FAIReconomics Newsletter week 04/21
Economy worries about prices and security of electricity supply: The German economy is worried about the energy transition. The reasons are the growing uncertainties in the electricity supply and a continuing high level of electricity prices. Security of supply, affordability, energy efficiency and environmental compatibility are the focus of the monitoring of a study by the Bavarian Business Association, with a look at Germany as a whole. handelsblatt.com
Environmental groups storm against environmental foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: A foundation for climate protection was set up to circumvent US sanctions on the construction of the. Now environmental associations are running up a storm against this plan of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister President Manuela Schwesig. As a consequence, the chairperson of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Climate Council, Theresia Crone, resigned. „I cannot in any way support or legitimise a climate protection foundation that is supposed to create climate-damaging infrastructure,“ said Crone, who is one of the leading climate activists in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. spiegel.de
More than 50,000 deaths per year could be prevented in Europe if the limits for particulate matter recommended by the WHO were adhered to everywhere. According to WHO estimates, more than seven million people die worldwide every year because of ailments such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases triggered by air pollution. derstandard.at
Biden gets serious about climate protection: No sooner was US President Joe Biden inaugurated than he leads the USA back into the global climate treaty and wants to get serious about saving CO2. The chances in the USA for his energy transition plan are not bad. There could also be a boost for international climate action. UN chief Guterres was delighted: „I welcome President Biden’s steps to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change,“ he said. In doing so, the US joins the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people taking ambitious action to address the climate crisis. To be readmitted to the Paris Agreement, the USA must submit a new CO2 reduction plan with a target year of 2030 to the UN Climate Secretariat in Bonn by autumn. klimareporter.de wiwo.de
Government wants to reduce mountains of waste: Last week, the federal government passed a quota for recycled material and an extended deposit requirement as part of the new packaging law, hoping to get the increase in packaging waste under control. From 2023, restaurants, bistros and cafés must also offer their customers reusable containers. The government is thus transposing an EU directive from 2019 into national law. The Bundestag and Bundesrat still have to agree. zeit.de , taz.de
Bauer sucht Frau is not achieved: More and more farms have to close down. As a result, the remaining farms are getting bigger and bigger and keeping more animals. This under controversial conditions. The proportion of women in agriculture is very low. These results were presented by the Federal Statistical Office last Thursday. destatis.de , taz.de
Coal mine opens in the UK: At the end of the year, the climate summit will take place in the UK and the coal phase-out for 2050 is also a done deal in the UK. nevertheless, a new coal mine has now opened on the island. The Johnson government waved the project through. klimareporter.de
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Ganz Mensch Sein – Wie wir die Schein-Nachhaltigkeit überwinden – Ein Transformationsleitbild
Sustainability has now arrived in the mainstream as a trend. But spreading does not equal deepening. Effective successes in climate and environmental protection continue to elude us as soon as more than partial solutions are at stake. And now we are faced with the big picture. The 2020s are our last chance to preserve decent living conditions. Yet more information and education only seem to widen the gap between knowledge and action. So what has been overlooked, where or what is the blind spot of sustainability?
To answer this crucial question, author Daniel Sieben shifts attention from the outside world to the inside world. The systemic connections he reveals enable a fundamentally new understanding of sustainability: it is not in the right action that sustainability begins – but in the moment when we overcome the unconscious split in our psyche and identity as the cause of a lack of sustainability. With his transformation model, Daniel Sieben shows how we can free ourselves from the state of this split and start on the path towards sustainability. oekom.de
Denmark: Plans joint electricity production with Germany. handelsblatt.com
EN+: Aluminium producer wants to become climate neutral. wallstreet-online.de
EU Parliament: Demands construction stop of Northstream 2. . zeit.de
Electricity from the house wall: Building facades offer great potential for generating solar energy. fair-economics.de
China: Starts world’s largest emissions trading scheme in February. csr-news.net
Organic: Full trend because of the corona crisis.. tagesschau.de
Fat-tail risks: World Economic Forum describes the risks of the world. welt.de
The seventeeen goals Magazin features inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rolf Stahlhofen campaigns for human rights with his foundation: Rolf Stahlhofen, singer of the Söhne Mannheims, learned about the value of water as a child. Growing up in numerous African countries, it was clear to him early on: „When I grow up, I want to get involved in clean drinking water“.17goalsmagazin.de
Volkswagen must pay 100 million: The Wolfsburg-based company missed the EU’s climate protection targets by half a gram last year. For this, a fine of around 100 million euros is now due – significantly less than forecast. Analysts and consultants had initially expected much higher payments. faz.net
Berlin plans bicycle parking garages: Overcrowded forecourts at underground and suburban railway stations are not uncommon, and neither are the bicycle racks that are occupied there. Now the Senate Transport Administration is planning to build up to 13 new bicycle parking garages. So far, two locations have been determined, or at least they are to be examined for construction. morgenpost.de.
