Germany is launching an ambitious effort to phase out all of its coal power generation by 2038, and will close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants to reach that goal.
No further coal plants will be built and additional protections will be extended to protect the country’s forests.
The bold move, announced this past weekend by a government-appointed body known as the Coal Commission, is a strong gesture from one of the world’s top coal consumers that signals the country’s seriousness in the fight against climate change and for the adoption of renewable energy.
The plan, which Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to adopt, will also see over $45 billion committed toward easing the transition to clean energy and creating up to 5,000 new jobs in the coal-producing regions of Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The plan will see 65 to 80 percent of the country’s power come from renewable sources by 2040, with the rest likely coming from imported natural gas.
The burning of coal accounted for over 42 percent of the country’s energy in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, but it also spews huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases into the air, contributing greatly to global climate change.
Germany’s coal plants, that fuel the fourth-largest economy in the world, are presently the largest source of carbon dioxide in Europe. Germany is also the sixth biggest CO2 emitter in the world.
Following 21 hours of negotiations that ended Saturday, the chairman of the government commission, Ronald Pofalla, heralded the agreement, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“This is an historic accomplishment … It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it. There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”
Environmental group Greenpeace Germany, which participated in the Coal Commission alongside other environmental groups, welcomed the government announcement in a statement, but also criticized the 2038 goal as “unacceptable.”
In the statement, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said:
“Germany has finally stepped up and joined most of its European neighbors in setting a phase-out date for coal, and it deserves credit for that. But this target of 2038 is not going to protect Germany or other countries from the dangerous impacts of climate change. Every week we see more and more evidence that climate change is accelerating, bringing with it forest fires, violent storms and other extreme weather. That should be pushing countries to increase their ambition, deliver more and deliver it faster.”
“Switching off the last coal plant in 2038 is not fast enough to answer what tens of thousands of people have been asking when they demand a solution to the climate emergency,” Greenpeace Germany executive director Martin Kaiser said.
“We will continue to push for a faster coal phase-out, to protect the planet and people everywhere from the life-threatening impacts of climate change,” he added.
Since 2000, when Germany relied on coal for 53 percent of its power, the country has seen a boom in renewable energy technologies, with wind and solar photovoltaic growing to generate over 18 percent of its power and biofuels providing 7 percent of German energy.
The country abandoned nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and is on track to shutter its nuclear plants by 2022.
Since last year, renewable energy provided more power to Germany than coal for the first time ever.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.