FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 45
Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency) considers EU climate target of 60 percent feasible: The roadmap states that the EU states want to agree on a common climate target by 2030 by the end of the German Council Presidency. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has now made concrete proposals for ambitious targets. UBA President Dirk Messner sees the world already in a situation „where we are running out of time“. In order not to lose the chance to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, as envisaged by the Paris Climate Agreement, he calls on the EU to act more ambitiously. On Wednesday last week he presented a study on how at least 60 percent of climate-damaging emissions can be cut across the EU by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It sets out a number of options. In addition, this would be another five percentage points more than the EU Commission has proposed so far. Messner follows the line of the EU Parliament, which has also come out in favour of the 60 percent.handelsblatt.com , umweltbundesamt.de
SPD wants solar duty for roofs: After Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) has discovered his heart for climate protection, he is now put under pressure by his coalition partner. The SPD environmental expert Matthias Miersch wants to push through a solar obligation for suitable areas such as roofs. „At least all suitable roofs of public buildings and private new buildings must be used for renewables,“ says Miersch, „this goes hand in hand with the idea of citizens participating more strongly in the value added from renewable energies: „It doesn’t matter whether you have a large or small purse and regardless of whether you live in the countryside or in the city. Municipal participation models and green power bonds could be examples of this. Miersch also wants to abolish the EEG levy. rp-online.de
Since 1950 mankind has consumed more energy than in the 12,000 years before. The global energy consumption of mankind has exploded within the last 70 years. Using geological measurement data, scientists have calculated the ecological footprint of mankind and proved our enormous impact on the planet. According to the scientists, not only climate change is the logical consequence of these developments, but also the beginning of a new earth age is obviously businessinsider.de
Is an age of pandemics imminent? Today the new lockdown begins in Germany and while German citizens more or less well tolerate the new measures, leading scientists are already warning of the spread of further infectious diseases. „The world could become a rather unpleasant place,“ says US virus expert Peter Daszak in a report by the World Biodiversity Council IPBES . He said that the spread of pathogens naturally living in hosts such as bats or other wild animals to humans is made possible by too close contact between humans and wild animals. This will increase greatly as a result of the ever-increasing penetration of humans into ever more remote regions of the world. The deforestation or settlement construction and thus the overuse of regions of the world rich in species and viruses, for example in the tropics, but also the uncontrolled trade in wild animals are driving pandemics.. sueddeutsche.de , ipbes.net (long version), ipbes.net (executive summary)
Packaging consumption in Germany continues to rise: The Federal Environment Agency is concerned about the increase in packaging consumption in Germany. In 2018, a total of 18.9 million tonnes of packaging waste were produced in Germany. The corona pandemic has brought a further increase, and estimates by the Green Dot assume that about ten percent more plastic waste has ended up in local tons. In Germany, however, less than half of all plastics are recycled in the end. fair-economics.de
Transformative change required: Among other scientific societies and institutes, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which is responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize, the German Leopoldina, which advises the Chancellor and the German government on pandemic issues, are calling for transformative change towards a sustainable society. The scientists of the renowned institutes find clear words for politics and business. „Decision-makers seem to listen to their own interests rather than to science,“ says Anders Wijkman of the Royal Swedish Academy with regard to climate change. The message from science has been clear since the 1970s, he says, but has been ignored so far. „The emission reductions achieved so far are far from sufficient“. European governments should finally put an end to the „perverse subsidies“ of fossil fuels. sueddeutsche.de
Energy system transformation requires billions of euros of investment in electricity grids: According to Eon’s calculations, some 110 billion euros will have to be invested in electricity networks by 2050 to achieve the energy turnaround. By 2050, around 110 billion euros will be required for the expansion and modernisation of the distribution networks in Germany alone, according to a study presented by Eon on Thursday. Of this amount, 32 billion euro will be needed by 2030. If these investments are not made, overloaded networks could result in follow-up costs of up to 4.2 billion euros per year. wiwo.de
