Germany

An unexpected High Court ruling in the German state of North Rhein Westphalia (NRW) has blocked energy giant RWE from further destruction of the Hambacher Forest for the next couple of years. The decision has been hailed as a major victory by the newly-revitalised German environmental and climate justice movement.

The struggle to defend a 200-hectare forest has sparked Germany’s biggest environmental protests for at least a decade.

The Hambacher Forest (aka “Hambi”) is the last remaining corner of a much larger area of woodland that has been eaten up by a huge open-cut lignite mine, owned by European energy giant RWE.

Lignite is the dirtiest form of coal in terms of pollution. The lignite-fired power stations around the mine form the biggest sources of airborne pollution in the European Union.

In the Fade
Director Fatih Akin
Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto & Johannes Krisch
Released in 2017
www.inthefadefilm.com

Between 2000 and 2011, Nazi terrorists murdered and bombed immigrants in Germany without the authorities even noticing. The police were convinced it was just rival ethnic gangs quarrelling.

This film is based on that period, though not drawn from a particular event. 

The most extreme Spanish reaction to the April 5 ruling of the Higher Regional court of German state Schleswig-Holstein that freed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was from radio shock jock Federico Jiménez Losantos.

“In the Balearic Islands there are 200,000 of them [Germans] as hostages,” he railed. “In Bavaria, well in Bavaria pubs could start being blown up. So, I’m proposing action? Of course, they’ve slapped us around, they’ve given us a kick in the you-know-what.”

After 60 days of discussions, negotiations for a new governing coalition have failed in Germany, leaving the country without a government.

Last September’s general election – in which the far-right obtained an unprecedented and alarming result – left no party with an absolute majority, forcing incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel to look for partners to form a new government.

Australia’s behaviour at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (COP23) has been described as that of a bully. Australia has collected a swag of “Fossil of the Day” awards — given daily by climate activists to the country or group doing its best to stop effective action on climate change.

Australia, along with the US, has been disgracing itself in one of the most contentious areas of the climate talks, known as Loss and Damage. Other developed countries, particularly the European Union and Canada, have not been very helpful either.

Peasants, small farmers and Indigenous peoples “feed the world and cool the planet”. This is what the global peasant movement, La Via Campesina, has come to Bonn to put onto the agenda at the COP23 climate meetings — both in the official space and at the People’s Climate Summit where social movements met to strategise for alternatives to capitalism and its climate crisis.

Climate activists awarded Australia the very first “Fossil of the Day” at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, being held from November 6-17. This award is given daily to the country judged to be doing the best to block effective progress on climate change.

Australia got the award for actively supporting the development of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, particularly the Adani project. Fittingly, Australia was presented the award by Pacific Islanders, who are very vulnerable to climate change impacts.

It’s that time of year again when countries get together to discuss taking action on climate change. Progress is painfully slow at these United Nations Climate Change Conferences (known as COPs). We are up to number 23 — hence it is called COP23.

COP23, held in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, is not as significant as COP21 in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was negotiated. Much of this year’s conference is concerned with fleshing out details of the Paris Agreement, the so called rulebook, for adoption in 2018.

The picture that emerges from the German elections, held on September 24, is cause for concern on multiple fronts — especially in the surge to the neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel winning a fourth term and the clear defeat of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the shadow of a resurgent neo-Nazism casts a serious threat not only for Germany itself, but all of Europe.

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