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Germany Breaks Record: Produces 35% of Electricity From Renewables so Far This Year
Germany has broken another renewable energy record but officials say there's still room for improvement. The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) reported Sunday that the combined share of renewable energy in the electricity, transport and heating sectors was 15.2 percent in the first half of 2017, up from 14.8 percent during the same period last year.
For the electricity sector alone, renewables supplied a record 35 percent of the country's power in the first six months of 2017, about a 2 percent increase from 2016's numbers. To compare, renewables accounted for only 15 percent of the United States' total electricity generation in 2016.
Despite the new benchmark, BEE acting managing director Harald Uphoff told DW that Germany's transition to clean energy across all sectors is not happening fast enough. The BEE report showed that renewables provided only 5.1 percent of energy consumed in the transport sector and 13.6 percent in heating.
"It is only with a much greater commitment to the spread of renewable energy sources—for electricity as well as for heating and transport—that we will be able to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and reach the renewable-energy targets demanded by the EU," he said. "Climate protection and economic development must no longer be seen as mutually exclusive."
As a whole, the European Union has a target of sourcing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2020. But according to the World Economic Forum, only 11 out of the 28 member states have achieved their national targets. Germany is about 3 percentage points off its 2020 objective of 18 percent renewables in end energy consumption.
However, in comparison to other large world economies, Germany is a renewable energy all star. On a particularly sunny and windy day in late April, Germany's mix of solar, wind, biomass and hydropower produced a stunning 85 percent of the country's electricity.
The country intends to completely phase out its nuclear power stations by 2022 and plans to reach 80 percent renewables for gross power consumption by 2050.
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Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.