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Germany’s far-right AfD warms to climate change denial

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GERMANY

BERLIN: They deny global warming, oppose wind farms, defend diesel engines and coal mines, and mock teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as a green “cult” leader.
Politicians of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have discovered climate change denial in their campaign for European Parliamentary elections.
In times of bitter social polarisation, the AfD has trained its sights on those voters who see ecological issues as an elitist concern that kills jobs and hurts the industry.
It has become the AfD’s third major issue after it protested eurozone bailouts and then Europe’s migrant influx — both of which have lost much of their potential to energize angry voters.
“We would be crazy to ignore this topic,” party leader Joerg Meuthen told the Spiegel daily. “As a politician, you have to address the issues that people worry about.”
Stella Schaller of Berlin’s Adelphi environmental policy think-tank said the AfD was indeed addressing an issue on many voters’ minds, but with “an anti-liberal, anti-scientific ideology”.
“The past two months have seen a significant increase in the number of Facebook posts from the AfD on the environment, climate, and energy,” she told AFP.
“Populist parties, with their rejection of progressive climate policy, appeal to those who feel a diffuse fear of the future or who fear profound transformative change.”
A handy target has been Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist behind the “Fridays for Future” movement.
Meuthen recently mocked “the holy Greta of Sweden”, saying she had paid a “high-level state visit” to the European Parliament and “granted an audience” with the Pope.
The party’s co-leader Alexander Gauland asserted that the “Greta cult is reminiscent of collective hysteria in the Middle Ages”.
Gauland predicted the rise of renewable energy would turn Europe into a “deindustrialized settlement region covered in wind farms”, which the party has also protested against.
Meuthen told AFP that climate change had become “a kind of replacement religion”, while on social media the party has attacked the “CO2 cult” and “climate brainwashing”.
AfD social media posts mentioned climate fewer than 300 times in 2017-18, but that figure more than tripled over the past year, said a study by Greenpeace Unearthed and the counter-extremism Institute of Strategic Dialogue.
The party has worked closely with the so-called European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), which asserts on its website that “not the climate is under threat, but our freedom”.
Another AfD battle cry has been to “save diesel” – an emotive issue in car-mad Germany, where thousands of motorists are furious about the crisis sparked by auto giant Volkswagen’s use of emissions cheating software.
In its wake, several cities have banned diesel cars, accelerating the demise of the technology and depressing the resale value of millions of cars.
According to the AfD’s election program, “millions of diesel drivers were expropriated” because the government, mainstream parties, and the EU have branded the internal combustion engine as outdated.
In Stuttgart, home of iconic automakers Daimler and Porsche, yellow-vested protesters have held “diesel demos”, some carrying AfD placards with adhesive tape obscuring the party logo at the request of rally organizers.
On the European level, the AfD is not alone: a study by the Adelphi institute found that most right-wing populists either see climate change as unimportant, deny its existence or believe it is not man-made.
Seven of the 21 parties the study examined were rated as “deniers and skeptics”, among them the AfD, Britain’s UKIP and the Freedom Party of Austria.
Another 11 parties either had no explicit position on climate change or attach little importance to it, including the National Rally in France, Italy’s Lega Nord and Poland’s Law and Justice party.
In general, the study found, “right-leaning populist parties, claiming to speak for the ‘true interest of the common people’, often oppose climate and energy transition policies”.

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Climate ministry for fuel cars conversion over electric technology: Official

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electric vehicle charging

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) has held discussions with oil marketing companies (OMCs) on electric car policy phase-wise conversion from fuel cars to electric technology.

In an interview, an official of the ministry Tuesday said after the approval of the prime minister Imran Khan to form a policy framework for introducing electric vehicles, the ministry had expedited its efforts to take all relevant stakeholders in the loop.

“During the recent consultative session with OMCs the ministry has requested the companies to send their inputs over the matter within a week so that the policy formation to be carried out in the right direction,” he added.

He said everything was at the initial stages as the policy had to seek approval from the federal cabinet and Economic Coordination Committee, adding, “Likewise implementation mechanism will be developed.”

The ministry aimed at initiating conversion process from two wheels and three wheels transportation sources namely motorbikes and rickshaws then it would focus on the four wheels including cars and buses, he added.

He underscored that Research and Development Engineering Company Lahore was working on electric cars and had developed an indigenous electric bike equipment of Rs65,000 cost.

“The fully charged electric bike has the capacity to run for 125 kilometers.The company claims that if government assists the firm then the price could be managed at a lower rate,” he added.

The MoCC official said the regulatory framework for electric cars would also be developed whereas our target was to acquire the capacity of local manufacturing of electric cars along with indigenous potential for exporting this technology.

“The conversion of fuel using automobile to electric cars will help us to fulfill our Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. We have pledged to reduce vehicular emissions under the agreement,” he mentioned.

“Almost 43 per cent vehicular emissions are contributing to the overall ambient air pollution prevailing across the hotspots of the country. Electric cars will reduce the impact of oil consumption bill on our economy with the general consumers to get benefit at the basic level. It has 1/4 times less fuel cost as compared to oil using automobiles. Lahore University of Management Sciences has a thorough research work over electric cars and is in close coordination with the ministry to develop its policy framework,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Environment

Heatwave persists in Sindh

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Heatwave

SUKKUR: Heatwave continued in northern Sindh including Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Ghotki, Kashmore- Kandhkot and other parts on Friday.

A number of heat-related cases were reported in hospitals from various parts of the northern Sindh. Weather severity increased incidents of sun-stroke, which forced affectees to rush to public and private hospitals for treatment.

According to the Met Office, the current wave of heat is expected to decrease within the next two or three days. There were also reports of power outages in the region.

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World’s highest operating weather stations installed on Mt. Everest

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Himalya

ISLAMABAD: The National Geographic Society has announced the successful installation of the worlds highest operating weather stations on Mount Everest to provide researchers, climbers, and the public with near real-time information about mountain conditions, the media reported.
“The multi-disciplinary team installed the world’s two highest operating automated weather stations at Balcony area (8,430 m) and South Col (7,945 m), as well as three other weather stations on Mount Everest,” Fae Jencks, Director, Marketing and Communications at the National Geographic Society, said in a statement.
The other stations were placed at Phortse (3,810 m), Everest Base Camp (5,315 m) and Camp II (6,464 m), the statement said, adding that each weather station will record data on temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, The Himalayan Times reported.
Data from the weather stations and other new research conducted as part of National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest will help communities respond to climate risks that threaten the lives and livelihoods of the more than one billion people in the region.
The successful installation aims to break new ground in our monitoring and understanding of climate change as the stations will help continuously monitor the upper reaches of the atmosphere, which is critical to tracking and predicting weather patterns around the globe, the statement added.
“The Balcony weather station is the first weather station installed at an elevation above 8,000 meters, meaning it will also be the first to sample the stratosphere as natural variations in the atmospheric boundaries change over time.”
From April to June, an international team of scientists, climbers, and story-tellers, led by the NatGeo Society and Tribhuvan University and supported in partnership with Rolex, conducted a scientific expedition to Everest, believed to be the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to the mountain in history, it claimed.
With team members from eight countries, including 17 Nepali researchers, the expedition team conducted trailblazing research in five areas of science that are critical to understanding environmental changes and their impacts: biology, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and mapping.

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