FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 22/21 

to the German edition

Bundesrat does not go far enough with correcting the Climate Protection Act: The government has submitted a draft amendment to the Climate Protection Act, but this change, which the Federal Constitutional Court had ordered in a previous ruling, does not go far enough for the Länder chamber. In addition, the financing is also criticised. The Bundesrat demands improvements. The regulations planned so far would not yet do sufficient justice to the goal of mitigating the negative consequences of climate change for people’s fundamental rights, the Länder chamber explained after a lengthy, initial discussion of the planned law. n-tv.debr.de

Implementation unclear: No progress was made at last week’s EU summit on how to implement the tightened climate target by 2030. The joint declaration remained vague. The heads of state and government could only agree to deal with the issue again „in due course“. The EU Commission should first submit concrete proposals. EU leader Ursula von der Leyen stressed that she wanted to stick to the different climate targets for individual EU member states. A passage on burden-sharing among members was deleted from the declaration. tagesschau.de

Six cities in Germany exceed nitrogen dioxide levels in Germany.

The measurement data for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) for 2020 are available for all air monitoring stations in Germany: The air quality limit value of 40 micrograms NO₂ per cubic metre of air (µg/m³) as an annual mean was exceeded in six cities. In 2019, 25 cities were still affected by limit value exceedances, in 2018 there were 57. Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA): „The air in the cities is getting cleaner, the development is going in the right direction and that is pleasing. However: the limit value for the protection of health, which was already decided in 1999, should have been complied with since 2010.“ The following cities are still above the limit: Munich (54 micrograms NO₂ per cubic metre of air), Ludwigsburg (47 µg/m³), Limburg (44 µg/m³), Stuttgart (43 µg/m³), Darmstadt (42 µg/m³) and Hamburg (41 µg/m³). umweltbundesamt.de

Court history written: The energy company Shell must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions much more than planned, a court in The Hague ruled. Several environmental organisations and more than 17,000 citizens had sued the company. Shell was in breach of global climate targets and continued to invest heavily in the extraction of oil and natural gas, the plaintiffs had argued. Opinions on the judgement vary depending on the interests at stake. This may now become a precedent for many other corporations.  zeit.de , lto.de, sueddeutsche.de,  klimareporter.de

Habeck – Climate protection is not a lifestyle: Green Party leader Robert Habeck has intervened in the discussion about short-haul flights and warned against making climate protection a lifestyle issue. We would have to make climate protection social in order to maintain the social consensus for it for 25 years, he said. The Greens had nothing against low prices, as long as environmentally harmful consumption was not subsidised with tax money. With this, Habeck explained a statement made by the Greens‘ candidate for chancellor. Annalena Baerbock, who had said that she would make air travel more expensive if she came to power and that she would work towards the complete abolition of short-haul flights. She said it was „not fair“ that taxpayers‘ money was being used to subsidise paraffin, while long-distance train journeys „are expensive, especially at peak times“. zdf.de

Threateningly close: Within the next five years, the average global temperature could exceed the pre-industrial level by more than 1.5 degrees. According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), there is currently a 40 percent chance that this important limit from the Paris Climate Agreement will be reached between 2021 and 2025. With the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, the international community agreed to limit global warming to two degrees compared to the pre-industrial era and, if possible, to aim for a limit of 1.5 degrees. wmo.int,  tagesspiegel.de

Supply chain law passed: In the long struggle for a supply chain law to ensure compliance with human rights and environmental standards, the three responsible ministries have achieved a breakthrough. The law is to be passed before the end of this legislative period. The Supply Chain Act is intended to oblige German companies to ensure that their foreign suppliers also respect human rights and protect the environment. If a German company becomes aware of a grievance in the supply chain, they are to be legally obliged to remedy it. deutschlandfunk.de


Gründet Genossenschaften!

