FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 06/21

German edition

Meat consumption is nature’s greatest enemy: According to a UN report, humanity must immediately abandon its immense meat consumption in order to stop the global loss of animal species and ecosystems. In particular, intensive agriculture, which uses pesticides and monocultures for its production, damages the environment. According to the UN report, this would permanently destroy the soil, which would lead to further land consumption. The production of meat also requires large amounts of fossil energy, fertiliser and water. This is fuelled by the trend towards more and more cheap food. On average, 20 times less water is needed for one kilogram of edible plants. Vegetables and fruits require up to 40 times less land and produce up to 30 times less greenhouse gases during production. spiegel.de, klimacrash.com, fair-economics.de, chathamhouse.org

Winter onset in Germany as a result of climate change? Some say that there have always been cold winters in recent years. However, the extreme onset of winter in the northern half of Germany is due to a disturbance of the polar vortex – a so-called „polar vortex split“. This causes very cold air to flow into Central Europe. The cause is a sudden rise in temperature in the atmosphere over the North Pole. This weather development, discovered by the Berlin meteorologist Richard Scherhag, is also called the „Berlin phenomenon“. Climate researchers see this onset of winter as evidence that the phenomenon is occurring more frequently due to global warming. One probable reason is the disappearance of Arctic sea ice and the increasing warming of the North Atlantic. klimareporter.de

70 percent of global agricultural land is used for livestock farming. Feedstuffs are grown on 40 per cent of this land, mainly soya. Because the hunger for meat is increasing and with it the need for feed and pasture for the animals, forests and grasslands are having to give way. Biodiversity and CO2-absorbing plants are disappearing. dw.com

Verdi and Fridays for Future want to cooperate: The service sector trade union Verdi and Fridays for Future have agreed to launch a joint campaign for a socio-ecological transformation in the run-up to the numerous elections in 2021 and especially the Bundestag elections. „In order to have an influence on the discourse of the Bundestag elections and also to have an impact beyond the sphere of trade unions, we are looking for cooperation and alliances with other social actors,“ announced Verdi chair Frank Werneke. taz.de

Ice loss has accelerated: The loss of ice has accelerated significantly. A team led by the University of Leeds has corroborated earlier studies with further data. The Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice between 1994 and 2017, the researchers said in the journal The Cryosphere. Scientists have calculated that for every centimetre, around one million people in coastal regions are at risk of being displaced by rising seas. derstandard.at

Müller sees no real will in combating the climate crisis: German Development Minister Gerd Müller criticises the „lack of political will“ in combating the climate crisis. We know what needs to be done, but we are not doing it. The lobby groups of the global economy are so strongly networked in the governments that they prevent the verifiable consolidation of the sustainability chapters in international free trade agreements. Müller has been demanding for five years that Europe should only import soya and palm oil from certified cultivation – a demand that has not yet been implemented. tagesspiegel.de

Dispute over weak points in genetic material: The genetic material of bacteria or plants is extremely valuable if, for example, an effective cancer drug can be developed from it. The so-called Nagoya Protocol stipulates that the countries from which the organisms originate should share in the profits. The procedure is too complicated, too time-consuming and too bureaucratic, specialists say. The matter is further complicated by the fact that certain genetic sequences are already available on the internet and are thus accessible to everyone. These are also accessible to companies with commercial interests. Now some mega-biodiverse countries like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and countries from Sub-Saharan Africa want to insist on financial compensation. deutschlandfunk.de


