FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 47: Biden’s climate plans, technical mistakes when phasing out nuclear power, company car check for politicians, news from the Bundestag, Brauner Bär
Great expectations of Joe Biden with regard to climate protection: While Donald Trump has to get over the idea of being voted out of office – and yesterday did so for the first time in public with the reference to election manipulation – the expectations of President ElectedJoe Biden are exceptionally high. Biden could go down in history as the initiator of the largest climate protection programme. Around two trillion dollars are to be mobilised for this. A plan which – similar to the European Green Deal – also aims at reviving the US economy. Green stocks are rising. Biden had announced that he would also rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement after taking office. A conflict with Brazil over the destruction of the rainforest seems inevitable. Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told Biden that „diplomacy alone“ would not be enough to resolve such conflicts. Powder“ is also needed for this. tagesschau.de , swr.de , rp-online.de
Bundesverfassungsgericht /Federal Constitutional Court wants new regulation of the compensation in case of nuclear phase-out: Last week, Thursday, the Federal Constitutional Court published a decision that the compensation for the nuclear power plants Brunsbüttel, Krümmel, both operated by Vattenfall, and Mühlheim-Kärlich (RWE) has to be newly regulated. Within the framework of the first nuclear phase-out under Red-Green, the plants had been allocated certain residual electricity quantities in 2001. This was the electricity that the plants would have been allowed to produce until their planned shutdown. However, after the black-yellow federal government had withdrawn from the phase-out, and after the Fukushima disaster and the then final phase-out, the then black-yellow federal government had promised the companies compensation in March 2011. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, the law was no good. The compensation payments must now be renegotiated. However, the corresponding law was unsuitable for this purpose, as the BVerfG has now determined spiegel.de , klimareporter.de, bundesverfassungsgericht.de
Three quarters of Germans are dissatisfied with the way the environment is treated. There is great dissatisfaction in Germany when it comes to the environment. Three quarters of the people assessed the way they treat the environment critically, only one quarter is satisfied with it. Around two thirds of citizens also complain about social interaction (65 percent). People between 14 and 39 years of age (22 percent), in eastern Germany (23 percent) and those with low household incomes (25 percent) are particularly dissatisfied. tagesschau.de
IEA forecast wind power will overtake coal power in 2025: In its annual report, the International Energy Agency (IAE) forecasts that from 2025 electricity generation from wind and solar power plants will exceed that of coal power worldwide. In the year of the corona pandemic, the amount of green electricity will increase at „record speed“, the World Energy Agency (IEA) predicts in its published annual report. IEA head Fatih Birol called on governments to continue promoting renewables. n-tv.de
EU Commission wants to reduce power consumption of data centres: Even though energy efficiency has now also been introduced in data centres, energy consumption continues to rise. The EU Commission therefore intends to limit the increase in electricity consumption for cloud services and data centres. They currently account for 2.7 percent of total electricity consumption and could grow to 3.2 percent in the coming years. Interestingly, the Federal Environment Ministry does not know how many data centres there actually are in the EU, let alone how much electricity they consume. A study now presented envisages more efficient cooling systems, the reuse of heat, the use of renewable energies to supply data centres and relocation to colder regions. By 2030, data centres should become climate-neutral and sustainable netzpolitik.org , spiegel.de
Electricity demand is rising on the road to climate neutrality: electricity demand in Germany will continue to rise until 2050. In 2018, gross electricity consumption in Germany was now 595 terawatt hours (TWh). In 2030 it will be 643 THW. The reasons for the rising electricity demand are the switch to electromobility and from oil heating to electric heating. However, the draft reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act only mentions 580 TWh electricity consumption.ede. handelsblatt.com
Environmental Aid’s company car test: Every year, Deutsche Umwelthilfe carries out the so-called company car check for politicians. Only seven of the politicians‘ cars used for official purposes comply with the EU fleet limit of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre in real operation. Compared to the previous year, the average carbon dioxide emissions of politicians‘ cars rose from 225 to 227 grams per kilometre. Deutsche Umwelthilfe attributes this to the share of plug-in hybrids. Their share was 43 percent in 2020. SPD Family Minister Franziska Giffey comes in last place among the cars of the federal ministers. According to DUH, the Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro she uses emitted 286 grams per kilometre in real operation CO₂ according to DUH. tagesspiegel.de
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Africa is the looser of globalisation: a large proportion of its people have benefited neither from world trade nor from the market economy. Hundreds of millions continue to suffer from poverty and hunger – especially south of the Sahara. Africa is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe, day after day.
With clear arguments, the authors argue for a new start in trade and development policy: the social question must finally take centre stage; Africa needs the social market economy. After all, only fair wages and social security systems will enable investment and growth to reach the poor.