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Lasst uns um Europa kämpfen – Mit Mut und Liebe für eine starke EU
Europe is at a turning point and we Europeans decide in which direction it moves. Standstill is not an option. Nini Tsiklauri offers a new perspective on understanding and feeling the European Union. She charges Europe with strong emotions and provides a do-it-yourself rescue plan for the EU. A very private and at the same time highly political book. Nini Tsiklauri, born in 1992 in Tbilisi, Georgia, fled with her parents from the civil war there to Hungary before moving to Germany at the age of ten. She is an author, political scientist, singer and actress, known among others from the children’s and youth series Schloss Einstein, and was a candidate in the 2019 European elections in Austria. edition a.at
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: More money for farmers who protect the climate Even when Germany goes it alone. oldenburger-onlinezeitung.de
Poland: Nuclear technology and wind power to help Poland phase out coal. derstandard.at
USA: Allowing controversial weed killer. spiegel.de
Japan: Climate neutrality by 2050. reuters.com
Pharmaceutical residues: Many consumers do not even know that they contribute to this environmental problem by taking and incorrectly disposing of medicines. sonnenseite.com
Corona: Boosts the crisis in city centres. rnd.de
Accusations against the Federal Government: Municipal utilities defend themselves against the supremacy of electricity suppliers.faz.net
Nationalpark Wattenmeer: Cruises threaten World Heritage sites in the North Sea. stern.de
Germany, your innovations: The corona pandemic shows that Germany is lagging behind in terms of innovation.tagesspiegel.de
The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals. The new printed magazine, which can be found here online, was published in the week before.
Fraunhofer Institute: In order to meet the EU’s CO2 targets for commercial vehicles, 1,200 charging points for e-trucks along motorways are needed by 2030. auto-presse.de
Berlin BER Airport: Finally opened, climate activists protest. zeit.de
Airlines under pressure: The pandemic masks the fact that airlines have hardly any climate protection plans. klimareporter.de
Bavaria: Tail light in study on environmental protection in transport. zeit.de
Tesla: The Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) accuses the electric car manufacturer Tesla of not having complied with legal obligations to take back batteries. The car manufacturer defends itself against the harsh decision – and objects to it. welt.de
Hardly any discounts on cars: According to a study, car manufacturers granted the lowest discounts on the German market in eight years in October. The role of sales promotion was taken over by the state with its „lavish“ premiums for the purchase of electric vehicles. handelsblatt.com
French want special tax for SUVs: The French government wants to introduce a special tax for SUVs in the city. And this will happen next year at the latest. SUVs weighing 1.8 tonnes or more should pay ten euros for every kilo above this weight limit. A Mercedes GLS would then have to pay about 6,400 euros, a VW Tiguan, a volume model from Volkswagen would not have to pay a surcharge, and a Renault Koleos 480 euros. French Environment Minister Barbara Pompili wants to reverse the trend towards ever larger and heavier cars and meet the climate targets. taz.de
Barcelona’s special traffic reduction: In Barcelona, the time of the pandemic is being used for urban redevelopment. Residential areas are being combined into so-called „superilles“, or „super islands“, through which no more through traffic is allowed. Only delivery traffic and residents are allowed in. The speed limit is ten kilometres per hour. spiegel.de
Criticism of the Federal Council (Bundesrat): The resolution „on the effective reduction and control of motorbike noise“ adopted by the Federal Council on 15 May 2020 meets with widespread criticism in the Transport Committee. However, motions by the AfD (19/22553) and FDP (19/20778) parliamentary groups calling on the Federal Government not to comply with the resolution of the Chamber of Länder did not find a majority at Wednesday’s meeting.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
The Left Party calls for socially acceptable EU climate policy: The Left Party insists that the Just Transition Fund proposed by the EU, which is to make climate policy socially acceptable, be endowed with 40 billion euros as planned. The largest share of this must be included in the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, say MEPs in a motion (19/23734). MEPs also call for the Fund to be made conditional on the involvement of local actors in climate change planning. This could create sustainable and regionally meaningful livelihoods and infrastructure projects. MEPs stress the importance of the EU’s climate change plans, pointing out that the necessary changes in the economy will pose economic and social problems in many European regions.
