FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 26/21
Missing the 2 degree target will have irreversible impacts on humans: In the draft of a comprehensive IPCC report, experts estimate that two degrees of global warming will put an additional 420 million people at risk of heat waves. Intensified heat waves, increased hunger, flooded coastal locations, species extinction – missing the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement will have „irreversible impacts on humans and ecological systems“, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is what the draft IPCC report says. In addition, the draft report foresees a risk of hunger for an additional eight to 80 million people by 2050. The extent of this risk depends on the development of greenhouse gas emissions. tagesspiegel.de
Germany gives green light for Corona recovery programme: After Portugal, Spain, Greece and other EU countries, Germany has also received the green light for its Corona recovery programme. The German government is allowed to call on Brussels for 25.6 billion euros over the next few years to get the economy going again. The main aim is to strengthen climate protection. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel sees the resilience plan as an „important response to the pandemic“. But the German reform plan is blowing a lot of wind in its face, at least in the European Parliament. taz.de
By the end of 2021, 51 per cent will be working on the move
According to a study, 51 per cent of all knowledge workers worldwide are expected to work remotely by the end of 2021, up from 27 per cent of knowledge workers in 2019. Teleworkers will account for 32 per cent of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021. This is an increase of 17 per cent of the workforce compared to 2019. Knowledge workers are defined as those who work in knowledge-intensive occupations, such as accountants or engineers. A remote worker is an employee who works at least one full day per week away from their company, government or client location (hybrid worker) or works entirely from home (full remote worker). it-daily.net
Ecocide could be added to Rome Statute: Until now, the International Criminal Court has tried war and human rights crimes, but now it could also try the perpetrators of environmental disasters. The founding act of the court, also called the Rome Statute, is to be amended to include crimes against the environment. A proposal to this effect states that „ecocide“ exists when „unlawful or wanton acts“ are committed that create a „substantial likelihood“ of serious, „widespread or long-term environmental damage“. spiegel.de
Federal Minister of Economics wants to fell spruce trees: Election campaign stunt or serious? Due to the high cost of timber, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier proposes to cut down more spruce trees. The ministry is loudly considering lifting the current cutting limit for spruce wood as soon as possible. The paper prepared in the ministry is entitled „Proposed measures to improve the supply of wood products and other building materials and intermediate products“. Still in this legislative period, Altmaier wants to seek an agreement with the responsible ministries on the implementation of the proposals. tagesschau.de
CO2 costs passed on to tenants: The compromise between the CDU and SPD to relieve the burden on tenants in Germany has collapsed. Tenants must continue to bear the additional costs of the CO₂ price on oil and gas alone. The coalition partners had already agreed on a 50/50 split. The SPD had fought for the compromise for months. Originally, it was planned to anchor the new cost sharing in law this week at the latest. It is now too late for that, according to the SPD parliamentary group. The compromise failed because the CDU did not want to burden landlords any further. wiwo.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Understanding Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Climate Change in the Context of Science and Policy
The threat of global warming contrasts with the immense knowledge that mankind possesses about it. However, a good understanding of the interrelationships should not only be present among experts in science and politics – but also among individual people as the polluters. They have a great deal of leeway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their personal sphere of action. The prerequisite for this is their own conviction.
Stephan Buhofer explains the basic principles of climate science, analyses the emission of greenhouse gases and examines the worldwide efforts to reduce them. In the sense of a guide, the book offers a comprehensive insight into the technical aspects of the topic – for anyone who wants to inform themselves in depth. oekom.de
Climate Foundation: Controversial climate foundation launches first project. zeit.de
Climate Protection Act: What’s in it. deutschlandfunk.de
Sea-level rise: The German provinces are also affected. spiegel.de
North Stream 2: USA and Germany want to settle dispute. dlf.de
Bonus payments: At VW, environmental and social goals are to be taken into account for top managers. bnn.de
More protection: In order to protect insects, stricter rules will apply in Germany in future, among other things for the use of pesticides in agriculture. dlf.de
Compulsory solar roofs: According to a newspaper report, the German government is not planning to make solar roofs compulsory for new buildings after all. handelsblatt.com
EU states and EU Parliament: Agreement on agricultural reform Environmentalists, however, fear a sham. rnz.de
The seventeeen 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.