Drastic slump in airline traffic slows down the development of environmentally friendly aircraft: It seems that there is little need to worry about air traffic emissions at the moment. Due to the Corona Lockdown, the number of flights in Germany is currently lower than it has been since the 1980s, and some climate protectionists are jubilant about this. But that could be short-sighted, as Ralf Fücks, the former Green politician and current head of the think tank „Zentrum Liberale Moderne“ warns: The drastic slump in demand is slowing down the development and use of environmentally friendly aircraft. faz.net
Proposal for Euro 7 emission standard only in the fourth quarter: The German government has confirmed that the EU Commission is preparing a stricter Euro 7 emission standard for passenger cars. However, a first proposal has been announced for the fourth quarter of 2021. This was announced in its answer(19/25760) o a small parliamentary question (19/24933) of the FDP parliamentary group. So far, only preparatory meetings had taken place, in which representatives of the Federal Ministries of Environment, Transport and Economics had participated. A ban on vehicles with combustion engines is explicitly not planned, the federal government writes.
Doubling of passenger numbers through the Deutschlandtakt: Based on the offer concept in the second expert draft of the Deutschlandtakt target timetable, it was determined, according to the Federal Government, „that the Deutschlandtakt will enable a doubling of passenger numbers“, based on the applicable traffic forecast for 2030. This is stated in the government’s answer (19/25070). A new long-term traffic forecast is in the process of being commissioned, the Federal Government informs. „The traffic and environmental policy objectives and premises to be taken into account in the traffic forecast will be agreed upon with the experts at the beginning of the forecast work,“ it says
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Funding for bioeconomy demonstration plants: The federal government is funding investments in the bioeconomy with about 45 million euros over a period of four years. This is provided for in a guideline published at the end of December „to promote the use and construction of demonstration plants for the industrial bioeconomy“. Two modules, which are aimed at start-ups and small companies as well as commercial enterprises of all sizes, will be funded within the framework of a call for proposals, explains the Federal Government in its answer (19/25738) to a small question (19/25174) from the FDP parliamentary group. The projects are intended to demonstrate, among other things, that bio-based products and corresponding technological processes can be implemented in industrial applications and lead to cost reductions. They should also enable cross-industry applications and contribute to achieving the climate goals.
German efforts for marine protection: Germany has spent a good 700 billion euros on international marine protection within the framework of development cooperation since 2017. Of this, 462 million came from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and 242 million from the budget of the Federal Ministry for the Environment. This was announced by the Federal Government in its answer (19/25775) to a minor question (19/21121) of the FDP parliamentary group. It also answers a number of questions on international efforts to protect the oceans and the role of the Federal Government in this.
Overall concept for climate-friendly commercial vehicles: The „Overall concept for climate-friendly commercial vehicles“ published by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) on 11 November 2020 serves to further concretise the measures from the Climate Protection Programme 2030 with reference to road freight transport and to realise the goal that by 2030 one third of the mileage of heavy commercial vehicles will be provided electrically or on the basis of electricity-based fuels. This is stated in the Federal Government’s answer (19/25777) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/25271). The BMVI’s package of measures includes three core measures, the government writes: In addition to purchase premiums for the procurement of commercial vehicles with climate-friendly, alternative drives, the aim is to control the development of the necessary refuelling and charging infrastructure for alternatively powered commercial vehicles and to create a suitable regulatory environment. „In particular, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure advocates differentiation of the HGV toll according to the CO2 emissions of the vehicles,“ the answer states.
CO2 emissions in freight and passenger transport: The specific CO2 emissions of the different means of transport are determined using the Tremod calculation model. This is explained by the Federal Government in its answer (19/25704) to a small question (19/25455) of the AfD parliamentary group, which inquired about the determination of the values for CO2 emissions in freight and passenger transport by rail, car, truck and ship. According to the Federal Government, the values given are the average values of the respective means of transport in the given reference year in Germany. For the calculation, the total emissions of the respective means of transport are put in relation to the tonne-kilometres (transport performance). As the answer goes on to say, there is no individual reporting according to specific classes; rather, it is an overall survey that determines average values.
