3 times Sustainability in the Local News

1) The Air Berlin & Niki bankruptcy:

There is a lot to say about this as a sustainability advocate:

  • Subsidising airlines is a prime example of the state providing subsidies which have adverse effects on sustainability. No surprise Germany is now officialy scraping the 2020 climate goals.
  • Subsidising airlines and regional airports is the main reason why flying can be cheaper than taking the train in Europe: recall that airlines don’t pay VAT, fuel taxes or emmission certificates, and most German regional airports receives millions of Euros of subsidies every year; recall that train operators pay VAT, fuel taxes and in German even a contribution to support renewable energies.
  • We need to support Air Berlin to have a competitor to Lufthansa in order to have cheap prizes? Why did nobody think about supporting Locomore when they went bankrupt? That would have been the only competitor to Deutsche Bahn on the railway network.
  • And why do you all complain that your flights from Berlin to Zurich are too expensive now? Take the night train!
  • Flights from Berlin to Stuttgart are too expensive? Take the ICE!

2) Germany is holding the world record for production of electronics garbage. Yes, even more than the US. So much about the way you’re always looking down at the US – maybe we Europeans should also be a bit more self-critical?

3) Stuttgarts eternal smog problem: the mayor declares „In the cities there is not better solution than the electromobility to quickly reduce the pollution problem.“

The electric car – Oh yes? What about removing cost-free parking lots and making users pay? What about removing parking lots and building bike lanes instead? Maybe promote at least electric scooters instead of electric cars? What about cheaper, denser, more frequent, more reliable public transport?

Car trains in France/Autozug in Frankreich

»Autozug« bedeutet in Frankreich: ein Zug nur für die Autos der Kunden. Die Kunden selbst reisen mit TGV, IC oder Nachtzug voraus oder hinterher.
Die SNCF will jetzt aber die Kundenautos auf der Straße transportieren – und zwar nicht unbedingt im LKW, sondern auf eigenen Reifen per Chauffeur (!!!).

So much about reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Europe!

Dagegen – und auf den Erhalt der Autobeförderung im Zug – richtet sich eine Petition, die noch weite Verbreitung gebrauchen kann.
In France, »Service Auto/Train« means that you take a TGV, IC or night train and your car takes another train. But now, SNCF will send your car to the road. Either on a truck or driven by a professional driver. Not kidding 
There is a petition for saving the trains for car service that needs some support – please consider signing here:

Club of Rome

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/club-of-rome-was-ist-wichtiger-wohlstand-oder-umweltschutz-1.3792401

We have to look at our consumption: the rich countries have enormous ecological footprints. Now the poorer countries are catching up quickly. That is in principle great. But if the 7.5 billion people on the planet lived like US-Americans (or for that matter, Europeans) we would need 5 planets.

It could sound as if we wanted to stop the people from developing countries from reaching our Western standard of living. But the West has to correct its model of wealth. Away from splurge. Exploitation of nature has to become more expensive.

Vienna – Zurich (one way) by train

I am taking the night train (ÖBB nightjet) from Vienna to Zurich today. So let us take this as an opportunity to compare the carbon footprint (all numbers for the one-way trip!):

  • Driving from Vienna to Zurich takes 7h 30min, costs 80-120 Euro, and produces 122kg of CO2.
  • Flying from Vienna to Zurich takes 4h 11 min, costs 65-288 Euro, and produces 162kg of CO2.
    Compensating this amount of CO2 on atmosfair costs 5 Euro.
  • Taking the day train from Vienna to Zurich takes 7h 50min during the day, costs 39 Euro, and produces almost no CO2 (in Austria and Switzerland most electricity comes from water power).
  • Taking the night train from Vienna to Zurich takes 10h 50min, you have a safe and cozy bed, and the bed in the 4-bed compartment costs 89 Euro. And again: it produces almost no CO2.
    You leave at 21:27 and arrive at 8:20: you practically don’t loose any time, you spend the trip sleeping.

Night Trains 2018 & The Hypocrisy in the Air Berlin and Niki Bankruptcy

Every year in December a new train schedule  becomes valid in Europe.

