate change crisis, The Washington Post, 8 May 2020: One way the coronavirus could transform Europe’s cities: More space for bikes, France24, 9 May 2020: Exclusive: Investigating how North Korean fishermen plunder foreign waters, United Nations Climate Change conference, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Guardian, 12 May 2020: Microplastics discovered blowing ashore in sea breezes, BBC, 23 May 2020: Miami’s fight against rising seas, The Guardian, 29 May 2020: Markets not paying attention to climate crisis, IMF says, Arab News, 29 May 2020: EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery, Gulf Times, 29 May 2020: Europe needs a solar boom now or regret missing out, The Guardian, 29 May 2020: EU’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall as coal ditched, NPR, 4 June 2020; Russian Power Plant Spills Thousands Of Tons Of Oil Into Arctic Region, The New York Times, 4 June 2020; Russia Declares Emergency After Arctic Oil Spill, BBC, 5 June 2020; Arctic Circle oil spill: Russian prosecutors order checks at permafrost sites (2020 Norilsk oil spill), DW, 6 June 2020; Russia races to clean up massive oil spill in Siberia, ABC News, 10 June 2020: German government agrees on national hydrogen strategy, Politico.eu, 20 June 2020: Coronavirus response offers lessons for climate fight, Thunberg says, France24, 22 June 2020: Farm on a Paris rooftop: Urban farm aims to be Europe’s largest, The New York Times, 24 June 2020: Roundup Maker to Pay $10 Billion to Settle Cancer Suits (an actually considerable amount of tuition money, which the group is allowed pay), Arab News, 25 June 2020: Saudi Arabia will meet the environmental challenge — energy minister, The Guardian, 28 June 2020: German far right infiltrates green groups with call to protect the land, Arab News, 28 June 2020: Why thirsty Arab region needs sustainable desalination tech, France24, 29 June 2020: Macron pledges €15 billion to make France’s economy greener, The National, 29 June 2020: Three-kilometre oil spill reported on Sharjah beach, Politico.eu, 30 June 2020: Berlin takes charge of Brussels’ green agenda, The Guardian, 1 July 2020: Europe losing forest to harvesting at alarming rate, data suggests, France24, 2 July 2020: Fires rage across Amazon rainforest, sparking fears of another disastrous summer season, BBC, 2 July 2020: The young people fighting the worst smog in Europe, The Guardian, 13 July 2020: Mont Blanc’s melting glacier yields time capsule of Indian history, The Hill, 18 July 2020: The Trump administration hates the National Environmental Protection Act, The Guardian, 21 July 2020: ‘More money than I can imagine’ Great Thunberg gives €1m prize to climate groups, France24, 21 July 2020: ‘We want to breathe’: Campaigns for racial, climate justice find common ground in Paris suburbs, BBC, 21 July 2020: Greta Thunberg to donate one-million-euro humanitarian prize, The Guardian, 21 July 2020: Greta Thunberg: EU recovery plan’s climate provisions are inadequate, Politico.eu, 22 July 2020: French citizens bring their climate case to Brussels, The Guardian, 25 July 2020: Biden plots $2tn green revolution but faces wind and solar backlash, The National, 26 July 2020: Oil spill on UAE coast forces closure of beach, NPR, 26 July 2020: As Texas Reels From Hurricane Damage, Hawaii Braces For Impact, The Guardian, 28 July 2020: World’s largest nuclear fusion project begins assembly in France, France24, 30 July 2020: Murders of environmental activists at record high in 2019, France24, 31 July 2020: Power from an artificial sun: Fusion reactor project aims to provide clean energy, DW, 1 August 2020: UAE launches Arab world’s first nuclear power plant, CNN, 3 August 2020: The Arab world’s first nuclear plant splits the atom, The Guardian, 6 August 2020: In tackling the global climate crisis, doom and optimism are both dangerous traps, France24, 8 August 2020: France offers aid as Mauritius declares emergency over oil leak from grounded ship, CNN, 8 August 2020: A stricken ship is leaking tonnes of fuel into the ‘pristine lagoons’ of the Indian Ocean, Politico.eu, 31 July 2020: Germany’s ‘very, very tough’ climate battle, The Guardian, 12 August 2020: Last decade was Earth’s hottest on record, DW, 12 August 2020: Oil spill disasters: Ways to limit environmental damage, The Guardian, 13 August 2020: Climate crisis: Trump exiting Paris accord will harm US economy, research shows, Der Spiegel, 13 August 2020: Bolsonaro’s Vendetta: Assault on the Rainforest Continues in the Shadow of the Pandemic, DW, 15 August 2020: Ship leaking tons of oil off Mauritius splits in two, France24, 15 August 2020: Japanese ship leaking tons of oil off Mauritius breaks in two, The Guardian, 15 August 2020: Mauritius: Grounded carrier off coast breaks apart risking ecological disaster, CNN, 16 August 2020: A rare fire tornado is spotted near a blaze in California, Los Angeles Times, 16 August 2020: Massive wildfire spawns fire tornadoes in Northern California, DW, 18 August 2020: Mauritius arrests captain of Japanese ship over oil spill, France24, 18 August 2020: Mauritius arrests captain of ship that caused major oil spill after running aground, The Guardian, 18 August 2020: Atlantic ocean plastic more than 10 times previous estimates, Politico.eu, 18 August 2020: How France’s youngest green mayor wants to transform her city, NPR, 18 August 2020: Extreme Heat And Fire Tornadoes Slow Firefighting Efforts In California, DW, 19 August 2020: Fridays for Future: Can they keep the pressure up?, CNN, 19 August 2020: Bolsonaro says reports of Amazon fires are a ‘lie.’ Evidence says otherwise, BBC, 19 August 2020: California fires: Bay Area hit by blazes forcing thousands to evacuate, CNN, 19 August 2020: Wildfires rage in Northern California, The Guardian, 19 August 2020: California wildfires Thousands evacuate as ‘siege’ of flames overwhelms state, NPR, 19 August 2020: Climate Change Lesson From California’s Blackouts: Prepare For Extremes, Politico.eu, 19 August 2020: Coronavirus could help Germany hit its emissions goals, The Washington Post, 19 August 2020: Lightning-induced wildfires rage across California amid extreme heat, dryness, The National, 19 August 2020: Green economy can drive global recovery from Covid-19, says UAE’s environment minister, DW, 21 August 2020: Merkel: Amazon deforestation threatens EU-Mercosur deal, Politico.eu, 21 August 2020: Romanian politics clash with forest protectio, NPR, 21 August 2020: 2 Hurricanes Could Form In Gulf Of Mexico Next Week — An Apparent First, The Guardian, 21 August 2020: Live: ‘We are struggling’: California under strain as fires burn area the size of Rhode Island – live, France24, 21 August 2020: Tens of thousands flee homes as deadly California wildfires rage amid heat wave, NPR, 21 August 2020: As Wildfires Continue To Spread In California, Its Governor Seeks Outside Help, The New York Times, 21 August 2020: California Seeks Help as 560 Wildfires Burn, The Washington Post, 21 August 2020: California wildfires send evacuees scrambling toward another threat: Covid-19, BBC, 22 August 2020: California fires: Governor asks Australia for help, France24, 22 August 2020: Earth Overshoot Day slightly later this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, The New York Times, 22 August 2020: How to Reverse Course on Trump’s Environmental Damage, BBC, 23 August 2020: California wildfires seen from a plane as Trump declares major disaster, NPR, 23 August 2020: Louisiana Braces For ‘One-Two Punch’ Of Storms As Marco And Laura Approach Shore, France24, 23 August 2020: Fire authorities in California ‘scrambling’ for help amid deadly blazes, The Washington Post, 23 August 2020: Hurricane warnings issued as Gulf Coast prepares for Marco and Laura, Al Jazeera, 24 August 2020: California battles more lightning wildfires as humidity helps, The New York Times, 24 August 2020: 4 Years of Catastrophic Fires in California: ‘I’m Numb’, France, 27 August 2020: Officials warn of ‘unsurvivable’ flooding as Hurricane Laura nears Gulf Coast, CNN, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura makes landfall in the