FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 10/20                                            Deutsche Version
Military expenditure hinders energy system transformation: It is a truism that nuclear war has a fundamental impact on the world’s climate and the weather. But researchers point out that new armaments and the associated military spending will also result in a lack of money for investments in environmental protection, environmental remediation and energy system transformation. The military in the USA, for example, consumes 350,000 barrels of oil per day. Since the beginning of the „war on terror“ in 2001, the Pentagon has caused 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases. watson.brown.edu (Study), klimareporter.de

Peter Altmaier wants to soften the distance regulation for wind turbines: The thousand meter distance regulation for wind turbines has been criticized many times. Now a solution is emerging. The Federal Ministry of Economics intends to give municipalities and federal states more leeway for decision-making. The planned rules for a minimum distance between wind turbines and settlements are to be softened. The new proposal now provides for an opt-in regulation, according to the ministry: The municipalities and federal states are to be able to decide for themselves whether they want to deviate from the 1,000-metre distance regulation.  zeit.de

20.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from wind were generated by the end of the month in February 2020. Never before has so much electricity been generated by wind turbines at sea or on land. The causes were the storm depressions Sabine, Victoria and Yulia. bizz-energy.com

EU negotiations with Britain Environmental standards controversial: Green principles and climate policy are on the agenda of the negotiations between the EU and the British.  EU chief negotiator for the brexite Michel Barnier last week called on Britain to commit to strict standards as part of the planned agreement. „A modern trade agenda is more than economic exchange and trade opportunities. Modern trade is sustainable trade“, said Barnier. Interestingly, in November, Great Britain will host the annual COP climate meeting in the Scottish city of Glasgow, one month before the end of the brexite transition period. Barnier asked: „How credible would we be at the next COP26 meeting, for example, if our future agreement allowed business to cut back on environmental standards and social rights in order to gain market share?“ euractiv.de
Doubling climate friendly investments: If the EU can become climate-neutral by 2050, the big companies in the EU will also have to do their bit. The large corporations in the EU would have to at least double their climate-friendly investments. This is the result presented by the think tank Carbon Disclosure Project and the management consultancy Oliver Wyman. 124 billion euros were invested in low-carbon technologies across the EU.  taz.de,   cdp.net (report)
Gretas Bedeutung sinkt, zumindest für die Fridays for Future Bewegung: Eine neue Studie zeigt auf, dass das Gesicht von Greta Thunberg für die Fridays for Future Bewegung an Bedeutung verliert. Im März vor einem Jahr waren noch knapp vierzig Prozent der deutschen Klimademonstranten von dem Gesicht der Klimabewegung beeinflusst, an den Demos teilzunehmen, bis September sank die dieser Anteil auf nur noch 25 Prozent. Sich international ist eine solche Bewegung zu beobachten.   Möglicherweise liegt das auch daran, dass sich der Altersdurchschnitt bei den Aktionen der „Fridays for Future“ erhöht hat und dass sich die Demonstrationen etabliert haben. spiegel.de ,  mfr.de (Studie) 
Greta’s importance is declining, at least for the Fridays for Future movement: A new study shows that Greta Thunberg’s face is losing importance for the Fridays for Future movement. In March a year ago, almost forty percent of German climate demonstrators were still influenced by the face of the climate movement to take part in the demos, but by September this proportion had dropped to just 25 percent. Such a movement can be observed internationally.   This may also be due to the fact that the average age of the „Fridays for Future“ actions has increased and that the demonstrations have become established spiegel.de
Vom kleinen Eisbären, dem es zu warm geworden ist
The little polar bear waits longingly for winter. Because only when the sea is really frozen can he go seal hunting with his mum – and finally play snow soccer again. But winter simply won’t come. It is much too warm.  When Mama Polar Bear explains to him that it gets cold later and later because the living creatures all over the world make too much warm air, the little polar bear decides to write letters to the other animals. Maybe they don’t know anything about it?
And so they all get mail from the North Pole: the koala in Australia, the penguin at the South Pole, the elephant in Africa and many more. Soon the animals become active and find many good ideas how to save warm air.
A story about climate change and how we can all help to make less warm air. oekom.de

