Dispute over supply chain law: Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) opposes his colleagues Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Gerd Müller (CSU). If Altmaier has his way, as few companies as possible should be included in the law. The topic was even removed from the cabinet agenda last Wednesday because the houses could not agree. The core of the law: German companies are to be made jointly responsible for working conditions, human rights and ecology in their foreign supplier factories. Heil and Müller want the law to apply to companies with 500 or more employees, while the Ministry of Economics wants it to apply to companies with 5,000 or more. The BMWi also wants to drastically reduce liability. At the weekend Gerd Müller added to this. He also justified the law with the issue of child labour. „The fight against child labour is progressing far too slowly“ taz.de , zeit.de
More than 60 gigawatts of photovoltaic and wind power were produced by storm Kirsten last week. A lot of wind in northern Germany and sunshine in the south brought Germany a new record in renewable energy production on Wednesday. Photovoltaics and wind power covered more than 75 percent of net electricity generation over the entire day. pv-magazine.de
Green hydrogen is not yet climate neutral: In its national hydrogen strategy the German government has decided to promote the production of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen production is to be exempted from the EEG tax. To this end, the responsible ministry wants to apply the so-called Special Equalisation Scheme (BesAR) to hydrogen electrolysis in order to achieve the reduction of the EEG levy. However, there are some reservations about this approach: „An unchanged extension of the BesAR regulations to electrolysis would cause considerable uncertainty for all those who want to make substantial investments in electrolysis plants“, says Christian Küchen, General Manager of the Mineralölwirtschaftsverband (MWV) and spokesman of the PtX-Allianz. handelsblatt.com
There is a particular need to catch up in the field of energy-efficient building refurbishment: a survey on the energy status of apartment buildings produced a quite alarming result: 118 kilowatt hours are consumed on average per square metre and year in Germany. This corresponds to efficiency class D. The heating systems used there are 23 years old. This has little to do with efficient heating technology. Almost 48 percent of heating systems have been replaced in the last 20 years, which means that heating systems still perform better than the renovation of upper floor ceilings (43 percent), roofs (43 percent), external walls (36 percent), windows (43 percent) or cellar ceilings (30 percent). wiwo.de
Tree premium planned: German forests swallow around 60 million tonnes of CO2 every year, and the Federal Republic of Germany produces around 810 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. With a tree premium, the government now wants to reward forest owners for the „work of their trees“. This could amount to around 1.5 billion euros per year. taz.de
Africa is free of polio: The wild poliovirus is a thing of the past in Africa. NThe independent Africa Regional Certification Commission declared that the wild type of the poliovirus has been eradicated in all 47 countries of the WHO Africa region. „Today is a historic day for Africa,“ said Rose Leke, Head of the Commission. According to the WHO, wild poliovirus is the second virus to be eradicated on the African continent. The smallpox disappeared 40 years ago. spiegel.de
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Wildnis, Wald, Mensch
Research contributions to the development of a national park region using the example of the Black Forest
„Wilderness, forest, man“ – these keywords stand for the wide range of topics in this book. Topics that were dealt with by research teams from science and practice within the framework of the real laboratory „Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald“ (WiNo) from 2015 to 2020. The impetus for this came with the founding of the Black Forest National Park on 1 January 2014, which was preceded by numerous debates: How will nature react if the management of forest areas is discontinued? Will neighbouring forest stands ‚fall victim‘ to the bark beetle? What can be done if the local population’s previous income opportunities linked to the forest are lost? Could new employment opportunities arise, e.g. in tourism? The aim of this book is to address these central questions for the development of a national park region and to explore the potential for cooperation between science and practice in the search for answers and solutions. oekom.de
Bund: Issues green bond fair-economics.de
Fridays for Future activist: Jörg Blasel wants to enter the Bundestag with a Green Ticket. faz.net
Lausitz: Protest against house demolition because of lignite. welt.de
Trouble about street names: In Berlin, the controversy over Mohrenstrasse mainly shows Germany’s confrontation with its colonial past. dw.com
Man-made CO2 emissions: Greater than ever before. science.sciencemag.org
SPD: In a dilemma between social justice and climate protection. euractiv.de
Greens: Alienation between climate protectors and the Green Party. tagesspiegel.de
USA: Government sued for oil and gas exploration in Alaska. taz.de
Consumption: Less and more conscious in the COVID-19 pandemic Oldenburger-onlinezeitung.de
Rügenwalder: More veggie than classic. handelsblatt.com
The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.
