Weekly Urbanauth 32: A hot month and evacuation of houses

Week Review 1

The most important news at a glance – Our weekly press review of the calendar week 31/32. From the hottest month to several evacuations of house projects – Our summary of the most important news.

City and Environment

July 2019 hottest month in Western Europe since start of measurements

The WWA (World Weather Attribution) already published on 02.08.19 a report on the contribution of climate change to extremely high temperatures in some European countries. In Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, temperatures climbed above 40 °C in the last week of July for the first time since measurements began. In the UK, the duration of the heat wave was shorter, but historical highs were also recorded. These even exceeded the temperatures of the devastating heat wave in August 2003. The report also states that without man-made climate change in the same period, temperatures in Western Europe would have been about 1.5 – 3 °C colder.

Planned tax on CO2 emissions unconstitutional

As reported by Focus Online on 08.08.19, the German Bundestag is considering introducing a tax on CO2 to get emissions under control. However now the lawyers of the Bundestag found out that this introduction would be unconstitutional. In order to introduce such a tax a change of the Basic Law would be necessary. This is only possible with a majority of 2/3 but there is resistance from the FDP. The chairwoman of the finance committee in the Bundestag, Bettina Watzinger, told the “Wirtschaftswoche”, an expansion of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme would be “clearly the better solution”. Also “die Union” is against a CO2 tax. Sebastian Brehm, rapporteur of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag for energy taxation wants to “set rather positive incentives” instead of “punishing the citizens over an additional taxation”. Basically he adresses bonuses, e.g. for the replacement of old heating systems or for the switch to low-emission cars.

Black Rock loses about $90 billion due to fossil energy investments

The Guardian published an article on the unsustainable investment strategy of Black Rock, the world’s largest asset manager, on July 31. BlackRock, a group that is also the largest shareholder in many DAX companies in Germany, has lost about $90 billion in the last decade. This loss arose because the group had ignored financial risks when investing in fossil fuels. Investments in large oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP were responsible for much of the loss. Taking all BlackRock funds together, the result is an economic power greater than that of Japan, the third strongest economy in the world. For example, Tim Buckley, an IEEFA director and co-author of the report, says BlackRock’s huge weight means the company should take responsibility for leading the climate crisis. So far the company has failed to grow by investing in clean energy.

City and Man

Warning from Beijing towards Hong Kong

We have already conducted an interview with a person living there at the beginning of the protest movement against the extradition law. In the meantime the city is for now 2 months in the protest condition and an end is not yet in view. The protests are considered to be the most extensive since the 4th of June 1989 in Beijing. At that time the government had intervened violently. On Tuesday the Tagesschau reported that Beijing issued a clear warning to violent demonstrators. Hong Kong authority spokesman Yang Guang said the violent demonstrators should not underestimate the power of police and justice in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Asked whether the Chinese People’s Liberation Army would interfere in the protests, the spokesman said the army was strong and would defend every corner of China, but would abide by the law. He also said the Hong Kong authorities would be able to bring the situation under control. We will keep on reporting.

“Die Elster” in Cologne was evacuated

The occupation of Elster 230 at Vogelsangerstraße 230 in Cologne was evacuated by the police (3rd of August 2019). The vacant building belongs to Deutsche Bahn and is located in the Ehrenfeld district in the direct vicinity of the Kolbhalle, a site occupied by artists. The occupation of the Elster took place on the 19th of July. The idea of establishing a queer feminist centre quickly developed. Agisra e.V., a counselling centre for refugees or women affected by violence, was to be provided with premises, while the living quarters were occupied by homeless women. On the same day, the “Zentrale” in Münster, a squatted building at the old goods station, was vacated.

Paris – 150 people suddenly homeless

In Saint-Ouen (93) a banlieue of Paris, 150 refugees of Latin American origin were put on the streets on 30 July during the evacuation of a occupied hall. The building is located opposite the famous football stadium Doctor Bauer and houses the Red Stars, a cult club comparable to the Hamburg St. Pauli. The city had bought the site at the beginning of the year. In an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien the mayor rejected any responsibility and refused dialogue with the now homeless people.

Our press review is available in German and French.