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- Anger over overfished coasts
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In the German debate, some consider e-fuels for combustion cars an important alternative to EVs. China, on the other hand, has so far focused entirely on the battery for the future of automobiles. From Beijing’s point of view, e-fuels and other alternative fuels are particularly interesting for reducing emissions in air traffic, as Frank Sieren writes. However, the technology is still in its infancy in China, just as it is worldwide, due to high costs and limited availability of raw materials. But there are first pilot projects and companies are already securing access to raw materials for bio-kerosene.
Meanwhile, a new conflict is brewing between China and the USA – over deep-sea fishing. China’s fleet is now active around the globe, as a recent tragic accident involving the deaths of 39 sailors in the middle of the Indian Ocean demonstrated. Global fishing in itself is not the problem, but there is growing criticism of the Chinese fleet’s practices, as Joern Petring explains. China’s fleet is increasingly accused of so-called IUU fishing, which stands for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The US now intends to take action against China’s problematic fishing practices and has already imposed sanctions on two Chinese fishing companies. Conversely, Beijing accuses US fishermen of illegal fishing on the high seas. It remains to be seen how the dispute will end. Meanwhile, overfishing is affecting marine ecosystems all over the world.
Beijing still reluctant about e-fuels
Some representatives of the German automotive industry are demanding the option of using carbon-neutral e-fuels. Proponents believe that the combustion engine should be given a chance to coexist with electric cars under the credo of “technology openness.” BMW CEO Oliver Zipse, for example, is concerned about the future of the 260 million vehicles in Europe that still have combustion engines: “The main impact of e-fuels is on existing fleets, not in the regulation of new vehicles. We aren’t discussing the existing fleet. The only opportunity to make a difference there is e-fuels.”
But the e-fuel debate will probably be decided in China, the world’s largest car market. And Beijing is still hesitant about e-fuels. There are a handful of pilot projects in which small quantities are produced synthetically, at high cost. The government is therefore considering very carefully where e-fuels could be of use. One answer is: For transport where batteries are unsuitable, such as ships and, above all, aircraft.
China researches sustainable aviation fuels
The International Council on Clean Transportation calculated that Chinese aviation emitted more than 100 million tons of CO2 in 2019, i.e., before the pandemic – a share of 13 percent of global air traffic. But the share will rise because the number of aircraft in China will grow rapidly. According to research, the demand for aviation fuel will increase fivefold by 2050.
- Climate targets
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