Von hier an anders – Eine politische Skizze

„There is no inevitability in politics. Energetic action can lead to an ambitious goal“.
From one who is striving to take on government responsibility in the autumn. Robert Habeck, writes in his book that it was not an intact, perfect, safe world that the Corona pandemic broke into. Even before that, normality was in crisis. Robert Habeck explores the reasons for the loss of what is taken for granted and outlines a policy that is appropriate to the problems of our time. Nothing seems to be self-evident and secure any more. Not the way we will do business and work, not the values of democracy and human rights, not even what private happiness will be in the future. And the old promise of stability will not bring new security. It is therefore urgent to ask what are the reasons for the uncertainties and increasingly rapid crises. Based on personal experiences of the last few years, which were marked by success but also made him a projection screen for hatred, Robert Habeck seeks answers in his new book to the question of why the success of liberal democracy threatens to become a failure. He takes a self-critical approach to the blind spots of the politics of the last decades and their contradictions. And sketches out a policy that no longer merely wants to repair, but that, if possible, prevents the problems and losses of progress from arising in the first place. Because, says Habeck: „If we want to counteract the erosion of democracy, the loss of trust in politics, the disintegration of Europe, the climate crisis, then we can do it. We just have to decide to do it. For all those who want to know what makes the new Greens tick: read. kiwi-verlag.de


RWE: Suing Netherlands over coal phase-out. handelsblatt.com
EU Parliament Committee: Votes for CO2 Bordertax. fair-economics.de 
France: Does too little for climate protection, says court. sueddeutsche.de
Germany: Still supplies fuel elements to neighbouring countries. freitag.de
Boston Consulting Chef: Bets that the USA will not introduce a CO2 price. faz.net
Denmark: First artificial energy island in the North Sea. zeit.de
Nuclear incident in Baden-Württemberg: Radioactive waste water leaked in nuclear power plant. t-online.de
North Stream 2: Consortium continues construction even in the face of threatened US sanctions. tagesschau.de


The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

How light art contributes to sustainable agriculture: Dutch designer Dann Roosegaarde is a true visionary. With his latest work GROW he creates attention for the beauty and importance of sustainable agriculture. 17goalsmagazine.com


Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: E-mobility is not enough for climate-friendly transport. The tech industry could do more to combine innovation with climate protection, says Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Transport must be organised smartly. heise.de

Free local transport does not make the air cleaner: The federal government has been trying to reduce pollutant emissions in cities since 2019. The air is now actually better – but not because of projects like free local transport. handelsblatt.com
Daimler: Federal Motor Transport Authority rejects objections to diesel recalls. rnd.de
Supply chains: The reorganisation of supply chains threatens prosperity. The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of globalisation. Politicians and business are therefore discussing the renationalisation of production. handelsblatt.com
On hold: Rumours that Apple is allegedly working on a car have been circulating for some time. In the past few days, however, they have intensified and there has also been talk of concrete partnerships. Apple is supposedly developing a vehicle with Hyundai or its subsidiary Kia starting in March. futurezone.at

Mobility in the second half of January 2021 higher than at the beginning of the year: A special evaluation of mobile phone data shows: Decline in mobility in the second hard lockdown significantly weaker than in spring 2020. The results show that nationwide mobility is currently still below the reference value in January 2019. However, an average convergence of overall mobility towards pre-crisis levels can be observed during January 2021. Moreover, mobility declined more weakly in the current second „hard“ lockdown than in the first lockdown in spring 2020. destatis.de


Emissions pricing of building materials: According to the German government, all emission-relevant building materials produced in Germany are included in an emissions pricing system. This applies, for example, to the emission-intensive precursors of building materials and electricity generation in plants with a rated thermal input of more than 20 MW. Smaller plants and plants for the further processing of pre-products are not subject to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, but are indirectly priced via the national Emissions Trading Scheme, as the Federal Government further explains in its answer (19/25931) to a minor question (19/25629) of the FDP parliamentary group.The Federal Government knows as little about the emission values of individual construction sub-sectors such as transport or demolition as it does about the possible consequences of emissions pricing on construction prices.

New construction of wind power at a low level: New construction of wind power plants remained at a low level in 2020. As the Federal Government explains in its answer (19/25955) to a minor question (19/25399) by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, a total of 374 turbines with a total capacity of 1,262.6 megawatts were added in 2020. By far the most were erected in North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg, while no wind turbines were built in the city states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. According to the data, new construction had slumped in 2019. At that time, a total of 282 new turbines were built. The year before, there were almost three times as many, and in 2017 more than six times as many. In Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, not a single wind turbine was erected in 2019, while in Flächenländer such as Saarland, Hesse and Saxony the number was in the low single digits. According to the data, there were a total of around 29,500 wind turbines in Germany at the end of 2019. The Federal Government sees reasons for the decline in „pull-forward effects in 2016 and 2017 due to the switch from fixed remuneration to mandatory tendering from 2017“, a lack of local acceptance and, for example, competition for space with civil and military aviation concerns.

