FAIReconomics Newsletter week 43 

German version

Climate change – The number of natural disasters has doubled: according to a UN report, some 4.2 billion people are affected and 1.2 million people have died in the last 20 years. And climate change is also responsible for this. By 2019, a total of 7348 major disasters had been registered worldwide, almost twice as many as between 1980 and 1999, according to the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR). Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Reduction, said today: „We are deliberately destructive. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from reviewing the catastrophic events of the last twenty years. COVID-19 is only the latest proof that political and economic leaders have not yet adjusted to the world around them. According to the report, Asia was hit hardest, followed by the American and African continents. China and the USA recorded the most natural disasters, followed by India, the Philippines and Indonesia. tagesschau.de undrr.org , zeit.de

World Energy Outlook: The corona pandemic has a significant impact on world energy consumption. The World Energy Outlook, which is published regularly, shows that coal has now passed its peak and oil is on the verge of extinction. Solar power is becoming the cheapest source of energy in the world. While the prospects for oil, gas and coal have deteriorated sustainably, wind and solar energy are much more stable in times of crisis. The IEA writes that Corona has only briefly slowed down the speed of growth of renewables. In contrast to all other forms of energy, the green alternatives will not only regain their pre-crisis level as early as next year, but in all probability will far exceed it in 2030. By then, wind and solar energy will already be growing by an average of ten percent every year. handelsblatt.comiae.org

The corona pandemic has a considerable impact on world energy consumption: The regularly published World Energy Outlook shows that coal has now passed its peak and oil is on the verge of extinction. Solar power is becoming the cheapest source of energy in the world. While the prospects for oil, gas and coal have deteriorated sustainably, wind and solar energy are much more stable in times of crisis. The IEA writes that Corona has only briefly slowed down the speed of growth of renewables. In contrast to all other forms of energy, the green alternatives will not only regain their pre-crisis level as early as next year, but in all probability will far exceed it in 2030. By then, wind and solar energy will already be growing by an average of ten percent each year. handelsblatt.comiae.org

In 2018, the agricultural sector in the European Union emitted 435 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which corresponds to 12.5 percent of all EU emissions. Even though the EU Commission presented a reform package for the Common Agricultural Policy two years ago, experts still doubt its feasibility. Although 40 percent of the funds provided for in the EU programme are reserved for climate protection, cattle matean can hardly be reduced without reducing the number of animals. germanwatch.org

Welthungerhilfe sees progress and regression in the fight against hunger: Welthungerhilfe (WHH) has to publish the latest figures on the Hunger Index. The corona pandemic and climate change have affected the progress made in recent years. Under the heading „Progress and setbacks“, WHH states that the situation in many developing countries is extremely vulnerable to the consequences of the health, economic and environmental crises of 2020, despite years of positive trends. Even before the beginning of the Corona pandemic, global progress in the fight against hunger was therefore insufficient to achieve the United Nations‘ goal of „Zero Hunger by 2030“. wz.de, welthungerhilfe.despiegel.de

Fridays for Future: According to a study, the German government’s climate targets are not compatible with limiting global warming to one and a half degrees Celsius. In order to achieve the goal, CO2 reduction targets of at least 60 percent by 2025 and 85 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels are necessary, according to the study by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy commissioned by Fridays for Future (FFF). zeit.de

Nitrous oxide emissions with massive consequences: Scientists are very concerned about the severe consequences of man-made nitrous oxide emissions. Laughing gas is 300 times more harmful than CO2 and is produced by nitrogen fertilisation. It also remains in the atmosphere for about 120 years. Nitrogen is converted into nitrous oxide by decomposition processes in the absence of oxygen and can then escape from the soil into the air. Nitrous oxide is also produced when biomass and fossil fuels are burned and when livestock is kept. In China, India and Brazil, the concentrations are particularly high and have been rising for decades. The concentration of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere has risen by more than 20 percent since pre-industrial times.  rnd.de

Bioplastics more worrying than expected: A laboratory study concludes that bioplastics are by no means harmless. The researchers examined 43 different products such as disposable tableware, chocolate packaging, drinking bottles, wine corks and cigarette filters made of bioplastics. Three quarters of all products examined contained harmful chemicals. businessinsider.com


Das System ist am Ende. Das Leben geht weiter – Verantwortung in Krisenzeiten

„Something new emerges, and this new can be better than the now passing.
Meinhard Miegel reflects on current world events from the ecological crises to the consequences of the corona pandemic. He promotes reflection, pause for thought and a sense of community and opposes hubris, selfishness and greed. Always wise, always concise, always thought-provoking, Miegel demands nothing less than a renewal of our culture. Never before has a system brought such a large part of humanity into such existential distress as the present one. But many people do not want to see „how far the branch is sitting on us, already sawn,“ says the author. Miegel pleads for a profound renewal, a culture of sharing and participation – and criticises pride, greed and the growth mania of our society. He also looks with concern at the popular parties, the overexploitation of resources and the lack of a credible and attractive narrative for the future.. oekom.de


Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: Presenting a concept for the construction revolution. n-tv.de
UNO: António Guterres calls for more investment in climate protection. spiegel.de
Environment Ministers: More protection against radon.. taz.de  
German Armed Forces: Blasting in Eckernförde Bay to protect against harbour porpoises. sat1regional.de
EEG levy: Only decreases minimally, government wants to cap fee. faz.net 

Das seventeeen goals Magazin erzählt in inspirierenden Geschichten, wie Menschen die Welt bewegen und zeigt auf, wie jeder einen Beitrag zum Erreichen der Nachhaltigkeitsziele leisten kann.