BMWI: Funding pot for electric commercial vehicles logistik-heute.de
More charging points in Europe: Several major charging infrastructure operators have set up their own interest group in Brussels to optimise the expansion of the charging network for e-cars throughout the EU. energate-messenger.de
Strong growth in SUV registrations: Among the 3.61 million newly registered passenger cars in 2019, 762,490 are SUVs and 365,121 off-road vehicles. This means that the number of newly registered SUVs has more than doubled compared to 2015 (340,097), as can be seen from the Federal Government’s answer (19/21564) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/21135). The T-ROC from the manufacturer VW is said to be the SUV with the highest number of registrations in 2019 (58,898). Among the off-road vehicles, the VW TIGUAN was in the lead (87,771).
In its response, the German government also lists new passenger car registrations in the years 2015 to 2019 by segment, gender and with the average age of the owners, as well as the number of accidents involving SUVs and off-road vehicles. In order to answer the question of the extent to which the German government plans to ensure a reduction in the share of passenger cars in the „SUV“ and „off-road vehicle“ segments in all new registrations by means of adjustments to the legal framework, the following information is provided In its climate protection programme 2030, the German government had decided to gear motor vehicle tax more strongly to CO2 emissions. It intends that the next time a new car is purchased, motor vehicle tax will provide a stronger incentive „to choose a product that meets individual needs without bans or a ‚penalty tax‘ and at the same time, in terms of its emission potential, creates the conditions for reducing climate-damaging CO2 emissions“. To this end, the German Government had submitted a draft of a seventh law amending the Motor Vehicle Tax Act (19/20978), which provides for a stronger weighting of the CO2 test values in the tax tariff for first-time registered passenger cars in all vehicle segments and a temporary preferential treatment of particularly emission-reduced passenger cars.
Government knows nothing about bicycle thievery: The German government has no knowledge of the number of bicycles stolen in 2019 or the extent of the resulting macroeconomic damage. This can be seen from the answer (19/21677) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/21415). According to the reply, the German Government is promoting the construction of bicycle parking garages, collective garages and bicycle parking facilities as part of the National Climate Protection Initiative via the Municipal Directive. Limited in time between 1 August 2020 and December 2021, improved funding conditions with increased funding rates would apply.
Fire in an e-car: Spectacular tests with lots of smoke and a tongue-in-cheek flame.stern.de
Bicycle trailers: Made in Germany on the road in Big Apple. faz.net
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG (current requests)
Bavarian climate change: The Federal Government provides information on potential effects in Bavaria, which is heavily affected by climate change, in its answer (19/21560) to a minor question from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/21291). The rising temperature trend would continue in Bavaria. Temperatures are expected to stabilise by the middle of the century, assuming a climate protection scenario of plus two degrees (RCP2.6). At the end of 2020, a climate audit will be published, including a plus 4 degrees scenario (RCP 8.5). The German government has no data on average annual temperatures at city and district level, nor on the development of hot days and tropical nights. According to the division of competences in the Basic Law, the Länder are responsible for these issues, the Federal Government writes. With regard to the effects of the climate crisis on infrastructure, it goes on to say that the maintenance of the federal motorways by the Länder with the lump-sum funds made available must be carried out under their own responsibility.
FDP asks about Natura protected areas: The FDP parliamentary group has submitted a minor question (19/21699) on the European Commission’s threatened infringement proceedings against Germany for inadequate Natura 2000 protected areas. In this question, the FDP asks the Federal Government, among other things, which sites are the subject of the infringement proceedings and why they have not yet been designated in conformity with EU law and why the conservation measures have not yet been defined. MEPs also want to know the main reasons for this.