Gemeinsam unsere Zukunft gestalten. Eine Anleitung

The situation is serious. Someone would have to do something. Self-generating electricity, solidarity farming, car sharing – there are many areas where citizens can organise their gainful employment differently and take it into their own hands. A cooperative as a democratic and relatively unbureaucratic association is made for this. But what should one know in advance?  Stefan Hoffmann introduces the organisational form „cooperative“, names its advantages and explains in which areas cooperatives can be successful. The book inspires and shows in a comprehensible way which steps have to be taken to found a cooperative. oekom.de


Motor oil: The world’s largest site for recycled motor oil is being built in Saxony-Anhalt. mdr.de
Hedge funds: Exxon should rethink. handelsblatt.com 
North Stream II: No US sanctions. tagesschau.de
AmAmazon: Litter the world, and everyone goes along with it.A law that was supposed to prevent this is proving to be a toothless tiger. freitag.de
Greenpeace action: Hundreds of car keys on the Zugspitze. leonberger-kreiszeitung.de
UBA: Launches interactive environmental atlas „Building, Housing, Households“. sonnenseite.com
British finance minister wants appropriate taxation of tech giants: US President Biden gets support for his proposal of a global taxation of large corporations, from the British finance minister. handelsblatt.com
Large hydrogen alliance: Billions for the energy turnaround. In Germany, more climate-damaging CO2 emissions are to be saved more quickly. Hydrogen is to play a central role. morgenpost.de

The seventeeen goals Magazin tells inspiring stories about how people are moving the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving the sustainability goals.


Proposal for a mobility law presented: A proposal for a federal mobility law has now been presented by the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD). For the first time, transport policy is to be committed to social goals. Buses, trains, cars, cycling and walking are treated equally in the draft law. The VCD wants to introduce a completely new logic in traffic law. Today, transport policy decisions do not follow any overriding goal, criticises VCD Chairperson Kerstin Haarmann. In order to change this, the law should define goals for transport policy – for example, that mobility is organised in a land-saving way. taz.de

Climate neutrality can give car suppliers a competitive edge: The future belongs to emission-neutral vehicles. But the switch to CO2-free drive systems and climate-neutral production poses enormous challenges for car manufacturers and their suppliers. The international management consultancy Bain & Company has analysed the opportunities that arise from rapid decarbonisation, especially for automotive suppliers, with a view to customers, costs and competition.. fair-economics.de

Öko-Institut: Germany should push for an EU-wide tax on paraffin for aircraft and increase the air transport tax in such a way that this compensates for the lack of VAT on international flights. With these and other proposals, the current preferential treatment of air transport compared to other means of transport such as rail could be ended and stronger incentives to reduce climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions could be created. This is shown in a recent study by the Öko-Institut on behalf of the Climate Neutrality Foundation. fair-economics.de

E-mobility: The carmakers and their burden of luxury. stuttgarter-zeitung.de
Tesla: Fire attack on construction site.  rbb.de

Boom market electric drive: Car suppliers fight hard for orders worth billions. Bosch, ZF and the Conti subsidiary Vitesco sense a lucrative business. In the case of a particularly valuable component in the electric powertrain, the competition is already ruinous. handelsblatt.com

Effects of the CO2 price on the logistics sector: In its answer (19/29684) to a minor question (19/29167) of the FDP parliamentary group, the Federal Government provides information on the effects of the CO2 price on the logistics sector. In the answer, the government refers to the decision taken in the Climate Protection Programme 2030 to introduce a CO2 price for road freight transport from 2023 onwards by means of a CO2 surcharge in the HGV toll. The prerequisite for this is an amendment to Directive 1999/62/EC, the answer states. The corresponding negotiations at EU level are still ongoing. In the process, it is being examined how a double burden on the road haulage industry due to the additional expenses from national fuel emissions trading and thus distortions of competition vis-à-vis the foreign road haulage industry could be avoided. As soon as the SESTA Carbon Leakage Regulation enters into force, the transport and logistics industry will also have the opportunity to apply for retroactive recognition as a sector eligible for state aid:


Pain perception of chicken embryos: The draft law amending the Animal Protection Act to prohibit the killing of chicks is based on the scientific knowledge that the chicken embryo is not yet capable of nociception before the seventh day of incubation or cannot yet experience aversive sensations as pain. After the seventh day of incubation, the ability to experience pain develops, without it being possible at present to name specific points in time when the ability to perceive nociception or pain begins, according to an answer (19/29677) of the Federal Government to a small question (19/29297) of the FDP parliamentary group. In drafting the bill, the Federal Government had drawn on the existing scientific expertise of the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), which is part of the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It goes on to say that the technical progress made in sex determination procedures as a result of the government’s funding suggests that corresponding procedures could be established from the end of 2023 or that further technologies could achieve market maturity within the aforementioned period.

