Dear Readers,

it has become almost impossible to ignore the worrying state of our planet. As soon as the temperatures exceed 20 degrees, forests and moors are burning in Germany, and the Helmholtz Centre's drought monitor is getting redder by the day. In other countries, such as southern Europe, a devastating drought has been raging for months, and in New York, people have been breathing the harmful smoke from Canada's wildfires since this week. "Honestly, it makes you queasy," tweeted ZDF correspondent Johannes Hano from New York.

You can also get queasy about the state of the art of global climate protection. Until the end of next week, the UN Climate Change Conference will take place in Bonn, where the major climate conference COP28 in December is being prepared. On Thursday, the researchers participating in Bonn presented a depressing analysis.

»Unprecedented warming«

Greenhouse gas emissions are not even close to decreasing – they are even "at an all-time high" and causing unprecedented global warming, some 50 leading scientists write in an analysis published in the journal Earth System Science Data. Their assessments are something like the current water level on the question of how much and fast emissions are rising and how this affects global temperatures. Over the past ten years, for example, there have been record emissions of an average of 54 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

From 2013 to 2022, the warming caused in this way reached an average of 1.14 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. In addition, it is now rising at a rate of over 0.2 degrees per decade. However, as emissions also continue to rise, the temperature target of 1.5 degrees set out in the Paris Climate Agreement is likely to be reached even faster.

It is also often forgotten that regional warming is increasing even more strongly in so-called climate hotspots, for example in Europe. Over the past 30 years, temperatures here have risen more than twice as fast as the global average, and no other continent has warmed so fast, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported last November. In the period from 1991 to 2021, temperatures in Europe rose by an average of 0.5 degrees per decade.

Which gives a little hope: After all, there are first indications that at least this increase in emissions has slowed down.

Western countries are also producing more oil and gas

At the UN conference in Bonn, however, there are no signs of a rapid turnaround. The organization Climate Action Tracker (CAT) also said on Thursday that even fewer countries than last year had improved their climate targets so far. In total, there are only four, Germany is not included, but Turkey, for example. Otherwise, we are still on a 2.7-degree path by the end of the century – at least if you assume what politicians around the world are really implementing in terms of climate protection. And after all the full-bodied promises of the past few years, this is probably the only realistic measure.

CAT's figures regarding the main causes of the climate crisis: the extraction and burning of fossil fuels were also exciting. According to the organization, not only oil states such as Saudi Arabia or countries dependent on gas exports such as Russia are increasing their production, but also countries such as the USA, Norway, Canada and Australia, which are supposedly so committed to climate protection. They continue to churn out government money into the sector. The U.S. has also more than doubled its oil production since 2010 and increased gas production by 60 percent, while Australia's liquefied natural gas production is expected to increase by 2020 percent between 2030 and 11. And the green e-car country Norway produces ten times its domestic emissions from its oil and gas exports.

This shows that even if you focus on climate protection domestically, it is of no use if oil and gas continue to be produced or if a state still spends taxpayers' money on climate-damaging subsidies. "Richer countries must take a pioneering role here and set phase-out dates for the entire production of fossil fuels," said Mia Moisio of the NewClimate Institute in Bonn.

But it doesn't look like that right now. For Germany, too, it is still unclear whether the government really wants to get out of financing fossil fuel projects abroad.

Oil rules the world – and now also the climate negotiations?

It is also unlikely that this year's UN climate conference in Dubai in December will make progress on fossil fuel subsidies or a reduction in oil and gas production. The UN has really done itself a disservice by choosing this host country. Since COP28 President Al Jaber is himself a CEO of one of the largest oil companies, there is unlikely to be a commitment to exit. The net profit of his company Adnoc increased by more than 30 percent in the previous year alone.

Even now, it looks more as if Jaber will not be able to dispel the doubts about a conflict of interest from the outset. This week, the British "Guardian" revealed that emails to and from the office of the next climate summit, COP28, could also be read by Adnoc. Is the oil company now involved in the negotiations? The impression was imposed. At the very least, it would be a unique opportunity for a fossil fuel company to gain access to the entire UN climate diplomacy cosmos.

The COP28 office then claims that its email system is "self-contained" and "separate" from Adnoc's. But the »Guardian« also has IT specialists. They were able to find out that the office did share e-mail servers with Adnoc.

Allegedly, COP28 office has since moved to another server. In addition, there are apparently a lot of fake accounts on Twitter that act as vehement advocates of the hosts of the UN climate summit by the United Arab Emirates. This was revealed by Marc Owen Jones of Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, an expert on disinformation in the Middle East. He sees the campaign as "a large, multilingual astro-turfing campaign" that includes at least 100 fake accounts and 30,000 tweets.

Some of the accounts have since been deleted. A COP28 spokesperson once again denied any responsibility for the Twitter accounts. Nevertheless, the credibility of the hosts has been damaged – and the hot phase of negotiations has not even begun yet.

If you like, we will inform you once a week about the most important things about the climate crisis – stories, research results and the latest developments on the biggest topic of our time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

The topics of the week

Decline in sea ice area: Arctic will probably soon be ice-free in summer Even with low emissions, the Arctic could experience ice-free
summers as early as the thirties. Researchers in the new study warn that we need to prepare for changing ecosystems as quickly as possible.

The British »Guardian« made a request to the office of the UN Climate Change Conference – which ended up with the state oil company of the United Arab Emirates. The revelation proves Sultan Al Jaber's conflicts of interest.

Germany in the climate crisis: Will only low-water ships soon sail on the Rhine, Ms. Klippel?
Drought, heat, heavy rainfall: extreme weather is already damaging Germany's infrastructure. That's why BASF is relying on a special vessel. Climate expert Lara Klippel tells us what changes are still to come.

Satellite image of the week: How what was once the world's largest iceberg fell apart
Only a pitiful remnant of the initially huge iceberg A-76 remains. Images from Nasa show what an astonishing route a fragment has taken over the years.

Federal Environment Agency's figure on particulate matter: wood-burning stoves just as harmful as road traffic According to the Federal Environment Agency, wood-fired heating systems account for almost 20 percent of particulate matter emissions – equivalent to road traffic
emissions. The head of the authority is calling for stricter standards.

Consequences of the climate crisis: Record heat in China puts pressure on power grids Large parts of Asia have
been suffering from heat waves since March, and this week China also experienced new maximum temperatures. In the next few days, the 40-degree mark will probably be exceeded again.

Consumption in the climate crisis: How beef from the deforested rainforest ends up in Europe
The global hunger for beef is killing the rainforest in Brazil. Research now shows that the meat from the illegally cleared areas is probably also bought by German companies such as Tönnies.

Stay confident,

Yours, Susanne Götze,
Editor, Science