Coronavirus: Significant decrease in air pollution in China. welt.de  
Altmaier: Hardly any talks with environmental associations. taz.de 
Greens: In polls the party approaches the CDU. afp.com  
Wind power: African countries are increasingly focusing on the expansion of wind energy. w3windmesse.de 
Because of climate protection and Paris Agreement: Expansion of Heathrow Airport in London stopped. wienerzeitung.at
Volkswagen: Compensates diesel owners focus.de
AKW Fessenheim: Nuclear power in Alsace is permanently off the grid. zeit.de
General speed limit reduces emissions: A general speed limit on federal highways could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.9 to 5.4 million tons per year depending on the desig fair-economics.de
Creating a scope of duties for climate activists: Volkswagen wants to be the first major automobile group to create a scope of duties for a climate activist. ecomento.de
Majority not willing to give up: Only a quarter of Germans might be willing to give up their cars. welt.de
SWISS Climate Challenge: How the Swiss can measure their CO2 footprint in traffic via an app. In a playful way, users can measure their daily CO2 footprint.  fair-economics.de
Maximum promotion: The increased e-car premium has recently come into effect. Buyers of a new car with a net list price of up to 40,000 euros receive a subsidy of 6,000 euros. These five vehicles qualify for the maximum premium. wiwo.de

Deconstruction of wind turbines: The legislation on the deconstruction and disposal of wind turbines is sufficient. This is what the Federal Government writes in its answer (19/17209) to a small question by the AfD parliamentary group (19/16796). A study by the Federal Environment Agency on this issue was subsequently published at the end of 2019. The study did not reveal any funding shortfall for decommissioning measures. The operators must plan for the corresponding expenditure, and the Federal Government has no responsibility or liability. Even in the event of insolvency of a plant operator, the existing legal basis would be sufficient. In addition to economic reasons, safety aspects such as stability or functionality may also make the dismantling of wind turbines necessary, a statistical recording of the reasons was not included in the study. Due to the various factors (location, recycling rate, dismantling practice), the Federal Government could not provide any information on the total or average costs of wind turbine disposal. From 2021 to 2025, 2.4 gigawatts of wind turbines will be subsidised under the EEG each year.
Ostrowetz nuclear power plant in Lithuania: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group is interested in the Belarusian nuclear power plant (AKW) Ostrowez, located 50 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. In a small question (19/17324), the MEPs want to know, among other things, what knowledge the Federal Government has of the construction costs of the nuclear power plant. The parliamentary group would also like to know whether the nuclear power plant has significant safety-related deviations or restrictions compared to other new Rosatom nuclear power plant constructions of a similar type.
Raw materials partnerships with Germany: Apart from the existing intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the raw materials sector, the Federal Government is not planning any further raw materials partnerships. This is what it writes in an answer (19/17224) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/16562). On the basis of the 2010 Raw Materials Strategy, appropriate agreements have been concluded with Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Peru. As the situation on the raw materials markets had calmed down, German industry had been able to cover its requirements at reasonable prices and additional supplies via bilateral agreements had become less relevant. According to the Federal Government, the commodity partnerships are in any case only an additional channel of discussion without specific measures against supply bottlenecks or rising prices. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Agency for International Cooperation have implemented several projects within the framework of the partnerships. The existing commodity partnerships are to be continued in the future.
Coal Exit Act: The Federal Government has presented a bill on the coal phase-out (19/17342). This would implement the recommendations of the „Growth, Structural Change and Employment“ Commission on the process of phasing out coal-fired power generation and accompanying energy-policy measures, explains the German government in the „Draft Law on the Reduction and Termination of Coal-fired Power Generation and on the Amendment of Other Laws“. The main focus is on the further development of combined heat and power generation (CHP) and compensation measures for electricity consumers. The Cogeneration Act would therefore be amended in such a way as to motivate consumers to switch from coal-fired cogeneration to modern CHP systems. In future, according to the information provided, the bonus will be calculated on the basis of the capacity of the plant to be replaced and will amount to 180 euros per kilowatt.
The German government considers it possible that the electricity price on the stock exchange will rise as a result of the phase-out. For this reason, consumers should be able to receive a subsidy on transmission system charges from 2023 onwards. „In addition, a further measure will be made possible to further relieve energy-intensive electricity consumers,“ it continues. It is difficult to estimate the exact impact on the stock market price, but an expansion of renewable energies should in any case have a price-dampening effect. The German government has also decided on one of four options under discussion for the phase-out of hard coal: According to this, there should be „tendering procedures and, in addition, a statutory reduction until 2027 and, from 2027 onwards, exclusively a statutory reduction of hard coal-based electricity generation“. This is the most effective, cost-efficient and proportionate regulatory alternative, argues the German government. As far as the phase-out of lignite is concerned, the German government is counting on negotiations and agreement with the operators and other parties concerned. This would be more promising than regulatory measures. In the draft bill, the federal government also comments on estimated costs for individual measures and the consequences of such measures. In a statement, the Normenkontrollrat criticizes the short deadlines for participation within the federal government as well as by the federal states, municipal umbrella organizations, specialist groups and associations. The department has set a deadline of only two days for participation in the first draft and the substantially revised second draft regulation. „The parties involved are not in a position to sufficiently examine the draft regulation within these short deadlines,“ the committee explained.