US, BBC, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura causes severe damage and floods as it batters Louisiana, CNN, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura batters Louisiana, The Guardian, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura: Louisiana faces 110mph winds as storm moves deeper inland, The New York Times, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura Pounds Louisiana as One of the Most Powerful Storms to Hit U.S., The Washington Post, 27 August 2020: Laura strikes Louisiana as Category 4 storm, CNN, 27 August 2020: Hurricane Laura smashes parts of Louisiana and Texas, killing 4 and leaving widespread wind damage, France24, 28 August 2020: Hurricane Laura pummels Louisiana, killing four but sparing region the worst, Irish Times, 30 August 2020: Greta Thunberg is going back to school. What has she achieved in two years?, DW, 30 August 2020: Koblenz: civil society groups demand ‘radical’ EU farm policy reform, Irish Times, 31 August 2020: Thirty years on, Ireland’s smoky coal ban remains an urgent issue, The National, 31 August 2020: Why climate change and hurricanes are energy security concerns, The Guardian, 2 September 2020: Amazon tragedy repeats itself as Brazil rainforest goes up in smoke, CNN, 4 September 2020: One dead as firefighters battle blaze aboard oil tanker off Sri Lanka, BBC, 4 September 2020: The wind turbines standing up to the world’s worst storms, Al Arabiya, 5 September 2020: New Diamond oil tanker fire under control near Sri Lanka, ship towed away, BBC, 10 September 2020: A new island of hope rising from the Indian Ocean, DW, 11 September 2020: Germany proposes major cross-party ‘climate charter’, The New York Times, 11 September 2020: West Coast Wildfire Crisis Grows to a Staggering Scale, France24, 11 September 2020: Hundreds of thousands flee as deadly wildfires continue to ravage US West Coast, DW, 11 September 2020: Oregon wildfires: Half a million people forced to leave home, France24, 11 September 2020: Hundreds of thousands flee as deadly wildfires continue to ravage US West Coast, France24, 11 September 2020: ‘Humanity is bullying nature – and we will pay the price,’ WWF chief tells FRANCE 24, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2020: US wildfires: How climate change is spurring deadly blazes, The Guardian, 12 September 2020: Wildfires are striking closer and closer to cities. We know how this will end, France24, 12 September 2020: Officials warn of ‘mass fatalities’ in sprawling US wildfires, The Guardian, 12 September 2020: US: More than 20 believed to have died as fires rage on west coast, Politico.eu, 12 September 2020: China isn’t Europe’s ‘partner’ on climate, NPR, 12 September 2020: Wildfires Latest: Helpful Weather; Oregon Official Warns Of ‘Mass Fatality Incident’, The Washington Post, 12 September 2020: Deadly wildfires leave behind devastation, agonizing uncertainty, The New York Times, 12 September 2020: A Wildfire Season of Historic Proportions, The Guardian, 13 September 2020: Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the west – it didn’t vote for him, BBC, 15 September 2020: US West Coast fires: Trump fans flames of climate row in California, CNN, 15 September 2020: Another presidential assault on science as fires and pandemic rage, The Guardian, 15 September 2020: ‘Climate arsonist’: Biden hits out at Trump as president denies science on wildfire tour, BBC, 15 September 2020: Hurricane Sally intensifies as southern US states alert residents, The Guardian, 15 September 2020: ‘Humanity at a crossroads’: World fails to meet a single target to stop destruction of nature – UN report, The Guardian, 15 September 2020: Drought, plague, fire: the apocalypse feels nigh. Yet we have tools to stop it, Politico.com, 15 September 2020: More green deals, more global warming, NPR, 15 September 2020: Hurricane Sally Is Bringing ‘History-Making’ Rains To Gulf Coast, Forecasters Say, The New York Times, 15 September 2020: Smoke Crosses U.S. as Blazes Rage in the West, The National, 16 September 2020: Bushfires threaten to destroy