Increasing prosperity would lead to falling birth rates and „demographic dividends“, which is undoubtedly in Europe’s interest. If the Africans do not get better, we will soon get worse. Moreover, in the face of increased geopolitical competition with China and the US, it is more important than ever to deepen partnerships and build a common economic space. Europe must be more resolute in supporting all those African countries that are pushing ahead with reforms in the spirit of the social market economy – in the form of development aid, infrastructure financing and fair trade agreements.
At the heart of this convincing agenda is the mobilisation of one trillion euros for infrastructure programmes in transition countries through European development banks. After all, this is the crucial prerequisite for encouraging companies to invest in Africa – and in this way trigger a chain reaction. The authors are convinced of their bold vision: low interest rates are a once-in-a-century opportunity to build Africa with the capital of European investors – and defeat poverty and hunger. bergundfeierabend.de
Greens: Europe-wide ban on fur farming called for. stern.de
Daimler: Is planing industry standard for environmental protection and human rights. handelsblatt.com
Butterfly of the year: „Brown Bear“ is the butterfly of the year 2021, a reference to the threat to moths. focus.de
CO2 tax: Government wants to exempt heavy trucks from fuel price increases. wiwo.de
Groundwater: Has not yet recovered from drought 2018. zeit.de
Development Minister Müller: Under pressure because wife is being taken away. zeit.de
The seventeeen goals Magazin presents inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving sustainability goals.
German government wants to keep test gap open: The German government wants to keep a small gap open for emission tests for passenger cars. The German Presidency of the EU Council wants the EU Member States to ensure that cars continue to emit more pollutants in emission tests in real operation than on the test bench. In the context of real-life exhaust gas tests, known as RDE measurements, exhaust gas values must not only be maintained on the roller dynamometer but also in real-life operation. The reason for this is that shutdown devices can be better traced. spiegel.de
Aviation: A start-up wants to revolutionise aviation with hydrogen. And this according to the Nespresso principle. The co-founder of the start-up company Universal Hydrogen, Jason Chua, wants to have hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft taking off in just four years. Scheduled airliners with 40 to 50 passengers. To boost the market in the short term, the Californians want to upgrade existing regional jets with electric hydrogen power trains. „Our retrofit kits can be certified much faster than completely newly developed aircraft,“ says Chua, „and can take off much earlier.“ wiwo.de
Electric delivery van: Street scooters will not be discontinued yet. Instead, Swiss Post plans to build several thousand more golem.de
4000 kilometres of overhead lines on motorways: The Federal Government is counting on electric trucks and hydrogen to make heavy goods traffic clean. The focus is on expanding the tank and charging infrastructure. handelsblatt.com
Danger on cycle paths: sports scientist demands eBike driving licence. rnd.de
Volkswagen: Billions invested in e-mobility and digitalisation. ecomento.de
Emissions trading in maritime transport: The German government does not clearly position itself on the question of whether it is in favour of extending emissions trading to European maritime transport. A proposal by the European Commission to include maritime transport in a European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) is expected for summer 2021, she writes in her answer (19/23869) to a minor question (19/23460) of the FDP parliamentary group. Only on the basis of the impact assessments that will then be available should, in the view of the German government, decisions be taken at legislative level. Only then would it be possible to estimate the revenue from emissions trading in maritime transport. Also in the context of the votes on the extension of the EU ETS to maritime transport, it should be decided whether a decarbonisation fund should be set up for the maritime sector, which would be fed by the proceeds from the certificates, the answer goes on to say. The Greens call for the inclusion of maritime transport in the European emissions trading scheme and for greater support for investment and innovation in climate- and environmentally friendly shipping. In a motion (19/23987), the MEPs call on the German government to use its EU Council Presidency at European level to start speedy negotiations with the other Member States.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Environmental Damage Act to be amended: The Federal Government has sent the Bundestag a draft bill to amend the Environmental Damage Act, the Environmental Information Act and other environmental regulations (19/24230). In doing so, it is fulfilling an obligation arising from Regulation EU 2019/1010 of the European Parliament on the harmonisation of reporting obligations in the environmental field, which entered into force in June 2019.
Insect-promoting seed mixtures: The effects of alleged insecticidal seed mixtures are the focus of a short question (19/24074) of the AfD Group. Among other things, the parliamentary group wants to know from the Federal Government whether the problem is known that many seed mixtures offered on the market do not have a complete declaration of the contents on the bags and that they are often seeds of non-native and annual plants.
Bundesrat disappointed with EEG: The Bundesrat has expressed its disappointment about the Federal Government’s proposal for an amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). The course could have been set even more clearly for the necessary greater market integration and fairer financing of renewable energy, the committee stated in a statement submitted by the Federal Government as information (19/24234). Moreover, „a significant contribution to reducing bureaucracy could have been made by turning away from the now over-complex pay-as-you-go financing of the EEG“. „Regrettably, the draft bill is limited to a large number of individual provisions, some of which – in view of the existing system – can be welcomed, but unfortunately it does not provide sufficient answers to the fundamental question of how the support regime can be further developed towards greater distributive justice, market integration and system responsibility for renewable energies,“ concludes the Bundesrat.