„Our agricultural system is not achieving anything. Not for the environment, not for the animals and not for the farmers. We import soya from Brazil, for which rainforests are cut down there. We use it to fatten millions of pigs whose manure pollutes our water and whose cheap meat puts pressure on regional agriculture here and in poorer countries. We rely on mass, and we rely on cheap. We have to get away from that.“
Svenja Schulze (SPD), Federal Minister for the Environment, said husbandry had to improve. And we have to bring animal husbandry back into line with the available land. In Germany alone, the EU invests six billion euros a year in an agricultural system that often disregards animal welfare, pollutes water and puts farmers under enormous price pressure. She wants to change that. Subsidies should no longer be based on the size of farms, but more on their contribution to environmental protection. German farmers must do more to protect the climate and nature, she said. We cannot negotiate with nature. By the way, there are already many farmers who keep waters clean, create refuges for animals and promote the build-up of humus in their soils. Se wants this commitment to be rewarded. rnd.de
„We offer here an anchor point for the current fundamental debate in climate policy and climate economics. We argue that the fight against global warming should primarily be fought through CO₂ pricing in Pigou’s sense and not, as is still often practised and recommended, through regulations and bans.“
Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of MCC and PIK, the critics have to ask themselves what the alternative is: „Regulatory measures would appear easier to implement, but their economic costs and distributional effects would be much more problematic, especially in the case of ambitious climate targets.“ The study explicitly lists the difficulties of CO₂ pricing and shows that these are convincingly addressed in 2020 in the German climate package and partly also in the EU’s European Green Deal; moreover, it outlines a CO₂ price-based global climate policy.fair-economics.de
Bill Gates is not only the largest owner of farmland in the US. He is also one of the biggest investors in Africa’s agriculture: tech billionaire Bill Gates has founded his own organisation: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa(AGRA). This has been jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation since 2006. The goal was to significantly increase the agricultural yields of African smallholders and to double the incomes of about 30 million farming households. At the same time, food insecurity in 20 African countries was to be halved by 2020. agrarheute.com
Fewer and fewer people own land: According to a study, inequality in access to land is increasing. To counteract poverty, experts are calling for more rules and controls on the sale of land.. dw.com
Supply situation in Tunisia and Benin: In two answers (19/25671, 19/25813) to small parliamentary questions (19/25442, 19/25333) of the AfD parliamentary group, the Federal Government provides information on the supply situation in the areas of water, food and energy in Benin and Tunisia. They state that water resources in both countries are under increasing pressure. For this reason, the governments had designated the water sector as one of their priority fields of action. Together with the Tunisian government, German development cooperation is also implementing measures in the country to increase and improve the quality of supply and to reduce the consumption of raw water resources. The Government of Benin has launched an investment programme to provide drinking water to an additional 1.9 million people by the end of 2021 and 3.7 million people in rural areas by 2040. With regard to the electricity supply, the Federal Government states that since 2010 almost the entire Tunisian population has had access to the central electricity supply. In contrast, according to the domestic energy sector evaluation, the electrification rate in Benin was only 29.2 per cent in 2019. In rural areas, it was much lower at 6.5 per cent, he said.
Africa and Biden: Biden has lifted entry bans on Muslims. This will go down well in Africa: What to expect from the new president on the continent – and what not zeit.de
How the EU wants to support African peace operations in future: The „African Peace Facility“ will become the „European Peace Facility“: What sounds like just a name change could have far-reaching consequences for peace operations in Africa – and not only positive ones. dw.com
Debate on European aid workers in Africa: „It doesn’t need white people to show the way „Celebrities like Madonna or Ed Sheeran, but also high school graduates from Europe like to travel to Africa, help in an organisation and take pictures with black children. Now resistance is growing – „white saviours“ are out. spiegel.de
Africa’s richest people: The new Forbes list.. afrika-live.de
The new Welt-Sichten magazine has been published: In the current issue among other things
Iron can play a major role in the energy transition: Iron could play an important role in the climate turnaround. Several research teams are currently working on finding out how the most common element – it is the fourth most abundant on earth – could be used to store energy. At the moment, they are testing the storage capacity of iron in a brewery. It is possible that coal-fired power plants will experience a renaissance, but as a climate-friendly variant. derstandard.at
Climate activists more likely to suffer from burn-out: Overwork can lead to burn-out not only at work. Also in voluntary work, for example when activists are burning for an issue like climate or animal protection, human rights or feminism, political commitment can turn into exhaustion. zeit.de
Heating up lakes brings them to their breaking point: Lakes and water bodies are heating up due to climate change. Biodiversity is threatened as a result. Periods of exceptionally warm surface water in stagnant waters, so-called „lake heat waves“, will increase in intensity and duration by the end of the 21st century. This is what an international team of scientists including the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) writes in the scientific journal Nature. This threatens biodiversity and brings the ecosystems of these waters to the limits of their resilience. ufz.de
Homeowners rethink: Many new applications for renewable energies for heating. handelsblatt.com
Estonia: Serious consequences of deforestation. zeit.de
Manifesto for tourism of the future on Mallorca: 70 companies and corporations present a plan for more sustainability. mallorcazeitung.es
Modelling for Fairfashion: Primark or Kik, models who have worked for these labels might have a hard time with Anna Voelske. This is because the owner of the Fair Models agency arranges ecologically conscious models with sustainably operating brands. „Our models have to sign a code not to give their face to companies that do not act sustainably. In case of doubt, we always look at the brand together and decide whether the company’s image is compatible with our principles for sustainable consumption.“ welt.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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