Costa Rica – regional pioneer in climate protection: According to the Federal Government, Costa Rica is a regional pioneer in climate protection and decarbonisation and already generates around 99 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. This is stated in an answer (19/29658) to a minor question (19/28215) of the FDP parliamentary group. The state has launched its own hydrogen alliance, which coordinates the use of hydrogen technology as a further instrument of decarbonisation and energy transition. However, there is still a need for action in the transport, waste, urban development and agricultural sectors, as well as in the circular economy. As the federal government writes, the economic revival after the Covid 19 pandemic should also be used to further modernise the country from an ecological point of view.

Digitisation and climate: The parliamentary group Die Linke presents an extensive catalogue of questions on the sustainability and climate compatibility of digitisation in a small question (19/29993). Among other things, it inquires about the implementation status of the more than 70 measures presented by the Federal Environment Ministry in the Environmental Digital Agenda in February 2020. The questioners also want to know when and how the goal of limiting the energy consumption caused by IT operations in the federal administration to a maximum of 350 gigawatt hours in 2022 will be achieved.

Rich and poor in Germany: Almost 30 years after reunification, there are still significant differences in income distribution between East and West Germans. This is the result of the Sixth Poverty and Wealth Report of the Federal Government, which is now available as a briefing (19/29815). According to the report, the average income in 2016 was 19,489 euros in eastern Germany and 23,395 euros in western Germany. Thus, the gap in net equivalent income between East and West increased from 2,480 euros in 2006 to 3,906 euros in 2016. As the report further shows, the lower income level in East Germany is accompanied by a higher poverty risk rate. In 2016, the poverty risk rate was just under 23 per cent in eastern Germany and just under 15 per cent in western Germany. Compared to 2006, this is a significant increase of four percent in eastern Germany and about two percent in western Germany. The overall German poverty risk rate was 16.6 per cent.


„Yes, the ruling once again has a signalling effect in a long list of meanwhile developments. It also points the way to the future. After all, it is remarkable by now that the courts have to make the decisions that politicians can’t get their act together or can’t get their act together enough, but civil society is calling for.“

Professor Claudia Kempfert, head of the energy, transport, environment department at DIW, on the Hague court ruling against Shell…. It is indeed trend-setting against the background that last week or a few days ago the International Energy Agency made it clear in its study that we have to get out of fossil energies and into renewable energies, because they have the future and that is where the business models lie. Shell knows that, and so do all the other oil companies. In this respect, we would not be talking about a shift, but about a fundamental change in the global energy system, which is taking place everywhere.  deutschlandfunk.de

„We need 300 or 400 per cent more renewable energies because electricity consumption is rising despite advances in efficiency due to electrification“

Gunther Kegel, President of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers‘ Association (ZVEI),  said that the expansion of renewable energies in Germany and Europe must be driven forward „massively“ and obstacles removed. Approval procedures should be shortened for the expansion „and local environmental protection cannot take precedence over climate protection,“ said Kegel. Furthermore, it is necessary to modernise and expand the electricity grids. tagesspiegel.de


Criticism of the reconciliation agreement with Namibia: The Namibia Special Representative of the Federal Government, Ruprecht Polenz (CDU), has rejected criticism of the planned reconciliation agreement to come to terms with Germany’s bloody colonial history. Speaking on Bayern 2 radio on Saturday, Polenz refuted the accusation voiced in Namibia that the ethnic groups affected by the German atrocities had not been sufficiently involved in the negotiations between the two governments. „Representatives of the Herero and Nama sat at the table in every round of negotiations,“ Polenz said.The criticism comes mainly from those „who would have liked to sit at the table, but where the Namibian government decided otherwise and put other Herero and Nama at the table“, Polenz said. „Something like that happens.“ He added that the number of different groupings within the ethnic groups was simply very large. „Of course, we have no claim to reconciliation,“ said the Special Representative. „But I think that the agreement is a good basis to also initiate social reconciliation processes.“ faz.net

New home: Six orphaned elephant cubs have found a new home at Victoria Falls after a journey of almost a thousand kilometres. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the cubs Marsie, Jack, Johnnie, Tessa, Mana and Amira were rescued from dried-up waterholes in the drought years of 2018 and 2019, sometimes in dramatic circumstances. Mana had also suffered injuries from attacking predators, he said. „Each of the animals was rescued from life-threatening danger as an orphan,“ IFAW regional director Neil Greenwood said on Thursday. geo.de