Experts support supply chain legislation: A majority of experts support supply chain legislation. This was shown at a hearing of the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid on „Human Rights and Business“ chaired by Committee Chairwoman Gyde Jensen (FDP) on Wednesday afternoon: The experts from business, politics and society predominantly supported the German government’s plan for such a law, which is intended to improve compliance with human rights and environmental standards in the global arena. Nanda Bergstein, Director Corporate Responsibility at Tchibo GmbH, said that because the global economy had failed to meet its corporate due diligence obligations, there was an urgent need for a legal regulation, „ideally at EU level“. However, Germany, because of its „pioneering role as an economic power“ and its special historical responsibility for the protection of human rights, should „set a good example and have its own law“, she demanded. In her view, the focus should be on the duties of care in accordance with the UN’s guiding principles for business and human rights on the one hand, and on responsibility „from raw materials to the end product“ on the other. With regard to the instruments for fulfilling the obligations, Bergstein spoke out against audits and certifications. These were not sufficient to fulfil duties of care. „According to the due diligence approach, management systems and qualification programmes must play a role, for example for factories and farmers“. more at bundestag.de
Health care system and climate change: The FDP parliamentary group would like to know how high the share of the health care system in German CO2 emissions was in 2019. In a minor question (19/23623), MEPs also ask the federal government whether it plans to restructure hospitals in cooperation with the Länder so that they provide a more ecologically sustainable environment for patients and counteract climate change.
Environment Committee rejects AfD request:The Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on Wednesday morning rejected a request (19/22449) from the AfD Group calling for a fundamental reorientation of energy policy. Only the AfD Group voted in favour of the motion, which was entitled „Preserving and developing prosperity and nature for the long term – Low-cost energy as a cornerstone of continued growth and sustainable environmental protection“. All other groups voted against.
No majority in favour of debt relief: On Wednesday morning, the Development Committee rejected a motion (19/20789) by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/20789), with the CDU/CSU, SPD, AfD and FDP parliamentary groups voting against and the Greens and Left Party voting against, calling for substantial debt relief for the countries of the global South from 1 January 2021. In addition, the Federal Government should work towards establishing state insolvency proceedings in all appropriate multilateral bodies. Two motions (19/20080, 19/20681) of the AfD parliamentary group also failed to obtain a majority. They were about intensifying economic relations with Nigeria and a change in population policy strategy in development cooperation.
Climate-friendly business trips recommended: According to its own information, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) introduced guidelines for climate-friendly business trips by BMZ at the end of February 2020, which contain recommendations and advice for business travellers. Employees are required to check before each business trip whether the appointment can be carried out as a video conference instead, writes the German Government in a reply (19/23511) to a minor question (19/22382) from the AfD Group. If possible, several business transactions should be combined into one business trip in order to reduce the number of business trips. Since domestic business trips and journeys in border areas can now always be made by rail, meetings should be scheduled in a way that is compatible with rail travel.
Wind energy in Hamburg: Since the end of 2018, a total of 68 onshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 118 megawatts have been in operation in Hamburg. This is clear from the reply (19/23139) to a minor question (19/22863) from the FDP parliamentary group. The cut-off date was 30 June 2020. 208.9 gigawatt-hours of electricity were available in 2018. EEG funding of 10.6 million euros was paid out for the electricity thus generated. More recent figures are not available, explains the German government.
Illegal plastic waste exports: From 2016 to 2018 the Länder reported an average of 330 suspected cases of illegal cross-border waste shipments to the Federal Environment Agency each year. This is reported by the Federal Government in its answer (19/23513) to a minor question (19/22729) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, which dealt with the illegal disposal of plastic waste. According to its own information, the German Government has no information on the ways in which plastics are generally exported from Germany. The experience of the German law enforcement authorities shows that extensive illegal waste transactions are carried out „on the basis of a corporate structure“, the answer continues. As a rule, these are actors in responsible positions in established private or semi-public companies on the waste disposal market. Direct links to organised crime groups have not yet been established.