Scientists call for technology openness in mobility: Is electromobility the way or one way? Scientists raise these questions in an open letter to the EU Commission. They state that the real CO2 emissions of electric cars are twice as high as previously presented. The scientists argue that the ever-increasing number of e-cars means that more conventional electricity is needed – and this inevitably leads to higher CO2 emissions. The signatories advocate openness to technology, hydrogen or synthetic fuels as well as hybrid vehicles can be drive types. zdf.de
Short-haul flights – sensible or symbolic policy: A ban on short-haul flights is being discussed not only in Germany but also in Spain, and the topic is becoming an election campaign hit. In France, they are already partly banned. These short-haul flights account for about eight per cent of total air traffic emissions. Is this discussion therefore merely one of sympolo-politics? tagesspiegel.de
Rail has problems with climate change: There is a goal that Deutsche Bahn wants to be climate neutral by 2040. But the vehicles and infrastructure in particular are increasingly facing challenges. While winter in particular is considered the rail company’s biggest enemy, it is now also struggling in the summer months. Since last Thursday, Deutsche Bahn has recorded an „increased incidence of faults“ with the air-conditioning systems on its trains, according to infrastructure board member Ronald Pofalla. Experts see hard times ahead for the transport company. Now, Deutsche Bahn has commissioned climate researchers to conduct a study on the consequences of climate change for rail transport. The result: the heat in particular will cause DB even more problems in the future. welt.de
On the road without your own car: how car-sharing benches work in the countryside. In some places in the Austrian countryside, benches are set up for people looking for a ride. In Lusatia, a similar project is starting in Vetschau. derstandard.at , lr-online.de
German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU): The SRU published a report on hydrogen. In the opinion of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), the wrong course is being set: Currently, it is being discussed to invest massively in hydrogen from fossil fuels. However, its production causes significant greenhouse gas emissions – even if hydrogen is produced from natural gas in combination with CO2 capture and storage (CCS). There are also environmental and health risks associated with CO2 storage. „This would mean investing in technologies and infrastructure that no longer have a place in a greenhouse gas-free and environmentally friendly economy,“ says Prof. Claudia Kemfert. „Instead of expensive bridging technologies, we need investments in the future.“ umweltrat.de
Hydrogen Europe has a new board: Jon André Løkke has been elected as the new president of Hydrogen Europe, taking over from Valerie Bouillon-Delporte. Løkke, who has been CEO of Nel Hydrogen since 2016, has worked in the renewable energy industry for 20 years. Secretary General is and remains Jorgo Chatzimarkakis. h2-view.com
Northern German states want to expand hydrogen: Due to almost permanent wind, northern Germany is a privileged location for the generation of climate-neutral electricity. The production of hydrogen is part of this. heise.de
Daimler: Hydrogen trucks, you can’t just rely on one technology. efahrer.chip.de
New hydrogen pipeline from Rotterdam to Germany: The Port of Rotterdam Authority has launched a feasibility study for the construction of a new pipeline connection to Germany. The pipeline, called „Delta Corridor“, is primarily intended to transport hydrogen. The planned route is to run from Rotterdam to the Chemelot industrial park and to North Rhine-Westphalia – an extension to Belgium is also possible. chemietechnik.de
Gas industry: Disagreement on EU hydrogen strategy: Experts from the gas and financial sectors as well as from industry disagree on how to implement the EU hydrogen strategy. This became clear at a conference of the network „Energy Council“. In particular, blending, i.e. adding hydrogen to the grid, is controversial. energate-messenger.de
Hydrogen regulation in the Energy Industry Act: The Economic Committee of the Bundestag has cleared the way for a legal regulation on hydrogen networks in the Energy Industry Act. The Federal Government’s hydrogen strategy is thus to take a decisive step forward. In a session on Tuesday, the members of parliament decided with the votes of the CDU/CSU and SPD and against those of the opposition to adopt the bill of the federal government „on the implementation of EU legal requirements and on the regulation of pure hydrogen networks in energy law“ (19/27453, 19/28407). An FDP motion on hydrogen grids (19/27819) did not find a majority, a Green bill (19/29288) was also rejected, as was a Green motion on gas grid planning (19/29753). In addition, the committee adopted an amended version of a federal government ordinance on the implementation of the Renewable Energy Sources Act 2021 and on the amendment of other energy law provisions (19/29793). Here, too, the government factions voted in favour, the opposition factions voted against. In the debate, representatives of the government factions referred to recent amendments to the bill, such as simplifications of energy storage systems in order to accelerate their ramp-up. They also saw important steps being taken to promote private investment in the expansion of renewable energies. The opposition criticised the bill with different thrusts. While a representative of the AfD saw planning approaches and considered hydrogen to be a permanent subsidy business, the FDP said that the regulations had to be simpler, clearer and on a larger scale. The Left Party called for a reorientation of the entire climate and energy policy – at present, renewable energies were being developed too slowly and at the same time consumers were primarily being asked to pay. A representative of the Greens criticised a hodgepodge of small-scale provisions without answering the really big questions.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
More transparency in the use of recycled plastics: In 2019, post-consumer recyclates accounted for 7.2 per cent of the plastics processed in Germany. This is according to the Federal Government’s answer (19/30321) to a minor question (19/30038) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. In 2017, the figure was only 5.6 per cent. Post-consumer recyclates are recyclates that result from the reprocessing of consumer waste. In principle, improved information on the composition of products and packaging makes sense in order to open up more waste for high-quality recycling, writes the Federal Government. It shares the view that a digital product passport could be a suitable instrument to store all product information. In this context, it welcomes the fact that the European Commission has identified such a digital product passport as a potentially suitable measure within the framework of the Sustainable Product Initiative (SPI).
