FAIReconomics Newsletter week 21/2020                                 German edition

New proposals for accepting wind turbines: In a key issues paper, the Federal Ministry of Economics proposes to reduce resistance to new wind turbines by introducing a levy on local authorities for residents. The basis for this is an expert opinion prepared by a research consortium consisting of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Becker Büttner Held and the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM). The document proposes a municipal participation instrument, which will be designed as a mandatory payment to the local municipality integrated in the EEG. Operators of new WTGs must therefore make an annual payment to the municipality where the wind turbine is located or offer a verifiable payment. The amount of the payment is linked to the electricity production of the plant(s). A payment of at least 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour generated (cents/kWh) is envisaged. Depending on the site-specific electricity yield, the BMWi assumes that the plant operator will make a payment of approximately 20,000 euros / year to the municipality. tagesschau.de.
Demolition of old wind turbines more expensive than planned: The dismantling of wind turbines in the North Sea will increase considerably in the coming years and, above all, more expensive than planned. This is the result of studies by the Hamburg Economic Research Institute HWWI and other institutions that have joined forces in a joint international project. According to these studies, 22 wind turbines will have to be removed from the North Sea this year, the HWWI announced. By 2023, 123 turbines will already have reached the end of their service life, and by 2030 more than 1000 wind turbines will have reached the end of their service life. rnd.de

156,000 hectares of valuable natural areas as National Natural Heritage have been permanently secured in Germany in recent years. Under strict nature conservation requirements, the federal government had transferred the natural heritage sites free of charge to the federal states, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt and various nature conservation organizations.  bmu.de

German Traffic Safety Council for speed limit: The general speed limit on motorways in Germany seems to be getting closer. The Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat – German Traffic Safety Council (DVR) advocates a general speed limit of 130 km/h.  This will further increase the pressure on the Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer, to make concessions both for safety and environmental reasons. The DVR includes all the important ones – „from the ADAC to the German Association of the Automotive Industry“. spiegel.de

Greens demand reform of meat production: COVID-19 infections in slaughterhouses. Even if some now believe that „Habeck wants to make the schnitzel expensive“, the Greens are demanding a fundamental reform of meat production in Germany as a consequence of the Corona crisis. Among other things, there should be a minimum price for animal products, a ban on work contracts and an expansion of state controls in the companies, according to a seven-point plan. „The outbreak of corona in several slaughterhouses in Germany throws a spotlight on the dramatic problems facing the agricultural industry“, writes Green Party leader Robert Habeck. „It works on the principle: mass production of meat at dumping prices thanks to dumping conditions.“ The workers in the slaughterhouses pay a high price for this: „They slave away under miserable working and wage conditions, live in catastrophic accommodation, and the protection of their health comes second.“ afp.combild.de
Animals infected with the COVID-19 virus: At the end of April it became known that animals on two Dutch mink farms carry the novel corona virus. Apparently they have passed the virus on to other animals. A sick employee apparently introduced the pathogen, which was the result of the first I-examinations. The animals, in this case minks, suffer from respiratory problems, and mortality in the stables increased. The responsible Dutch National Institute for Public Health estimates the risk of humans being infected by the animals as low. sueddeutsche.de
Geht doch! Ein Buch über bezahlbares Wohnen
There you go! a book on affordable housing, the authors Hannah, Jonas and Klaus Wehrle show that it is possible to create affordable housing for everyone. They present the topic in all its complexity in an understandable and easily comprehensible way and address the many social, economic, political and legal factors that drive up costs and make living expensive. In six chapters, they lead from the history of housing to questions of climate-friendly construction and home ownership for less privileged classes and propose concrete solutions. In doing so, they argue for more private property ownership, because it is an important reserve for individuals, protects against poverty in old age and – from an economic point of view – increases the population’s wealth geht-doch-buch.com
Northstream II: Damper by German Federal Network Agency. reuters.com
Demo against coal-fired power station: Opponents of the controversial new Datteln IV coal-fired power station have protested against the planned commissioning. afp.com 
Norwegian oil fund: Throws RWE out.. faz.net
Lichtblick: No longer really eco. taz.de
Danube: River course shortened by 134 kilometres.interreg-danube.eu
Baden-Württemberg: Photovoltaics mandatory for new buildings.  taz.de
Green stimulus: A comprehensive green investment plan provides the necessary economic stimulus and builds resistance to future shocks. institutdelors.eu
Digital Democracy: Germany is catching up, but also reaching its limits. dw.com
Demand for e-cars is growing: Demand for e-cars has risen significantly in the first four months of this year. Compared to the same period last year, the number has doubled to 63,000. In Germany, electromobility is already benefiting from the increase in e-car subsidies at the end of February. In order not to miss the CO2 targets for 2020, dealers are also offering very favourable conditions. Plug-in hybrids are driving this positive development; their number has grown by more than 200 percent, which now corresponds to a market share of 3.9 percent. Purely electric vehicles account for 3.7 percent.  zeit.de