Rebuilding Beira in Mozambique: 2019 Cyclone Idai almost completely destroyed the town of Beira in Mozambique. The town is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. Reconstruction is now focusing on a sustainable flood control strategy. Instead of dykes and concrete retention basins, watercourses in the city are being renaturalised and planted with mangroves. At the same time, green spaces are being created that soak up floodwater like a sponge and thus protect the city from flooding. The centrepiece of the project is the 45-hectare Green Park in the city centre. Conservationists praise the approach, but not all residents agree. For example, a fishing settlement is to be demolished to make way for the mangroves.  dw.com

Morocco: According to IATA, more than 700 aircraft are retired from airline fleets every year, and about 90 per cent of aircraft parts can be reused or recycled. And yet no African country has a centre for the deconstruction and recycling of aircraft. A challenge that Morocco wants to take up.  agenceecofin.com

WHO: Africa ‚urgently‘ needs Corona vaccines. WHO is appealing to the global community to share existing vaccines with Africa. The continent is largely excluded from the supply, it said. Currently, there is also a lack of vaccines for second vaccinations. dw.com
Egypt: China is building Egypt a new capital. The North African country has a fast-growing economy. China is putting a lot of money into building its metropolis, with a parliament and presidential palace.  zeit.de
Ethiopia: USA cuts Ethiopia aid because of Tigray conflict. Humanitarian aid is not to be affected by the planned cuts. Instead, there are to be visa sanctions against government representatives. derstandard.at
Madagascar: Famine – „We see families selling their cooking utensils to get food“. More than one million people are threatened by acute hunger on the island nation. Because there is no money, the UN has to limit its aid.. nzz.ch
Mali: Security Council condemns coup.. dw.com
Rwanda: France admits co-responsibility for genocide. During a visit to Rwanda, President Emmanuel Macron admitted his country’s political responsibility in the 1994 genocide. Nevertheless, France was „not an accomplice“ to the crimes and the perpetrators. dw.com


Humankind has been influencing nature for thousands of years: As a group of scientists has discovered, humans had a lasting impact on the Earth long before they influenced the climate through greenhouse gas emissions. For thousands of years, agriculture has already been strongly changing the vegetation. This is the conclusion of Ondrej Mottl and Suzette Flantua from the University of Bergen, Norway, who analysed pollen from water bodies and bogs. The result: extensive vegetation change, increasing over time, which in some regions now exceeds the pace of change after the end of the last ice age. The conclusion that this could also mean that the previously known strong changes in the ecosystems in the 20th and 21st centuries had their beginning in part thousands of years earlier than previously assumed. tagesspiegel.de

Hydrogen: More and more building projects now rely on hydrogen and fuel cells for their energy supply. Against the backdrop of the Paris climate goals, it makes sense to no longer use fossil fuels for new buildings, but to rely entirely on renewable energies. However, since the expenditure associated with innovative energy technology is often considerable, it is all the more worthwhile the larger the number of users. Such an alternative approach makes sense especially for neighbourhood solutions, where sometimes many dozens or even hundreds of residential units are built. hzwei.info

Australia in the distribution battle for land: One would think that there would be enough land Down Under. But to improve Australia’s carbon footprint, corporations are taking over huge tracts of land and letting the vegetation run wild. Large corporations are taking over huge tracts of land and fencing them off for up to 100 years. Agriculture and animal husbandry are no longer possible there. Now there are protests because many people complain about the negative impact on their sparsely populated communities. Because without livestock farmers, many local jobs could be lost. Around 26 million euros earned with „carbon farming“ in the region until the end of 2020 would largely flow to corporations based in distant metropolises. The local people would not benefit. tagesschau.de

Whales: What marine mammals contribute to climate protection. br.de 
Old trees: Masters of renewal. derstandard.at
Travemünde butcher: In search of new packaging without plastic. ndr.de
Aral Sea: UN resolution on the Aral Sea region passed. ostexperte.de
Species extinction: Worse than donosaur extinction. fair-economics.de


Leaves and plum pits for bbq fire: Summer barbecuing is not what it used to be either. This is because charcoal, which comes from tropical forests or from valuable trees in Europe, is needed for barbecuing. This is where the development of two schoolgirls from Mainz may be groundbreaking: they want to replace charcoal with plum seeds and leaves. Helena Dillmann and Pauline Fesser have reached the national final of „Jugend forscht“ in the chemistry category with their project. The two seventeen-year-old schoolgirls wanted to replace environmentally harmful wood as barbecue fuel and experimented with waste materials from plants. swr.de

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All pictures, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com

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