Daily Archives: November 12, 2021

The EU climate deal | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryOct 26, 2021
UN climate experts say our future is threatened by rising global temperatures. We are already experiencing more heat waves, forest fires and flooding. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says it is crucial to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gases.
The European Union aims to reduce CO2 emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050, using the Green Deal as its road map. The German government has already agreed to more ambitious climate targets. By 2030, it aims to cut carbon emissions by 65 percent compared to 1990 levels. As the EU’s largest industrial nation and its biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, Germany could be a trailblazer for the rest of Europe.

The German economy faces massive restructuring. Could Germany soon be carbon neutral? Or are the climate targets just a load of hot air?

The automotive industry signals the challenges of such a transformation. In early 2021, Mercedes was still calling vehicles with gasoline-powered engines the company’s “cash machine.” Models are still being sold that weigh several tonnes and guzzle up more than 10 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. But is the end of the internal combustion engine drawing near?

Economist Claudia Kemfert says cities need to stop concentrating on individual mobility and instead focus on public transportation and the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. The expert from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) says many vehicles in cities are stationary most of the time, wasting valuable real estate that could be turned into green spaces or playgrounds. She envisions a shift from privately-owned cars to car-sharing services.

Experts agree there’s a lack of infrastructure and investment when it comes to making the transition to environmentally friendly technologies. There are too many regulatory hurdles. Gunnar Groebler, the CEO of German steelmaker Salzgitter, wants to use green hydrogen to make his company climate-friendly and equipped for the future. But he knows it won’t be easy. “There’s a chance we’ll mess it up,” says Groebler.

With the Green Deal, the EU aims to deploy new strategies and fund sustainable investments. Not everyone may be happy about it, but the transformation of the economy is gaining momentum. The plans are on the table, but the problems implementing them are also apparent. “We need to double the pace,” says German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. “The restructuring affects the whole of society.”

The truth behind fast fashion – Are fashion retailers honest with their customers? | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryOct 19, 2021
Fast fashion is cheap, worn briefly, then discarded, leaving behind mountains of used clothing. Producers and retailers promise sustainability and recycling, but how sincere is their promise to make new clothing from old?

Over 120 billion garments per year are produced worldwide, and the mountains of textile waste are growing accordingly. The fast fashion industry is responsible for a significant part of this. Where they once brought out four collections a year, cheap clothing chains now create up to 52 micro-collections annually. Environmental organizations have long criticized this waste of resources and the mountains of textile waste it produces. Greenpeace is demanding an end to our ‘addiction to fast fashion’. Fast fashion retailers promise their customers they will treat the used clothing sustainably, touting their recycling system. But the giant mounds of worn clothing are too much for second-hand traders to handle. The disposal system is about to collapse. The clothes end up being used as fuel to heat people’s homes. Which political measures are being taken to tackle the problematic flood of textile waste?

Fact vs. fake – why don’t we trust science any more? | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryOct 22, 2021Asbestos, climate change, 5G, coronavirus – the public is caught in a battle for the truth. Science is being manipulated and undermined to sway opinion and create doubt. What are the mechanisms behind it all?
Never has scientific knowledge seemed so vast, detailed and widely shared. And yet it appears to be increasingly challenged.

It’s no longer surprising to see private corporations put strategies in place to confuse public debate and paralyze political decision-making. Why did it take decades to classify tobacco as harmful? Why do people still deny human involvement in climate change? Overwhelmed by an excess of information, how can we, as citizens, sort out fact from fiction?

One by one, this film dismantles the machinations that aim to turn science against itself. With the help of declassified archives and testimonies from experts, lobbyists and politicians, this investigation plunges us into the science of doubt. Along with a team of experts, including philosophers, economists, cognitive scientists, politicians, and scholars, we explore concrete examples of how doubt can be sown, and try to understand the process.

The sound of dying ice in the Arctic | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryOct 31, 2021
Ice is melting around the world, with drastic consequences for humanity. One way scientists can work out just how fast it’s melting is by listening. The disappearing ice has its own sound.

Geophysicist Ludovic Moreau wants to get to the bottom of a mystery: Why is the pack ice in the Arctic melting faster than predicted? He and five other scientists travel to Svalbard in Norway, not far from the North Pole. On a frozen lake, they drill holes in the ice and place seismic sensors inside. The melting ice creates a sound like singing. It’s music that could help solve the mystery of the retreating pack ice.

Is green hydrogen the answer to the climate crisis? | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryNov 2, 2021
Green hydrogen produces zero emissions and many believe it holds the key to limiting global warming. So is it the big hope for the future or a multi-billion euro mistake?