Experts call for concretisation of the Climate Protection Act: The planned amendment of the Federal Climate Protection Act (19/30230) has been criticised, in part sharply, in a public hearing in the Committee for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. In the meeting on Monday, 21 June 2021, chaired by committee chair Sylvia Kotting-Uhl (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), experts criticised in particular that the bill sets targets but leaves open the measures needed to achieve these targets. The amendment of the Climate Protection Act is based on a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. According to the bill, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 65 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels; the previous reduction target was 55 per cent. By 2040, emissions are to be reduced by 88 per cent, and by 2045, Germany is to be climate-neutral. The Environment Committee will issue its resolution recommendation on the amendment on Tuesday. According to the agenda, the Bundestag plenum will decide on the bill on 24 June. The stricter climate protection targets must be backed up with concrete measures, demanded Detlef Raphael of the Federation of German Municipalities‘ Central Associations. To ensure that these measures do not jeopardise the equal development of the regions, compensation mechanisms are needed. Furthermore, a rapid expansion of renewable energies and a further development of the Building Energy Act are necessary, whereby the focus must be on neighbourhoods and not on individual buildings. more on bundestag.de
Environment Committee approves Climate Protection Act: The Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has approved the draft of a First Act to amend the Federal Climate Protection Act (19/30230). In a special session on Tuesday, the committee voted in favour of the bill in amended form with the votes of the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups. All opposition factions voted against the bill, which will be on the agenda of the Bundestag plenary on Thursday. The previously adopted amendment by the coalition factions stipulates, among other things, that the economic and social consequences of climate protection policy must be taken into account. more on bundestag.de
Statement on the German Sustainability Strategy: The Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development welcomes the fact that the further development of the German Sustainability Strategy 2021 „places a much greater focus on the interconnections between different areas of action“. By defining areas of transformation, the need for transdisciplinary approaches to sustainable change is presented unequivocally and emphatically, the Advisory Council’s statement on the Sustainability Strategy (19/30530) states. This is the first time that the Federal Government has presented a cross-target description and allocation of corresponding measures. These areas of action must now be implemented concretely in practice and should serve as a basis for the elaboration of future programmes of measures, the MPs demand.
Grants to Agora Energiewende: In its answer (19/30811) to a minor question (19/30068) of the FDP parliamentary group, the Federal Government discusses grants to the think tank Agora Energiewende. It lists funding programmes in which the non-profit GmbH was involved and comments on project budgets. According to the information, there are no consultancy contracts with Agora Energiewende. It also does not receive any institutional funding from the federal budget.