And of course, as every year, a lot of night trains are cut. This year in particular in Eastern Europe, which for a long time had had a very stable and dense night train network. The European policy of subsidising air travel is taking its toll. Particularly noteworthy: The loss of the EuroNight „Metropol“ which used to connect Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. In a time where Air Berlin and Niki go bankrupt and people complain about expensive flight tickets „Das Buchungssystem ist schuld: So erklärt Lufthansa die rasant steigenden Flugpreise.“
where in Vienna there are protests agains a new runway for the airport, and where the whole world complains about Trump leaving the Paris agreement: in this time Europe does not mind when its only ecological mode of transportation breaks down completely. Europe is saying a lot of nice words, but the actual politics is hardly better than Trump’s. The European laugh about Trump but care about the climate just as little as he does, in all of their daily decisions.

The German parliament supports a proposal by the government which reads as follows:

1. als Vertreter des Bundes gegenüber dem Vorstand der DB AG anzuregen, dass die bisherigen Kooperationen auch in den kommenden Jahren aufrechterhalten werden und eine regelmäßige Überprüfung zur Ausweitung der Streckenangebote gerade im grenzüberschreitenden Nacht- und Autoreisezugverkehr auch in kooperativer Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Bahnunternehmen erfolgt;
[Translation: to maintain existing cooperations in the next years and check whether the international night train network can be extended in cooperations]

2. sicherzustellen, dass den potentiellen Betreibern neuer Nachtzugstrecken weiterhin ein gesetzlich vorgeschriebener fairer und diskriminierungsfreier Zugang zur Schieneninfrastruktur ermöglicht wird;
[to ensure that potential operators of night trains have fair access to the railway network]

3. sich auf EU-Ebene für Rahmenbedingungen einzusetzen, die bestehende administrative, technische und wettbewerbliche Hemmnisse eines grenzüberschreitenden Schienenpersonenverkehrs abbauen, damit auch der Nachtzugverkehr profitiert;
[to encourage on EU level conditions which reduce administrative, technical and competitive problems of international railway travel, so that also the night trains profit]

Maintain existing cooperations and provide fair access to the railway network? The EuroNight „Metropol“ is cancelled because German network access fees are too high!

To reduce competitive problems? Airlines already don’t pay VAT, energy taxes and fuel taxes, whereas railway operators pay the full amount. But nevertheless the government feels responsible to keep airline ticket prices low if there is a bankrupt airline! Did the government give a fuck about Locomore going bankrupt?

Dear government: you should be happy if Niki and Air Berlin are bankrupt and airline tickets become more expensive: the only way you can possibly keep your climate promises!

And by the way: Lufthansa ticket prices increased by about 30% when Air Berlin stopped operating. Immediately, train bookings went up by 10%. Imagine airlines would start to pay 19% VAT, plus fuel taxes, plus emission certificates! Imagine at the same time, subsidies for non-profitable regional airports would be cut (11 Billion Euro in Germany!) and invested in the railway network, so that delays reduce to a Swiss or Japanese standard. Imagine railway operators would be freed from VAT, fuel taxes, emission certificates. Imagine there would be a fee for using streets, at the same price as the fee for using railway tracks. We could immediately move 30% of all traffic on to the railways, in the long run probably 50%!
But the reality is going to look different: the government is going to encourage electric cars (a homoeopathic improvement) and Google is going to provide us with self-driving cars – and once we have self-driving cars, we will shut down the railways because their last advantage in Germany is going to be gone!

Petition: Night trains to Spain

While in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland a rudimentary night train network continues to exist, there is no possibility anymore to get from Germany, Switzerland or Italy to Spain in a comfortable, fast, and environment-friendly way. That used to be different!

The Trenhotel nighttrains with the ‘Elipsos’ brand use to cover Madrid-Paris, Barcelona-Paris, Barcelona-Milan and Barcelona-Zurich.

The trains disappeared in 2013. The ‘Elipsos’ were the most comfortable night trains in Europe, using Talgo trains of the last generation.

The aim of this petition is to re-establish the connection from Spain to Europe using the Talgo trains which currently rest in a state of semi-abandonment.