Lebanon’s ancient mountain forests, The Guardian, 16 September 2020: The climate crisis is a national security threat to the US. We already see the effects, The New York Times, 16 September 2020: Hundreds Rescued as Flooding From Sally Hits Florida and Alabama, NPR, 16 September 2020: Sally Drops ‘Incredible Rainfall Totals’ On Alabama And Florida, The Guardian, 16 September 2020: Hurricane Sally: Slow-moving storm kills one and leaves ‘historic’ flooding across US Gulf coast, France24, 17 September 2020: Hurricane Sally brings ‘historic and catastrophic’ flooding to southeastern US, BBC, 17 September 2020: Hurricane Sally: Half a million left without power amid storm, DW, 17 September 2020: Hurricane Sally swamps US Gulf Coast with flooding and torrential rain, France24, 17 September 2020: Smoke from wildfires in western US tracked as far as Europe, The Atlantic, 18 September 2020: The U.S. Is on the Path to Destruction, The Guardian, 23 September 2020: ‘They’re suffering now’: Californians scramble to adapt to daily reality of climate crisis, The Guardian, 23 September 2020: Bobcat fire Firefighters start to tame enormous blaze amid calmer weather, France24, 24 September 2020: United Nations, Britain to co-host climate summit in December, The Guardian, 24 September 2020: Carbon storage technologies critical for meeting targets, says IEA, Al Arabiya, 24 September 2020: Saudi Arabia warns UN of oil spot near decaying Safer tanker off Yemen’s coast, Politico.eu, 24 September 2020: UN chief’s climate gamble pays off and leaves Trump isolated, DW, 25 September 2020: Fridays for Future: Climate strikers are back on the streets, France24, 25 September 2020: France’s ‘climate changers’: Meet the budding activists fighting for a better world, The Guardian, 25 September 2020: Young people resume global climate strikes calling for urgent action, The National, 25 September 2020: Greta Thunberg kicks off renewed youth climate protests, The New York Times, 25 September 2020: At Climate Week, America’s Cascading Disasters Dominate, The National, 28 September 2020: Boris Johnson vows to protect 30% of UK natural areas in UN pledge, The Guardian, 28 September 2020: California fires Three killed as new blazes force widespread evacuation orders, France24, 29 September 2020: Wildfires scorch California wine country, forcing thousands to evacuate, Bloomberg, 2 October 2020: What a Second Bauhaus Movement Means for Europe, The Guardian, 2 October 2020: Americans are becoming climate migrants before our eyes, The New York Times, 2 October 2020: What Made This a Record Fire Season? It Started With Lightning., Politico.eu, 7 October 2020: EU climate clash looms as Parliament backs ‘bloody hard’ emissions cuts, The Guardian, 8 October 2020: How will the pandemic affect the sprint away from fossil fuels?, Al Arabiya, 10 October 2020: Saudi Arabia launches green campaign to plant 10 mln trees in seven months, The Guardian, 10 October 2020: People, not carbon emissions, should be at the heart of the west’s climate action, Politico.eu, 11 October 2020: Lisbon city hall shows the perils and payoffs of energy upgrades, DW, 12 October 2020: Climate change triggers disasters, threatens millions – UN, France24, 13 October 2020: In Pennsylvania, fracking might not be the winning issue US presidential candidates think it is, The Washington Post, 13 October 2020: California faces stretch of ‘critical’ fire risk as heat dome builds this week, European Commission, 14 October 2020: Press statement by President von der Leyen on the New European Bauhaus, DW, 15 October 2020: EU leaders meet for tough talks on Brexit, climate, Politico.eu, 15 October 2020: EU leaders to chew over climate conflicts at summit dinner, DW, 21 October 2020: EU agriculture policy: What are the bones of contention?, Politico.eu, 21 October 2020: Europe’s green ambitions run into an old foe: Farmers, DW, 21 October 2020: Opinion: EU fails to introduce real agricultural reform, NPR, 21 October 2020: GM Reintroduces Hummer As Fully Electric Truck, First Model Will Sell For $112,595).