Costs for the animal welfare label: The federal budget for the development and market introduction of an animal welfare label is estimated at €20 million for 2020. The amount is to be continued in the coming budget year and then probably reduced, explains the Federal Government in an answer (19/21632) to a minor question (19/21174) from the FDP parliamentary group. For 2019, 33 million euros had been earmarked for this purpose, but only around 85 thousand euros had been spent on logo design services, a communication concept, information materials and information and communication measures. Furthermore, it is said that the national animal welfare label will initially be introduced for the pig sector. The extension to other animal species would depend on the development of criteria in the so-called „Borchert Commission
Money for rural areas: The Federal Government has presented a draft law (19/21749) to amend the Direct Payments Implementation Act. A transitional regulation of the European Commission for the year 2021 allows Member States to decide to make available up to 15 percent of their national ceiling for direct payments fixed for the 2021 application year as additional support financed in the 2022 financial year by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). With this amendment to the law, the German government intends to use the option of reallocating funds for direct payments to farmers for the 2021 application year to the EAFRD at a rate of six percent. This would correspond to the conversion rate regulated for 2020. The aim is to „fully finance“ measures already financed from reallocation funds and to make new commitments.
Revenues from CO2 pricing: According to the German Government, revenues from CO2 pricing from 2021 onwards will be used to reduce the EEG levy, to provide further relief for citizens and industry and to promote climate protection. The total revenue from the national fuel emissions trading scheme for the period 2021 to 2024 inclusive is currently expected to amount to almost 40 billion euros, according to the answer (19/21638) to a minor question (19/21242) from the FDP parliamentary group. In order to ensure the reduction of the EEG levy, part of the revenue from the Fuel Emission Trading Act (BEHG) and 11 billion euro from the economic stimulus package 2020 would be available.
„The challenge is to provide a nationwide network that makes recharging as easy as possible for every e-car driver, whether in the city or in the surrounding area. With the forthcoming revision of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID), the EU can introduce charging infrastructure targets at Member State level“.
Christopher Burghardt, Managing Director of Chargepoint in Europe, said it could provide intelligent and targeted minimum coverage across the EU, based on a sound public process. Installing a charging point in private homes is still a challenge in many countries, he said. A binding legal framework for the right to a private charging station was therefore crucial. Finally, ensuring transparent access to e-mobility services for all motorists through e-roaming, price transparency and straightforward payment systems was also crucial.. energate-messenger.de
China’s import ban on plastic waste has had dramatic consequences: Long-lived plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental problems worldwide. Since 2018 the situation has worsened further. At that time, China practically stopped all imports of plastic waste, especially from Europe and the USA. A report by Interpol now shows how dramatic the consequences are. Most of the plastic waste is now being disposed of illegally. orf.at
Children from a near-natural environment with better IQ: Belgian researchers have found that a near-natural environment not only promotes the cognitive abilities of children. It also makes for less problematic behaviour. In a study of 600 children aged between 10 and 15 years, it was found that three percent of the surrounding greenery increased the IQ of the adolescents by an average of 2.6 points. The increase was particularly noticeable in children who had a rather low IQ. The reasons are not yet clear, but a green environment could, for example, reduce the stress level for children. theguardian.com
Hedgehogs suffer from dry summers: Hedgehogs also suffer from dry summers. Many of the animals starve or die of thirst. It has never been as dramatic as this year. The drought makes it impossible to find worms in the hard, dried-out soil. The drought also promotes insect mortality, so that the hedgehogs, known as insectivores, also lack this foundation. faz.net
Mysterious elephant death: In Botswana, the cause of the death of 281 dead animals has not yet been clarified. Now 13 more carcasses have been found in Zimbabwe, on the border with Botswana. A connection cannot be excluded.rnd.de
Dead whales: Numerous carcasses of whales and dolphins have been washed up on the beaches of Mauritius. tagesschau.de
Forest experts: Bark beetles still a pest for years. spiegel.de
Swamp turtle: On the verge of extinction in Germany. n-tv.de
Digital Pact so far ineffective: Over five billion euros have been earmarked for the digitisation of schools, 16.7 million euros have been spent so far. This is the result of a small enquiry by the FDP to the Federal Government. „One reason why the funds are flowing so poorly is that many schools and school boards are still failing due to the bureaucratic hurdles of the Digital Pact,“ says Katja Suding of the FDP. heise.de
photo credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated: pixabay.com