„The only question is to what extent (the climate will be protected), and this law falls far short of what should have been agreed upon in order to actually achieve the 65 percent by 2030, 65 percent reduction compared to 1990. In particular, it has remained very vague. There is little concrete information to be found there. And the whole thing – of course, this is not surprising – is due to the federal election. They don’t want to scare anyone off, and that’s why they passed such a larifarian law here.“
Mojib Latif, German meteorologist, climate researcher, university lecturer and President of the German Club of Rome. No one knows what the path to 2030 and beyond will look like. A new target has been set, the 65 per cent, but how to get there is completely unclear. A few small measures have been adopted, such as making it easier to increase the capacity of wind turbines. This means, for example, that they can be built higher, that they can be more powerful. A little has been done with green hydrogen, so that it no longer has to pay the renewable energy levy. But all that is far too little. We need systemic changes, and we can’t just tinker around with what we have today. We need a so-called transformation. We need to turn the economy upside down. All that is simply missing, for example, the question of where the green hydrogen is supposed to come from. dlf.de
Egypt’s „Tiktok Girls“: Ten years in prison for a bit of fun. Hanin Hossam had an audience of millions on the internet and earned good money with dance videos. Until the judiciary recognised in her a danger to public morals. The influencer now received a harsh sentence for human trafficking. nzz.ch
Ethiopia: The Nobel Peace Prize winner turned warlord. Last Monday, elections were held in Ethiopia. It is the first election for Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed – who ran as a reformer and plunged his country into brutal chaos within a very short time. spiegel.de , dw.com
Burkina Faso: Around ten police officers killed in jihadist attack in Burkina Faso. Army helps in the search for the perpetrators. derstandard.at
Congo: The Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest wants to build dams in Congo for 80 billion dollars. Europe is also to profit from the energy. But the project is controversial. faz.net
Libya Conference in Berlin: Thousands of foreign fighters, dispute over the legal basis for elections, mistrust among politicians and militias: lasting peace in Libya is still far from being within reach. sueddeutsche.de , taz.de
Non-profit enterprises for Africa: In Berlin, a start-up called Manuyoo hit the scene. Its goal is to improve the lack of value creation in Africa, which leads to dependencies in the commodity trade. To this end, a platform was developed that enables companies from the African continent to offer their goods in Germany. fair-economics. de
Butterflies can cross the Sahara: Butterflies can cover up to 14,000 kilometres a year. Butterflies that fly from their African wintering grounds to Europe even manage to cross the Sahara. This is the longest known migration cycle for an insect. Researchers from China have determined that if the caterpillars of the thistle butterfly can eat enough leaves from plants that thrive in wet winters in the sub-Sahara, then enough butterflies will develop in spring to stream north through the Sahara. To do this, the animals need a favourable tailwind, which prevails at an altitude of about three kilometres above sea level. spektrum.de
Sustainable urban development in Africa: In a motion (19/30985), the coalition parliamentary groups of CDU/CSU and SPD advocate for the accompaniment and support of urbanisation processes in Africa in the sense of sustainable urban development. Among other things, the MPs call on the Federal Government to further expand the topic of urban development as an important field of action of German development cooperation, especially in Africa, following the 2030 reform of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Sustainable urban development must play a much greater role, especially in cooperation with African countries. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, as well as the principles of good urban development policy according to the New Leipzig Charter, should form the substantive framework for cooperation.
Greens call for rethinking migration policy in Africa: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group calls for a paradigm shift in European migration policy with African countries. According to a motion (19/30953), the interests of countries of origin, destination countries and migrants should be considered and included on an equal footing. Before the conclusion of international treaties and agreements, but also in the course of the elaboration and orientation of migration and development policy instruments with an impact on the African continent, the opinions and expertise of African actors from science, civil society and regional organisations should be heard and included at national and EU level. Germany should also introduce a modern immigration law that simplifies access to education and labour migration, takes global and regional needs into account and creates long-term residence prospects.
The holiday season is just around the corner and hiking is en vogue again, especially in times of pandemic. Sustainable hiking – these tips will help you protect the environment – What do I really need for hiking? What alternatives are there to chemical-laden functional jackets? Is wild camping actually allowed in Germany? And how do I protect nature on hikes? In recent months, many of us have walked all the parks and streets outside our front door. If you want to see something new, really beautiful nature, hiking is just the thing for you. Lena and Kathi provide tips for hiking beginners and pros, on equipment, routes and more – all with an eye on the environment, of course. utopia.de
Ozone layer over the Arctic: Climate change is causing increased ozone depletion over the Arctic through a complicated and very complex mechanism, these are the findings of an expedition last year. A study now summarises that despite the worldwide ban on ozone-depleting substances, it is worrying that ozone losses in the area of the Arctic polar vortex will continue to increase until the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked. This may have consequences for people in Europe, North America and Asia. spektrum.de
EU Court of Justice saves Doñana Nature Park: The EU Commission sued Spain and won. The country on the Iberian Peninsula is doing too little to protect the Coto de Doñana National Park. This was the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg last Thursday. The EU Commission criticised the Madrid government for not complying with European water directives. The ECJ speaks of „excessive abstraction of groundwater“ in and around the Coto de Doñana. The national park lies on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir River and is one of the largest wetlands in Europe. On their way to Africa and back, the national park is a very important resting place for migratory birds. The Guadalquivir flows into the Atlantic near Seville. taz.de
Container shipping: megalomania with consequences, container ships of over 400 metres in length are possible – but with more efficiency, the risks for people and the environment also grow. International safety standards have not kept pace with the development of mega-freighters. Possible accidents could be technically prevented, but that costs a lot of money. deutschlandfunk.de
UFOS or not? Around 140 unexplained celestial phenomena have been documented by NASA and other US agencies over the past two decades. This is according to the public UFO report of the US Department of Defence in cooperation with the intelligence agencies, which was published last Friday. Only one of the 144 phenomena investigated could be identified. That was a balloon from which air escaped. The other observations have not yet been clarified. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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