The fishing industry is concerned about environmental impacts: The challenges for fisheries in the North and Baltic Seas are enormous, given the rise in water temperatures, the absence of cold winters and the shift in oxygen and salinity levels. This is leading to consequences in fish stocks which „are of great importance for the fisheries of the riparian states“, said Alois Gerig (CDU), Chairman of the Committee on Food and Agriculture, in a technical discussion on Monday on „Political solutions to the existential crisis in fisheries caused by unstable marine ecosystems in the Baltic and North Seas, including the amendment of the EU Fisheries Control Regulation“. More at bundestag.de
Hydrogen strategy attracts with approval: The National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS) issued by the Federal Government in June has met with expert approval in principle. However, at a hearing of the Committee on Economic and Energy Affairs on Monday, they associated it with a number of demands for clarifications and additions. Haste is also necessary. The meeting, chaired by Klaus Ernst (Die Linke), dealt not only with informing the Federal Government about its strategy paper (19/20363), but also with motions of the FDP parliamentary group with demands for a hydrogen union (19/20020) and a classification of hydrogen (19/20021) as well as a motion of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/18733) calling for a green strategy. more at bundestag.de
„This is a symptom of not taking the rule of law seriously in what is undoubtedly a deep crisis. Article 13, paragraph 1 of the Basic Law: „The home is inviolable, which is such a central principle – not only of the rule of law, but also of the security of citizens among themselves and above all in relation to the state“.
Wolfgang Merkel, Director of the Department of Democracy and Democratisation at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin and Professor of Comparative Political Science and Democracy Research at the Humboldt University of Berlin, ….. The SPD politician Karl Lauterbach has apparently found the political role of his life in the Corona pandemic. He, (Merkel the editor) understands that such things could slip out, but he simply has to hold back. There is a lot at stake, she said, namely the trust of the citizens. If that trust in politics is lost, the willingness to follow political decisions will decrease. He considers it important that they are followed, in order to guarantee the overall security of society in Germany and other countries.deutschlandfunk.de
„At the same time as the draft of the EEG 2021, the cabinet adopted the new Federal Electricity Demand Plan on 23 September. The plan is now also being dealt with by the Bundestag. Yes, it is: In the Federal Republic of Germany, which is a market economy, the future demand for electricity is officially determined – this is a purely planned economy.
Jochen Luhmann, member of the board of the Association of German Scientists, is currently discussing among experts a form of network planning that combines electricity and gas. For both grid-bound end energy sources, there have been procedures for demand planning as well as for planning and legitimising the expansion of the grid. One could not seriously expect that optimal infrastructure planning would be possible in this regulatory separation. Such a separation did not exist in the planning of transport infrastructure, in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan either. Meanwhile, the word „sector coupling“ is on everyone’s lips in the energy system – but the coupling of demand assessment and the planning of gas and electricity infrastructures is still institutionally excluded.bizz-energy.com
Post-election violence: Following presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania, fears of escalating violence are growing. In Côte d’Ivoire, some twelve people were killed after Saturday’s election, reported France24. There were clashes between opposition and government supporters and security forces. Two of the three challengers for incumbent Alassane Ouattara called for a boycott of the elections. They called Ouattara’s candidacy for the third term illegal. In Tanzania, the announcement of the results of Wednesday’s presidential election triggered new tension. sueddeutsche.de
Used vehicles: While Europe is focusing on environmentally friendly e-cars, Africa is threatening to become a deportation point for fossil fuel powered vehicles. According to the UN Environment Programme (Unep), Africa’s environment is being polluted by a flood of used cars taken out of service from industrialised countries. „Millions of used passenger cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, Japan and the US to developing countries contribute significantly to air pollution and hinder efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change,“ says an Unep report published on Monday. unep.org