In view of the heated climate debate from all directions and currents, it is especially noticeable that fundamental and mutual understanding is getting more and more lost. On the one hand everyone wants to be greener than the other, on the other hand there are people who doesn’t see a no need for action at all. Ultimately, it will have to be searched for intersections to make sure to find solutions within a reasonable time frame. Of course, it is clear that neither the chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, heavy construction or construction industries are turning “green” overnight. But we can’t get rid of them anyway. It requires numerous and sometimes very expensive individual steps, until we get closer to the goals. On the other hand, looking back on just 100 years, it is worthwhile to see how far human innovation has already brought us, from the horse-drawn vehicle to semi-autonomous vehicles, from huts to automated and air-conditioned home, from numerous individual abdominal landings to self-evident flying around the globe, from the open fire in the space shared by all (including livestock) with little to no individual space to households with the maximum comfort of a digitized, automated, globalized, inclusive world. Of course, there were also mistakes. This included, among other things, the contamination of lakes and rivers with chemicals and wastes, so that they were regarded as dead, into which life is now returning and where bathing is possible (Rhine, Elbe, Danube, etc.). Everything and every development has and needs its time. Just because something is desirable from an individual point of view does not make it a mass phenomenon. From our own point of view, the example of “automation of home and building technology” can be cited, at that time operated for comfort and economic reasons, but ultimately, of course, to use resources meaningfully and only when they are actually needed. At the end of the 1990s, together with others, we intensively thought about it and tried out first practical implementations. The resulting consumer products are only beginning to gain wider market acceptance today, also because they are more affordable. So everybody can imagine how much longer it will take to take significant steps on the way to create a “green world”. Not a single product developer wakes up in the morning and thinks about how to best harm the environment today. In fact, they are often idealists who want to make the world a better place bit by bit. Sometimes the medium and long-term effects take a back seat in this process. For the most part, there are actually improvements that must be made in large numbers so that the climate goals can be achieved at all.

That is one part of the story, the other part is the social and societal component. Not everyone can afford to follow any “trend” because of the individual income situation. This applies to both private households and companies. In addition, of course, there are tangible economic interests behind the commitments on all sides. Not all who recognize the scientifically proven man-made climate change as the greatest threat to humanity does this out of conviction, but rather because their revenues and jobs depend on it. The same is true in the opposite direction. Not all those who consider scientifically proven man-made climate change to be irrelevant do so out of conviction, but rather because their revenues and jobs depend on it. Only if people understand both sides they will one end up with a solution acceptable to the majority and supported by the majority (environmental, economic and social compatibility). At first this will only be a solution for the saturated west. The countries of the west can’t deny development, comfort or prosperity to the countries of South America, Africa or Asia. The colonial times are finally largely over. The west can only help these countries to skip several stages and arrive directly in modern times. However, this requires multi-digit trillions of investments. For Germany alone, government investment of more than 50 billion is expected over the next few years. But the UN has 193 member states of different sizes, so that the trillion range is relatively quickly reached. And there are numerous questions, for example: Where should the investments come from? Who manages them? What are the rules for this? Which standards should apply? Who can receive them for what? Etc.

That may not sound very enthusiastic and perhaps does not correspond to the current zeitgeist, but tries to bring some realism into the debate. As much as the engagement of Fridays for Future and Greta Thunberg is welcomed, we should, of course, also take into account the thirst for action and the actual chances of success of the youth. From own experiences one likes to believe in this age that one can change the world for the better within three days, not least because one identifies the own bubble as “the world”. In the meantime, however, around 7.7 billion people inhabit the earth and all have to be taken along on the journey so that the project can be successful. That’s the real challenge.

This contribution is sporadically supplemented and extended.

Read more on European Green Capital Award, VOLT Europa, United Europe, Pulse of Europe.


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