Toll for all and higher parking fees: The Environment Council wants to promote cycling and walking and advance climate protection. Among other things, a report calls for the strengthening of environmentally friendly means of transport.  „Measures are essential that make individual car use less attractive“. The possibilities of charging parking fees would have to be expanded and the cap on fees for residents would have to be lifted. In addition, the Council advocates a car toll that takes into account the distance travelled, pollutant, noise and CO2 emissions. „A nationwide toll would have a much better steering effect than a city toll (…)“ One member of the seven-member committee does not support this chapter of the report. umweltrat.detagesschau.de

Billion-dollar programme for climate and transport change: Agora-Verkehrswende think tank proposes a 2,000 euro increase in premiums for e-cars, an extension to e-cars up to 7.5 tons and a bonus-malus system for internal combustion engines.  agora-verkehrswende.de
Hydrogen infrastructure in Germany: The German government expects at least 100 hydrogen filling stations for cars to be in operation in Germany by the end of the year. For this and the following year, ten to 15 stations per year are planned, the federal government explains in the answer (19/18992) to a minor question (19/17936) of the FDP faction. A decision on the further expansion could be taken in 2021, depending on the vehicle ramp-up by then and the further plans of car manufacturers. „In the next few years, the topic of hydrogen infrastructure for heavy commercial vehicles is likely to become increasingly important,“ added the Federal Government. Projects for vehicle and infrastructure development have been launched. The national hydrogen strategy is currently being coordinated among the ministries, it is said.
Insolvencies: In the automobile industry the bankruptcies are increasing. wiwo.de

Compensation for premature coal withdrawal: Operators of lignite-fired power plants can expect to receive compensation payments of 2.6 billion euros in the Rhineland and 1.75 billion euros in Lusatia for the premature withdrawal of their plants. This is the result of talks with operators and the agreement between the federal government and the states, explains the Federal Government in its answer (19/18987) to a minor question (19/17674) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. In its view, the level of compensation was in line with the constitutional and also budgetary requirements for appropriate compensation of lignite plant operators. The payments were made to compensate for any economic disadvantages. Details depended on the contractual arrangements in the public-law contract still to be negotiated. It was important that the sums were also used to cover the full costs of reusing and recultivating the open-cast mines.
CO2 targets of the Federal Government: The Federal Government considers it realistic to achieve the climate targets for 2022 on the basis of the Coal Phase-out Act. It will be continuously evaluated whether the greenhouse gas reductions achieved are in line with the requirements of the Federal Climate Protection Act, it states in its answer (19/18988) to a minor question (19/18000) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. „Should a failure to meet the targets in any sector, the federal government will make corresponding adjustments.“
No statement for coal exit consequences:  The federal government cannot quantify exactly how the phase-out of coal-fired power generation will affect the budget and save carbon dioxide. It explains this in its answer (19/18991) to a minor question (19/17541) from the FDP parliamentary group. With regard to the budgetary consequences, she said that the quantity of „allowances“ which would become „free“ as a result of the coal phase-out could not be quantified in advance on an annual basis – consequently, this also applied to budget revenue shortfalls due to the cancellation of emission allowances. How much carbon dioxide would be saved could only be calculated in advance on the basis of a model and with the help of an electricity market model. The Federal Government regularly commissions scientific studies, the results of which it does not adopt as its own.
Sustainable way out of the corona crisis: In order to find a sustainable way out of the current crisis, international partnerships are needed instead of isolationism. This was the view of the experts invited to a public discussion of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development on Wednesday evening. Sustainability without an international perspective is not fruitful, said Professor Christoph M. Schmidt, President of the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and former Chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts. It was not sufficient to focus on national indicators, for example, for greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
Future of older wind and solar plants: The future of early solar and wind power plants is the subject of a motion by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/19140). This concerns plants that will soon be phased out after 20 years. The members of parliament criticize that the federal government had failed to provide for suitable connection regulations in time.
„We have (in the corona crisis) already decided on measures that we will soon implement: For example, we will consider retrofitting solar systems on public buildings, converting the municipal vehicle fleet to electric cars and no longer lighting up the town hall at night. And above all, we have to rethink our city.“
Claus Ruhe Madsen, Lord Mayor of Rostock and Germany’s first foreign mayor, on climate protection in the COVID-19 pandemic, said that there is a four-lane highway, the B103, in the middle of Rostock. It leads from the city centre to Warnemünde. Why wouldn’t this urban motorway be turned into an expressway for cyclists? On the one hand, cars could continue to drive, on the other hand, cyclists. That would be a real highlight. brandeins.de
„If a few thousand people demonstrate in Germany in a weekend, then of course there is no reporting on the 80 million who do something completely different. The media just prefer to show the bad news. But the majority of citizens have strong faith in politics at the moment. Most people are relatively calm and level-headed, and that will remain so.
Horst Opaschowski, scientific director of the Opaschowski Institute for Futures Studies, he does not believe that we would return to normal. This crisis has taken us off the pedestal of prosperity. Nobody expected it, because we were all trapped in the „more and more“. Now the question would suddenly arise: What does „more and more“ actually mean in the future? That would have a lasting effect. After all, even the economy cannot change over to the agenda from one day to the next. Perhaps it could be that we will emerge from this crisis poorer. But not necessarily unhappier. spiegel.de