Mobility services flop in cities: car sharing, e-scooters, buses and trains: In large cities there are many alternative transport services. Nevertheless, many city centre residents are reluctant to part with their cars. There are various reasons for this. spiegel.de

Radical change in the logistics sector necessary: While all sectors were able to significantly reduce their 1990 greenhouse gas emissions, they are rising in the transport sector, according to an analysis by the auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Climate change is having an increasing impact on the business models of the transport and logistics industry. Logistics companies are called upon to further develop their approaches to dealing with energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions into a holistic, long-term climate strategy. After all, the transition to a climate-neutral economy could trigger a drop in profits (EBITDA) of up to 20 percent for companies as early as 2025. eurotransport.de

Mobility apps: The FDP parliamentary group is interested in the promotion of digital mobility platforms and apps by the Federal Government in a minor question (19/22756). Among other things, the MPs want to know which digital mobility platforms or apps in the field of public transport the Federal Government has supported in the past ten years by providing public funding.

Average bicycle prices: The price of bicycles and pedelecs was around 980 euros last year. This is reported by the Federal Government in its answer (19/22919) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/22399), citing information from a trade association. The tax revenue shortfall for the extension of the tax exemption for the provision of a company bicycle or electric bicycle to the employee and the extension of the exclusion of private use of a company bicycle or electric bicycle as a withdrawal is estimated to be negligible, the reply goes on to say.

Ford: Launches an electric Mustang. handelsblatt.com


Carbon-rich nitrogen-phosphorus fertiliser: The project „Carbon fertiliser from phosphorus-rich farm fertilisers by carbonisation with nitrogen recovery“ is to be continued for a further twelve months until 31 December 2021 under the programme to promote innovation. This is stated in an answer (19/23078) from the Federal Government to a minor question (19/22710) from the FDP parliamentary group. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) had given the go-ahead for the project on 31 August 2017 and provided funding of 578,000 euros. The aim of the project was to produce a carbon-containing nitrogen-phosphorus fertiliser.

Cote d’Ivoire as an engine of growth: According to the German government, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in West Africa has politically stabilised and developed into a growth engine for the region. The German government’s answer (19/23140) to a minor question (19/22732) of the FDP faction states that clear progress has been made in the improvement of the business climate aimed at in the „Compact with Africa“. Since 2011, there has also been an increased willingness to reform the observance of democratic and constitutional standards and human rights.

Financing gap in nature conservation: The German Government estimates the annual financing requirements for the implementation of the EU nature conservation directives in the period from 2021 to 2027 at a total of 1.33 to 1.55 billion euros per year. This is stated in the answer (19/23133) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/22391). The reply goes on to say that there is a clear financing gap. However, according to the Federal Government, some improvements have been achieved at national level in recent years. For example, funding for the Federal Biological Diversity Programme has been continuously increased, and a new wilderness fund was set up in 2019. In addition, the special framework plan „Measures for insect protection in the agricultural landscape“ was set up in 2020, for which 83 million euros are available in the current year.

1.4 billion for plastics: Germany will probably have to transfer a sum of around €1.4 billion to the EU in 2021 as a so-called plastics contribution. This is stated by the Federal Government in its answer (19/23141) to a minor question (19/22730) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. According to a decision of the European Union, the contribution is to be levied from January 2021 and is to amount to 80 cents per kilogram of non-recycled plastic packaging. The reply further states that the recycling rate for plastic packaging in Germany in 2018 was a good 46 percent. In the case of cardboard packaging for liquids, the share reached almost 76 percent. Other recycling rates for composite packaging are not available, the German government writes. According to the data, around 4,600 tonnes or 0.1 per cent of plastic packaging put into circulation will end up in landfills in 2018.

Recommendations of the German Council of Environmental Advisors (SRU): The recommendations of the German Council of Environmental Advisors (SRU) on nature conservation policy have provided impetus and impetus for action. This is explained by the Federal Government in its reply (19/23097) to a minor question (19/21843) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. However, the Federal Government does not generally adopt all the recommendations of scientific advisory bodies, since other aspects are also taken into account in the decision-making process, the reply goes on to say.

Alotments gardens and climate: The Federal Government has stressed the importance of allotment gardens for the urban climate. „Allotment garden sites are an important part of the public green space in conurbations and inner cities“, she writes in the answer (19/23051) to a minor question (19/22711) of the AfD parliamentary group. Allotment gardens would contribute to good climatic conditions and the well-being of urban dwellers during hot spells. No new support measures beyond existing programmes are reportedly planned.