Reforestation of damaged forests: Nationwide, about 180,000 hectares of forest areas are to be reforested, of which about 118,000 hectares are in private and communal forests. The additional forest aid, which is made available for the reforestation of damaged forests via the „Promotion of measures to cope with the consequences in the forest caused by extreme events“ under the Joint Task for Agricultural Structure and Coastal Protection (GAK), can only be claimed by private and communal forest owners, informs the Federal Government in an answer (19/17078) to a minor question (19/16758) of the FDP parliamentary group. Eligible for funding are reafforestation, preliminary, follow-up and substructure work, as well as improvements in gaps or thinned stands caused by extreme weather events and their consequences, by sowing or planting, and natural regeneration including preparation for cultivation. It is not, however, the responsibility of the Federal Government to plan how these aids are actually used. The implementation of the GAK is the responsibility of the Länder.
CO2 pricing for rental apartments: The examination of potential changes in tenancy law to avoid social hardship with rising heating costs is still ongoing. The Federal Government writes this in its answer (19/17273) to a small question of the FDP parliamentary group (19/16996). It would not be possible at present to say when the results of the examination will be available. As regards departmental responsibility, it is said that this depends on which legislation is to be amended if necessary. The departments concerned (Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Federal Ministry for Building and Homeland Affairs, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection) agreed on this. Furthermore, the Federal Government writes that if landlords had to bear additional costs from CO2 pricing, this could provide an additional incentive to invest in climate-friendly heating technology.

„All in all, if you look at all the studies, you can say that we can assume that the Internet generates about two and a half to three percent of global CO2 emissions“.
Dr. Ralph Hintemann, Partner and Senior Researcher at the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, said that, ultimately, we have had significant efficiency improvements in data centers for years. The computing power I get per kilowatt hour of electricity is also increasing very significantly. But the trend is that we need more and more computing power, and this ultimately overcompensates for the progress in efficiency, so that the energy requirements of the data centers are increasing, even though the technology is becoming more and more efficient. deutschlandfunk.de
„So we are facing the challenge of adapting our political and legal system to the new technological and innovation conditions. We are called upon to make it more contemporary in order to make the new possible and to live the fantasy of the new without, however, abandoning everything traditional and proven or losing it in the frenzy of acceleration.  The attribution of responsibility plays a central role here“.
Professor Dr. Ingo Rollwagen, Professor of General Management at Fresenius University/AMD, otherwise there is a danger that automated decision making („ADM“) systems could have many far-reaching negative consequences for our democratic system and economy, for example through forms of market-distorting behavior and the formation of new monopolies, which could have a very negative impact on our society. fair-economics.de