Bioacousticists listen to nature: while normal walkers, for example in the Lower Oder Valley Nature Park, enjoy the sunset, scientists from the Berlin Natural History Museum are on the move with their microphones. The researchers acoustically capture the sounds of the forest and floodplains. In the meantime, the scientists are not only interested in individual animals, but entire ecosystems, because their sound betrays their „health“. In an intact ecosystem, all frequencies are occupied without any strong overlapping. If there is a gap, some species may have disappeared. faz.net
Mediterranean Sea more rare than ever: A marine biologist has been studying the effects of ship engines on the fauna in the Mediterranean Sea for over twenty years. Underwater noise in particular affects the animals. Now, after a week-long expedition that ended on 5 May, the biologist raves: „We have really never seen the Mediterranean Sea between Mallorca and Ibiza so empty. Whether the silence that prevails in the Mediterranean really has an effect on the lives of the whales and dolphins is still too early to say. The data collected during the expedition must now be evaluated. ksta.de
Forests are suffering: In many forests and woods the treetops are getting lighter and lighter. A patchy canopy cannot sufficiently fulfil its cooling function – but the forest creatures cannot adapt to rising temperatures fast enough. Most people have experienced the cooling effect of a dense canopy of leaves themselves while walking through the forest. However, when the treetops clear, not only does the cooling effect diminish, but the ecosystem also changes. Climate research has not yet taken this into account sufficiently. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the Universities of Cambridge and Jena have now provided figures to illustrate the global warming under the canopy – and thus the difference to open land. klimareporter.de
Brazil: 38 indigenous peoples affected by Corona afp.com
Brazil II: Government uses Corona to make the rainforest its prey. sueddeutsche.de 
Barter trade on Fiji: Because tourism has disappeared and there is hardly any money to be earned, a barter trade was organized via a Facebook page. theguardian.com
CovidOrganics: Witchweed against Corona. Demand is booming in Africa. dw.com
Angola: Corona and a falling oil price pushes the country further towards the abyss. deutschlandfunk.de


Cell phones can interfere with children’s development: Surprisingly, the realisation does not come as a surprise: when mother and father are constantly staring at their mobile phones, children lack eye contact and the liveliness of facial expressions. This can have a negative effect on children’s development and ability to bond. For parents, only training certain rituals will help them to put the device away and be free for their children. For example, the book author Thomas Feibel recommends using the mobile phone when eating together with children or simply putting it in a box to sleep. shz.de
All photos: Source pixabay.com

German edition