Tax exemption for sustainable coffee not yet decided: According to the German government, the coordination within the federal government on the question of whether exempting sustainably produced and fairly traded coffee from coffee tax can contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is ongoing. In a reply (19/22881) to a minor question (19/22384) from the AfD faction, the German government has not taken any initiative to reduce or abolish the coffee tax, and is not carrying out any projects with Sara Nuru, Nuru GmbH or nuruWomen e.V. Sara Nuru promotes fair trade and was therefore appointed SDG ambassador for SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production) by Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) in November 2018. The position is free of charge.


„We hope that things have changed, that the world now pays much more attention to this problem. We are now the megaphone of 690 million undernourished people in the world who do not know where their next meal is coming from, and we hope that the main causes of hunger – which unfortunately today is still war and conflict – will be the old men in power and the young men in arms, that they will now really pay attention and see and perhaps be admonished to stop these terrible wars that always lead to hunger.

Bettina Lüscher of the World Food Programme (WPF) said that hunger has clearly been made worse by the Corona crisis because it is a crisis on the next crisis, on the next crisis, on the next crisis, on the next crisis. Everything is getting worse bit by bit. There are the conflicts, there is climate change, Corona has led to unbelievable economic and social problems. Many day labourers have lost their jobs. There have been lockdowns, the supply chains have collapsed. The poorest people in the world no longer know how to feed themselves, and this means that the number of acutely hungry people will perhaps almost double this year to 270 million. deutschlandfunk.de


Kilimanjaro: For days, the summit of the 6,000-metre-high Kilimanjaro was enveloped in smoke.  Up to 600 firefighters attempted to extinguish the flames at 2,700 metres on the southern flank of Africa’s highest mountain.. fr.de

Tree population in Western Sahara and the Sahel: Researchers have identified more trees than expected in Western Sahara and the Sahel. By analysing satellite images, they were able to find around 1.8 billion trees and bushes over an area of 1.3 million square kilometres. sueddeutsche.de

Lesotho: The small kingdom, but also other states in southern Africa are building up their hemp cultivation. Their main focus is on the medical use of cannabis. African farmers have been cultivating the plants for centuries. In addition, there is a high industrial need to use the fibre, which can be extracted from the hemp plant, industrially.  tagesschau.de

EU sees great potential in economic relations with Africa: The EU sees „enormous potential“ in relations with Africa, referring in particular to business and investment. Key sectors included the digital industry, transport and health, according to the final declaration of the EU summit in Brussels, which ended on Friday. The Union intends to work with African partners on a broad-based investment programme. Overall, the EU is planning to strengthen its relations with Africa, the leaders said after the two-day meeting, during which the neighbouring continent was a major topic alongside brexite, climate change and the corona crisis. In view of the crisis, the EU reaffirmed its solidarity and cooperation with Africa, including for the development and distribution of vaccines. evangelische.de

Africa despite the second wave of the pandemic: Daily infection rates have reached levels not seen since the spring and hospitals have to care for a growing number of patients in intensive care units. This week, some governments pulled the emergency brake and ordered stricter coercive measures – plus a warning that it could get worse. In contrast, Africa is doing surprisingly well in the pandemic. euronews.com 

DHL and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development promote e-commerce in Africa: Deutsche Post and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development want to integrate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging and developing countries more strongly into the global e-commerce market. verkehrsrundschau.de


Natural gas against climate protection in the EU: Climate protectionists are concerned about a development that seems to be giving fossil natural gas a new renaissance.  Coal-fired power plants are being taken off the grid in many European EU countries, but energy companies are pushing ahead with the expansion of the natural gas infrastructure. Investments of 104 billion euros are planned. tagesspiegel.de

Seagrass too valuable for roofs: Seagrass roofs are odourless, insulate heat and do not burn. In Germany, seagrass is used as a sustainable insulation material. But the use of this natural material leads to a dilemma. Because seagrass meadows are important for ecosystems and an important CO2 storage. One hectare of seagrass meadow stores 35 times as much carbon dioxide as tropical rainforest. sueddeutsche.de

Hunger vs. agricultural production: While the EU is discussing an extensification and thus a reduction of agricultural production in the course of the „Green Deal“, German Development Minister Gerd Müller is calling for the opposite in view of the growing world population: radical agricultural reforms and high investments are necessary to fight world hunger, Müller stresses.. agrarheute.com

Climate: How climate change is affecting the property market.nytimes.com
France: Wants hydrogen alliance with Germany. wiwo.de
Washing: How to use detergents in an environmentally friendly way. watson.de



Insects as protein suppliers: Protein is important and insects are high in protein. Anyone who has ever travelled to Asian markets knows about this, because cricket mealworms are considered a delicacy there. Now a start-up near Paris is currently building the world’s largest production facility for insect protein. The start-up company has been able to collect around 330 million euros for its idea. By the end of next year, 100,000 tonnes of insect protein are to be produced. futurezone.at

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All pictures, if not stated otherwise: pixabay.com

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