Read the full explanation and then sign the petition:
https://back-on-track.eu/let-the-international-trains-to-from-spain-return/

Directly to the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/renfe-operadora-que-vuelvan-los-trenes-internacionales

Germany: the Climate Lie

„Für jede in Deutschland durch den Biodiesel eingesparte Tonne Kohlendioxid werden in Indonesien bis zu 30 Tonnen freigesetzt. “

„For every ton of carbon dioxide saved in Germany by using bio-fuel (biodiesel made from vegetable oils) there are 30 tons of CO2 produced in Indonesia.“

This is because Germany needs so much fuel, that it has to import palm oil — which is grown in Indonesian plantations in areas that used to be rainforest before, and the rainforest when being burned to free the ground emitts enormous amounts of CO2.

Biofuel is green washing at its worst. Supported by the German government (headed by the CDU and Angela Merkel, the „climate chancelor“), even though the disastrous consequences are by now well know.

http://www.zeit.de/2017/45/angela-merkel-erderwaermung-klimawandel-klimaziele/komplettansicht

Vienna – Munich: by train

According to Rome2Rio (all numbers for the round trip):

  • Driving from Vienna to Munich takes 4h 11min, costs 45-65 Euro, and produces 136kg of CO2.
  • Flying from Vienna to Munich takes 4h 1 min, costs 69-287 Euro, and produces 216kg of CO2.
    Compensating this amount of CO2 on atmosfair costs 10 Euro.
  • Taking the train from Vienna to Munich takes 3h 55min, costs 50-85Euro, and produces almost no CO2 (in particular in Austria, where about 75% of the electricity come from water power).

You choose.

And: you get to see a lot of snow if you take the train (might be almost the last snow in Europe if we continue heating up the planet…)

Energy consumption 2017: +6% jet fuel use!

German Energy Consumption 2017 is 1% over the 2016 Energy Consumption

Why?

Particularly important contributions are:

  • a 2.1% increase in the use of Lignite (brown coal) for electricity production
  • 3.1% increase in Diesel use
  • 2.4% increase in gasoline use
  • 5% increase in heating oil use
  • 6% increase in jet fuel use

Now while we all agree that the continued used of brown coal is a huge ecological sin, why don’t we think so about jet fuel? Flying to another continent once or twice a year for holiday is becoming the general life style of the young urban educated citizens – those that all immediately agree that we have to stop burning brown coal! But while at least for brown coal an end is in view and in planning, there is no end in sight for aviation. Not only does the use of jet fuel increase, also the rate of increase is increasing, i.e. the jet fuel use is increasing faster and faster.

So while we all agree that brown coal use is a scandal – what about our next weekend trip to Barcelona? What about our next holiday in Indonesia?

Politically- we need to tax aviation now, with VAT and fuel taxes! We need to invest into a faster, cheaper, more comfortable and reliable railway network.
But also all of us personally- we have to stop flying so much. We have to go through the slight discomfort of spending 5h30 on a train instead of flying from Berlin to Stuttgart!

There is no hope for the climate if we don’t choose political change, but there is also no hope for the climate if we do not tolerate at least a slight decrease in living standard! We have to live in smaller appartments, drive less and in smaller cars, and: fly less!

Data:

https://ag-energiebilanzen.de/#quartalsbericht_q3_2017

With a readable summary on:

https://www.piqd.de/klimawandel/der-energieverbrauch-in-deutschland-schon-wieder-gestiegen?ref=dailydigest&utm_campaign=viewpiq&utm_content=2017-11-29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dailydigest_contenttable

Hypocrites

97% of all Germans agree that we have to do something about our environment.
70% declare that they would be willing to take the bike more often.
So how comes that the number of SUVs is exploding? How comes a third of all citizens never uses any form of public transportation? How comes we fly even from Hamburg to Munich?

It is not the fault of the uneducated and the uninformed. You all, that care so much, that buy organic food and fairphones, that shop for second hand clothes, eat only BIO-organic local produce burgers, what is your ecological footprint? You are the ones that fly for a weekend to Spain, visiting your international friends, and trying the BIO-organic burgers in Barcelona. You, the young, smart, educated, probably have among the biggest ecological footprint of all (yes, even if you live in a vegan appartment in Berlin and hate SUVs, even if you are very convinced that we should please shut down the dirty coal power plants)!

So- stop the hypocrisy. Be honest to yourself. No new phone is better than a new fairphone. No new clothes is better than fair clothes. And your holiday flight is beyond everything – even if the destination is a super-eco-lodge in the Amazon rainforest!

Deutschland – Land der Umweltheuchler