Waste prevention programme to be updated:  The Waste Avoidance Programme, which was first launched in 2013, has now been updated, according to a briefing (19/26160) by the Federal Government. The joint programme of the Federal Government and the Länder is entitled „Appreciate instead of throwing away“ and offers an inventory of the measures taken by the Federal Government, the Länder and municipalities to avoid waste. In addition, it aims to show citizens, companies, associations and other institutions concretely how they can avoid waste. Exemplary projects and initiatives in areas such as packaging, food and clothing are therefore presented.

Germany misses 30 hectare target for land consumption: In 2018, the settlement and transport area in Germany increased by 56 hectares every day. Data for 2019 is not yet available. This is stated by the Federal Government in its answer (19/25725) to a small question (19/23814) of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, which deals with the so-called land consumption. The goal formulated in the Climate Protection Plan 2050 of the Federal Government to limit the daily land consumption to 30 hectares in 2020 has probably not been achieved, the Federal Government admits in its answer. However, land consumption in Germany has roughly halved since the year 2000. Among the reasons for this development, the Federal Government cites stricter regulations in building and planning law, restrained economic development and demographic change.

Export of environmental technologies to developing countries: The Federal Government shares the view that environmental technologies play an important role in the fight against climate change and in the global effort to protect the environment. This is stated in the answer (19/26096) to a minor question (19/25559) of the FDP parliamentary group. According to the Federal Government, it therefore supports the German environmental industry in exporting its products and services, both with specific support programmes and in general within the framework of its foreign trade promotion. According to the answer, various federal ministries are working to support innovative environmental technologies and make them marketable. According to the information, the ministries coordinate with each other both bilaterally and within the framework of departmental meetings.


„The study we are presenting shows that the CO2 sequestration of forests, how much CO2 they can absorb from the atmosphere every year, could well be doubled from 245 million tonnes at present in the commercial forests to almost 500 million tonnes, and that is an order of magnitude of about eleven percent of current emissions. But eleven per cent also shows, of course, that if the EU wants to become climate-neutral, the main task must be to reduce and end fossil emissions as quickly as possible.“

Christoph Thies, forest expert at Greenpeace, says the forests must become more natural. That means that in large parts of Europe, except for the north, Sweden and Finland, we would naturally have mainly deciduous trees, and in Germany, but also in many other European countries, these have been displaced by planted, fast-growing conifers, spruces, pines, recently Douglas firs and so on. We have to reverse this trend, because deciduous forests store much more CO2. They also store more water. This means that they are also much more robust and resilient to the consequences of the climate crisis, which we are already seeing clearly: Drought, heat, fires and so on. deutschlandfunk.de



Faki re-elected as African Union Commission President: Chadian ex-head of government Moussa Faki Mahamat has been re-elected as Commission President of the African Union (AU). At an online summit of heads of state and government on Saturday, 51 of the 55 AU member states voted in favour of a second four-year term. Faki said he was „deeply honoured“ and spoke of an „overwhelming and historic vote of confidence“. The deputy governor of the Central Bank of Rwanda, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, was elected as Faki’s deputy. derstandard.at

South Africa demands vaccination justice: South Africa has received the first vaccine doses, other countries on the continent continue to wait. Too little vaccine at twice the price – President Ramaphosa does not want to accept this. He demands his own production. tagesschau.de

Favourable conditions: The EU’s plans to build a „strategic partnership“ with Africa suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Portuguese government, which holds the six-month rotating EU Council presidency, now wants to complete the project by the summer. euractiv.de

Corona restrictions: Significantly fewer rhinos and elephants poached. In Kenya, not a single rhino was poached in 2020 for the first time in more than 20 years. In South Africa, too, 33 percent fewer rhinos were killed, although still more than one rhino a day. The reason for the decline – also in elephant poaching – is, among other things, restrictions to contain the Corona pandemic. rnd.de