Disposal of refrigeration appliances containing CFCs: In 2018, discarded large household appliances with a total weight of around 358,000 tonnes will be collected by disposal companies, manufacturers and retailers. This is reported by the Federal Government in its answer (19/23930) to a minor question (19/23542) from the Left Party. According to the German government, it is not possible to quantify how many tonnes of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were contained in waste refrigeration appliances because no detailed data are available for refrigeration appliances. Nor does the German government have any information according to its own data on the mass of CFCs removed from refrigeration appliances in the period 2014 to 2019 when the refrigerants were removed.
Question on WWF cooperation: The German government’s cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF) is the subject of a parliamentary question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/24097). Among other things, it wants to know whether WWF Germany received funds from the federal budget from 2017 to 2020 and what evidence the WWF provided for the appropriate use of the funds.
Biodiversity goals a long way off: The measures taken to date are not sufficient to achieve all aspects of the goals set out in the National Strategy on Biological Diversity. This is clear from the Indicator Report 2019 on the National Strategy on Biological Diversity, which the German Government has submitted as an information document (19/23910). Although many measures have already been initiated, the resulting positive effects have often not yet been achieved.nThe indicators „landscape fragmentation“ and „sustainable forestry“ are relatively close to the target range. By contrast, the indicators „endangered species“, „ecological water status“, „land use“, „organic farming“ and „awareness of biological diversity“ are very far from the target area, with a degree of achievement of less than 50 percent.
German government sticks to CO2 reduction: The German government supports the European Commission’s proposal to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990. It explains this in its answer (19/23828) to a minor question (19/23389) from the FDP parliamentary group. The German Government also agrees with the EU Commission’s announcement that it will present proposals next year for the further development of CO2 pricing. In response to the FDP parliamentary group’s question as to whether the tightening of the EU climate targets will jeopardise the competitiveness of the automotive industry and lead to an increase in the price of mobility services, the German government writes: „The exact effects depend on the instrumental design, the options for which are currently being discussed and will also be the subject of further impact assessments by the European Commission. The German government also does not make a clear statement on the question of whether it considers a further reduction of the CO2 fleet limits for trucks and cars to be necessary. It will examine the Commission’s concrete proposals to revise the CO2 fleet targets if they are available and will take a position on them, the reply says.
„Reform countries (in Africa) are for us, as the Ministry of Development has also defined them, those that push forward the changes mentioned above with vigour. These include, for example, Ethiopia, Ghana and Togo, where reforms have already brought greater political stability. These developments must now be encouraged – especially against the background of the Corona crisis and renewed unrest. That is why we advocate intensified development cooperation and, above all, much greater commitment to infrastructure financing. That would create jobs and at the same time create better conditions for inclusive growth. Economic development is the key to political stability“.
Martin Schöller, entrepreneur, said that Africa needs better transport, communication, energy and water networks as a first step. After all, infrastructure is the platform on which entrepreneurship, private investment and broad prosperity flourish (and thus, in the long run, a modern industrial and service society). According to Corona, however, this is all the more true: governments can only achieve this in isolated cases alone and without strong partners. fair-economics.de
„I must honestly admit that I was very disappointed. Disappointed that the Council and the European Parliament have not shown more ambition, that they are still holding on to an agricultural policy that is not sustainable, that cannot continue in this way.
Frans Timmermans, EU Vice President of the Commission, if we wanted to be climate neutral by 2050, many areas would have to change. Even agricultural policy. And farmers would have a very great interest in this. Because if we do not achieve this sustainability, agriculture will pay the price. The future of agriculture should not be left to agricultural policymakers alone. Not least because of the social imbalance for many farmers. Today, 20 percent of farmers receive 80 percent of European money. We cannot go on like this. He must insist that more money goes to farmers and not just to large farms. tagesschau.de
A strong and self-confident Africa: Through joint action by the African states in the economic networking of the continent, the AU also hopes to strengthen its position in negotiations at the global level in the long term. Ultimately, the economic integration of the African states is also a clear political signal against protectionism and national solo efforts, as well as a contribution to peacekeeping. If this goes wrong and some countries plan to go it alone, it would be the beginning of the final sellout of Africa. unsere-zeitung.at
travel: If nothing works and all European countries are risk areas, what about travel to Africa? spiegel.de
Alphabet X enters into cooperation with Econet: Google’s parent company Alphabet is working with the X subsidiary and Econet on new internet access technologies for Africa. The „Taara“ project aims to expand wireless optical communication links into broadband networks in Kenya. These can then use light beams to create high-speed connections. This should make it possible to offer fast and cheap Internet throughout Africa.it-times.de