With social market economy against old role models: Modern development policy dispenses with paternalism. It relies on the market to negotiate projects and brings the partner countries into competition with each other for favourable conditions for investment. faz.net
WHO: Praises Africa’s ingenuity in the fight against corona. aerzteblatt.de
Photovoltaics: Many African countries are now setting the course for ambitious photovoltaic projects. elektronikpraxis-vogel.de
Africa severely threatened by climate change: droughts, cyclones, hunger – Africa is warming faster than the global average according to a UN report. This has devastating consequences. berliner-zeitung.de
Facts instead of prejudices: Why we should know more about Africa. stiftung-managerohnegrenzen.de
Expensive mobile internet: In Malawi, a gigabyte of mobile data costs 87 % of gross national income per capita. In Rwanda it is only two percent. There are various reasons for this. On average, African providers charge 3.30 dollars (2.78 euros) per gigabyte. This is the result of a worldwide survey by the British telecom provider CableUK. The price level is only higher on the American continent. Prices in Africa are much higher than in other parts of the world, especially compared to industrialised countries. dw.com
Link between corona and air pollution: Already during the violent corona outbreaks, both in China and in Northern Italy, it was suspected that there is a link between environmental pollution and the level of COVID-19 disease. It is estimated that 15 percent of global COVID-19 deaths could be due to polluted air. The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry has been investigating this question: Is the risk of dying from COVID-19 increased if people breathe polluted air over the long term? Such a correlation is obvious, but cannot be measured directly. Now, for the first time, a study has determined the proportion of COVID-19 deaths that could be attributable to air pollution by particulate matter on a country-specific basis. fair-economics.de
Scientific dispute about beaches: Is climate change making beaches disappear? A few months ago, scientists concluded in a study that by the end of this century slightly less than half of all sandy beaches could have disappeared. In a scientific dispute, other scientists are now arguing against this because their research has led to different results. They claim that it is impossible to predict how many beaches will be threatened by climate change. They admitted that where beaches are surrounded by dikes and buildings, they could erode and disappear, but they wrote that where there is refuge, as behind most of the world’s beaches, they will migrate. Migrating beaches are a natural phenomenon that is well known. This was not sufficiently taken into account in the first study. sueddeutsche.de
Drastic negative records in the Arctic with consequences for Europe: Ice formation in the Arctic has not been running smoothly for a long time. Now the situation is particularly dramatic. In the Siberian Arctic, there has never been so little ice on the time scales relevant to humans as there is now. Normally, the Laptev Sea would have to be completely covered at this time of year. This could have consequences for the winter in Germany and Central Europe. After all, the winter weather in Germany is heading for a record winter. The American weather service, on the other hand, forecasts a positive deviation of 2 degrees Celsius for December, 3 to 4 degrees Celsius in January and 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in February in its long-term model. op-online , taz.de
Apulia: Olive groves are turning green again. tagesschau.de
Green Events: Energy, technology and many other things contribute to success. ndr.de
Adidas: Wants to produce eco-shoes. handelsblatt.com
The future of work: effects on the property market and office space. immobilienmanager.de
Achieving success through disinterest: Sky Sails were supposed to propel ships in a more environmentally friendly way, now they generate electricity. faz.net
iBook and iPads: Soon with fuel cells? ? energyload.eu
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort: Most environmentally friendly hotel in the world. travelbook.de
Schnapps from bread: People who like to have fun call schnapps liquid bread. Now the Austrian Moritz Aschauer has done something about it. Because in the Alpine republic – similar to Germany – every fifth loaf of bread ends up in the rubbish bin. Aschauer produces alcohol from bread, based on the Russian cult drink kvass. 1,200 kilograms of old bread are needed for 1,200 half-litre bottles. standard.at
All pictures, if not stated otherwise: pixabay.com
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