Many believe green hydrogen could provide a miracle solution for countries around the world seeking to decarbonize their economies. But the technology is still in its infancy. Generating sufficient quantities of green hydrogen would require a lot more renewable energy than is currently available. Right now, almost all hydrogen is produced using natural gas in a process that generates large amounts of carbon dioxide. Green hydrogen, by contrast, is climate neutral. It’s derived using renewable energy. The principle itself is not new but has, at yet, only found limited usage. Engineers at the German Aerospace Center are now working with the world’s largest artificial sun to try to produce hydrogen without any electricity at all, using only light. If they can succeed, it would allow large-scale production of this valuable gas in countries that receive a lot of sunshine. Hydrogen is already being used as a fuel for buses, trains and cars, with hydrogen-powered planes due to follow shortly. Hydrogen is even the fuel of choice for space rockets, and German submarines glide along almost in silence thanks to hydrogen fuel cells. Manufacturers of airplanes, trucks, and even steel are investing millions in the technology, hoping that hydrogen will be the go-to fuel of a climate-neutral future. But critics warn of major challenges ahead, saying billions stand to be wasted.

Why are autocrats popular? – Assault on democracy | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryNov 6, 2021
A wave of authoritarianism is churning from East to West and assailing civil society. Autocrats are threatening democracy, while their regimes portray NGOs as Trojan horses for foreign interference.

The resurgence of authoritarianism is impacting countries across the globe, no matter what their form of government. “In the Crosshairs of the State” documents this worldwide phenomenon using the examples of India, Russia, and Poland and shows how civil society is being repressed, and what impact this can have on the future of democracy.

When populists and autocrats wield power, the first victims are civil liberties. However, regimes aren’t stopping at attacking and imprisoning activists – they go as far as criminalizing entire groups and freezing their funds. These governments are increasingly targeting NGOs and other players in civil society that demand democracy and assert human rights or protest about social grievances and environmental destruction. The methods of choice are defamation campaigns, repression, and criminalization.

In the past few years, certain countries have passed over 60 laws specifically aiming to systematically impede NGOs’ work or completely put an end to it. The root causes are wide-ranging, but it all boils down to rulers’ desire to remain in power and protect their economic interests. Beyond authoritarian wielders of power, democratic governments are increasingly clamping down on independent and critical players, too.

Are we experiencing a full-on global assault on civil society? What happens when the driving force of democracy – the people themselves – is silenced? How can we counter this development? Film director Sebastian Weis investigates these question, relating the situations in India, Russia, and Poland chapter by chapter, with each country representing an overarching issue. India faces environmental destruction, Russians are seeing human rights be eroded, and in Poland women’s rights are under attack.

Spain: Eruption on the island of La Palma | DW Documentary

DW DocumentaryNov 8, 2021
On the Spanish island of La Palma, the Cumbre Vieja volcano is spewing lava and ash, forcing residents from their homes. It’s a nightmare for the tourist destination, one of the Canary Islands off the north-west African coast. What will become of the island?

Two million years ago, the island was formed by nearby volcanoes. Today, the same phenomenon is causing many thousands of residents to fear losing their homes as lava and toxic gases pose a growing threat. One of them is Nieves Rodriguez, who says: “We have spent our whole lives here. It’s painful to give it all up.” DW’s Norman Striegel spoke with numerous residents, as well as those offering help. He also met one or two people who are traveling to the island right now, to watch the volcano in action.

COP26 Glasgow: Ice Scientists Dancing in Front of Tobleromes is the True Cause of Arctic Warming

Paul BeckwithNov 12, 2021
Today is the official last day of COP26.

I presented earlier on Eco-Migration for the Climate Emergency Forum.

As I wander the exhibit halls I discovered the true cause of Arctic warming amplification. Not albedo loss from declining snow cover or sea ice loss. Not warming atmosphere or warming oceans.

It is anthropogenic, and due to ice scientists dancing and causing tremendous warming, as they celebrate what exactly?

You can tell they are scientists, since the dance moves are somewhat jerky and stilted, and indicate too much time on the ice or in the lab.

Perhaps they are just glad to see the end of COP26. Perhaps it goes deeper, to the bottom of the ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica.

Perhaps they don’t realize yet that they will all need new professions soon as the ice all vanishes.

PS: the displays in the Cryosphere booth are known as “toblerones” since they look just like giant versions of those chocolate bars:)

Canada and the United States: Exploring New Nuclear

WoodrowWilsonCenterNov 12, 2021
Leaders and representatives from almost every state in the world will meet in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, 2021 for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). The United States and Canada, both parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), are faced with the challenge of meeting climate change commitments while sustaining jobs in the energy sector. Nuclear energy, responsible for approximately 52% of carbon-free energy in the United States and 15% of all energy in Canada, will be critical for clean energy security in both states.

‘We Don’t Believe You,’ Climate Activist Tells COP26 Leaders

NowThis NewsNov 12, 2021
24-year-old Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate called out world leaders at COP26. Nakate reiterated to the crowd that the trend she sees at every COP is that leaders make promises and pledges, yet global emissions continue to rise. ‘We are drowning in promises. Commitments will not reduce CO2. Promises will not stop the suffering of the people. Pledges will not stop the planet from warming, only immediate and drastic action will pull us back from the abyss.’

Nakate said that leaders at the conference are calling it a success when she sees the situation differently. She directly called out people for specifically flying into the conference on their private jets while spitting out facts. ‘We have some who are already starting to call COP26 a success, but a few days ago, a Climate Action Tracker report showed that COP26 is actually putting us on a pathway for a 2.4 degrees celsius world.’ Nakate received a round of applause and has been praised for her speech.