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Renewable Energy
A wind farm in the Hesse state of Germany. Neuwieser / Flickr

German Utilities Pay Customers to Use Electricity Thanks to Renewables Surplus

This past May, Germany's renewable energy mix generated so much power that prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning grid operators were forced to pay customers to use electricity.

This coming Sunday, however, wind generation alone is forecast to hit a new record, according to data crunched by Bloomberg. This means average prices will be negative for Germany electricity customers for a whole day, not just for a few hours.

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Animals
Flying insects such as bees are important pollinators. Flickr / M I T C H Ǝ L L

German Nature Reserves Have Lost More Than 75% of Flying Insects

A new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE adds more evidence that insect populations around the globe are in perilous decline.

For the study, researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands, alongside their German and English colleagues, measured the biomass of trapped flying insects at 63 nature preserves in Germany since 1989. They were shocked to discover that the total biomass decreased dramatically over the 27 years of the study, with a seasonal decline of 76 percent and mid-summer decline of 82 percent, when insect numbers tend to peak.

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Climate
Bundesregierung / Güngör

Trump on 'Direct Collision Course' With G20 Over Climate

By Andy Rowell

So the G20 summit is starting in Hamburg in Germany, after a day of angry protests which saw dozens arrested.

As the talks commence, the new international "Climate Pariah," Donald Trump, is going to come under intense pressure from the G20 to reconsider pulling out of the Paris agreement.

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Popular

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.

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Greenpeace activists in Berlin projected an image of Donald Trump on the U.S. Embassy. Michael Sohn / DPA

World Leaders to Trump: You're on Your Own

The overwhelming global response to President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement was essentially, "Go jump in a lake"—or as one Germany tabloid succinctly phrased it in a widely circulated headline:

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Germany Breaks Record: 85% of Energy Comes From Renewables Last Weekend

Germany's "Energiewende"—the country's low-carbon energy revolution—turned another successful corner last weekend when renewable energy sources nearly stamped out coal and nuclear.

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Photo credit: RAG-AG

Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power

Germany is embarking on an innovative project to turn a hard coal mine into a giant battery that can store surplus solar and wind energy and release it when supplies are lean.

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Germany Bans Meat at Official Functions to 'Set a Good Example for Climate Protection'

Eating less meat is essential to curbing climate change, which is why Germany's Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks is only serving vegetarian food at official functions.

"We want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish," the ministry said in a statement published in The Telegraph. The ban was reportedly enacted at the end of January.

The German newspaper Bild also reported that the food served at official events should be organic, seasonal, local and only travel from short distances. Fair trade products are also preferable.

Indeed, as one of the greenest countries on the planet, the German environment ministry wants its plates to lead by example.

Slashing meat consumption saves the lives of animals, lowers our carbon footprint and leads to better health. A study from the Oxford Martin School found that diets of limited meat consumption can cut emissions by a third while saving 5 million lives, vegetarian diets could reduce emissions by 63 percent and save 7 million lives, and vegan diets could reduce emissions by 70 percent and save 8 million lives.

But what about seafood? Well, the world's appetite for fish and shrimp is also stressing out supplies. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report found that nearly 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished. Global fish consumption per capita has reached record-high levels due to aquaculture and firm demand, with the average person now eating roughly 44 pounds of fish per year compared to only 22 pounds in the 1960s, the report found.

For a meat-loving nation known for its sausages, schnitzel and cold cuts, the message was not welcomed by all.

Rival German politicians have accused Hendricks, a member of the Social Democratic Party, of forcing vegetarianism on people and leveraging the meat ban as political ammo. The Social Democrats are challenging the Christian Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, in this year's tight race for German Chancellor.

"I'm not having this Veggie Day through the back door," said Christian Schmidt, minister of food and agriculture and Christian Democrat. "I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Instead of paternalism and ideology. Meat and fish are also part of a balanced diet."

Others have also accused Hendricks of hypocrisy in that the meat ban only applies to official functions. Ministry officials would still be able to consume meat or fish in the staff canteen.

"You have to eat what's on the table according to the will of the ministry. No meat, no fish, and the cover of 'climate protection,'" Gitta Conneman, a senior MP and Christian Democrat, told Bild. "They won't save the climate by branding people who eat meat, and they know this. The ban only applies to a handful of guests, not to 1,200 employees. This is pure ideology, a 'people's education' for the diet."

But the ministry said it wants to be a "role model" and justified their provision to fight the negative "effects of the consumption of meat."

Business
The 300-passenger Coradia iLint regional train uses fuel cell technology to run up to 87 miles per hour. Alstom

World's First Zero-Emissions Hydrogen Train Unveiled in Germany

Germany will soon launch the world first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission passenger train.

The Coradia iLint, developed by French rail transport company Alstom, was presented last month at InnoTrans, the railway industry's largest trade fair.

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