Tipping points on the Amazon: In view of the warming climate, increasing deforestation and ever more violent fires, scientists are more worried about the Amazon than ever before. Some warn that the forest will soon reach a tipping point that could turn much of the forest into dry bush land. If the tree death we see continues for another 10 to 15 years, the southern Amazon will turn into a savannah. spektrum.de
Regional food: The desire for regionality in food is very common. For climate protection reasons alone, consumers want to avoid long transport routes. But the desire for short distances is blooming strangely. Huge greenhouses covering hundreds of hectares are being erected to reduce imports. They are exposed to light, heated to 18 degrees and vegetables are planted in chemical nutrient solutions. This is „complete nonsense“ and has nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions. So it is healthier to get fresh produce from the south of Europe.  derstandard.at
Colorado River is drying up: The Colorado River is 2,300 kilometers long and thus the largest river in the southwestern United States.  40 million people depend on its water. But climate change is also making itself felt here. The river is in danger of drying out. This is partly due to the lack of snowmelt and partly to the small amounts of snow that are still falling. The water masses flowing through the river have thus decreased by 20 percent. Researchers fear further declining water levels. rnd.de sciencemag.org (original article)
Brussels: A city arms itself against climate change dw.com
Oregano: Often contaminated with harmful substances. wdr.de
Care Work: Taking care of family or relatives accounts for about one third of economic output. It is only marginally recognized. sueddeutsche.de  
No ice wine: The mild winter did not allow for any harvest. spiegel.de

Marine biodiversity: The development and pressures on marine biodiversity in the North and Baltic Seas will be the subject of a debate in the Environment Committee on Wednesday 4 March 2020. The public expert discussion, chaired by Sylvia Kotting-Uhl (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) will begin at 11 a.m. in hearing room 3.101 of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus in Berlin. The invited experts are Thilo Maack (Greenpeace Germany), Friedrich Buer (freelance biologist), Edmund Maser (Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Scientists Kiel), Anne Böhnke-Henrichs (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V.) and Antje Boetius (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research). Interested visitors who would like to attend the meeting can register with the secretariat of the committee (umweltausschuss@bundestag.de), stating their first and last name.
Hearing on the Building Energy Act: The Economic Committee will hold a public hearing on the Building Energy Act planned by the Federal Government (19/16716, 19/17037). The hearing will take place on Wednesday, 4 March, from 11.30 to 13.00 hrs in the Paul Löbe Haus in session room 4,900. The following experts are invited to attend: Maria Hill, (Zentraler Immobilien Ausschuss e.V.), Michel Durieux (Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks e.V.), Sandra Rostek (Bundesverband Bioenergie e.V.), Michael Wübbels (Verband kommunaler Unternehmen e.V.), Lamia Messari-Becker (University of Siegen), Dirk Müller (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen), Veit Bürger (Öko-Institut e.V.), Henning Ellermann (Deutsche Unternehmensinitiative Energieeffizienz e.V.), Tim Bagner (Federal Association of Municipal Umbrella Organisations). Listeners are requested to register with the committee’s secretariat by e-mail (wirtschaftsausschuss@bundestag.de) with their full name and date of birth. In addition, the date and subject of the hearing should be indicated. The personal document must be brought to the hearing.

Bad businesses: Because he wanted to burn his excrements, a mountain hiker caused a forest fire. When the faeces ignited, a fire developed on the bone-dry ground. A sudden wind made things worse as the fire spread. Fire brigades from Austria and Germany had to fight the fire, which could only be extinguished after hours. welt.de
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