New mosquito species could carry malaria in Africa: A new species of mosquito could lead to an increase in malaria in African cities. The mosquito Anopheles stephensi was mainly found in India in the past, but has been spreading in the Horn of Africa for several years. Scientists from Ethiopia and the Netherlands have now observed that this mosquito is very susceptible to the local malaria species. The disease killed about 384,000 people there in 2019, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). sueddeutsche.de

WHO Corona figures challenged: Officially, only four percent of all Corona deaths worldwide are recorded for the entire African continent. ntv correspondent Nicole Macheroux-Denault reports on why these figures are all wrong and how dangerous the WHO’s vaccination blockade is. n-tv.de

Uganda: Ex-rebel leader Ongwen sentenced in The Hague. It is the first verdict handed down by judges in The Hague against the LRA rebels in Uganda. Dominic Ongwen is in some ways both a perpetrator and a victim. dw.com

Hunger and malnutrition in Côte d’Ivoire: More than 46 per cent of the population of Côte d’Ivoire live below the poverty line, according to information from the German government, and a large proportion of them suffer from malnutrition, malnutrition or micronutrient deficiencies. This is stated in an answer (19/25961) of the Federal Government to a small question (19/25453) of the AfD parliamentary group. Around 21 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. The Covid 19 pandemic has also led to lower production and harvests of agricultural products, a reduction in the income of many families in rural areas, loss of jobs and, at the same time, price increases for basic goods.

Protecting Health Worldwide

Even if the Corona crisis is mainly about infection control: On the way to „health for all“, more basic medical care, social justice, democratic participation and an intact environment are needed. The WHO needs reforms, and the North can learn a lot from the experiences of the South. welt-sichten.org

Global Health Health – not just medicine

The Corona pandemic has impressively shown that health is a global problem today. However, epidemics are by no means the only requirement. It is a question of the right to health as a universal good. more here


Wine – High water consumption, poor CO2 balance: The truth is in wine – conventional wine growing also has a not inconsiderable CO2 footprint and other environmental impacts that occur during cultivation. More and more wine lovers are therefore turning to organic wine. But not all organic wines are the same. The overview of organic wines is now difficult due to the wide range of choices. enorm-magazin.de

Doing without bromine and chlorine: Both substances are used for cleaning purposes, for example, but also in the production of plastics. Now chemists from Mainz and Zurich have demonstrated how important industrial basic materials can be synthesised without toxic chlorine and bromine. This process could open up new ways of disposing of pesticides. They use alternative chemical compounds that also contain the elements chlorine and bromine, but are less toxic and less reactive. These compounds – which include dichloroethane and dibromoethane – can therefore be handled and transported more easily. The safety of industrial processes could thus be increased. The electrolysis process can also be adopted by smaller laboratories that are not suitable for handling chlorine. faz.net

Marshall Plan for Biodiversity: The British economist Partha Dasgupta has calculated that every year around 500 billion US dollars are spent worldwide on environmental destruction – for example in the form of government subsidies for fossil fuels, for agriculture and fisheries. . A complete rethink is needed if the real goal is to achieve a more sustainable approach to nature. He speaks of a „Marshall Plan“ for biodiversity and proposes a number of strategies. derstandard.at,

Bee matchmaking via app: Brazilian start-up helps farmers and beekeepers. The founders of Agrobee bring beekeepers together with coffee farmers in Brazil. Investors have already joined the platform. handelsblatt.com
Protecting the oceans: EU joins coral reef initiative. ec.europa.eu
Sport: Can raise awareness for the environment. euractiv.de
Office market: Climate neutrality important marketing factor. gewerbeimmobilien24.de


Noise as loud as road noise could make birds „dumber“:  At least that is the result of research conducted by scientists in the USA. They examined the cognitive performance of birds in a series of experiments. Zebra finches, for example, were asked to forage under different conditions. While one group of zebra finches had to solve the tasks without background noise, the other group had to listen to traffic noise in the background. The finches exposed to the noise solved the tasks more slowly. In some cases, they took twice as long to find their food. deutschlandfunk.de

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All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com

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