FAIReconomics Newsletter week 48
Green Party congress: At their online party congress last weekend, Bündnis90/Die Grünen formulated the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees in their new basic programme. This means that the more radical forces have won the party’s support. The vote of the delegates on Saturday adopted an amendment. Now the party is committed to the lower rather than the upper limit of the Paris climate agreement. The original draft of the programme still contained the sentence – that the limit was to be „well below two degrees, preferably 1.5 degrees“. Luisa Neubauer of „Fridays for Future“ welcomed the change. „The Greens have taken an important step today under pressure from broad social alliances“. faz.net , handelsblatt.com , rnd.de
RWE could get out of coal earlier: RWE supports the tightening of the European climate protection target. The Executive Board believes it is possible to phase out coal-fired power generation in Germany at an earlier stage. „We support the new target of 55 percent emission savings by 2030,“ said RWE CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz. The funds for the „Green Deal“ and also the Corona aid would give us the chance to build up a new industry faster than would normally be the case. Under certain circumstances, RWE coal-fired power stations could be shut down earlier than envisaged in the agreement with the German government, Schmitz said. The end date so far would be 2038 or an earlier date of 2035. „If the market does not need lignite-based electricity in the near future, we will not produce any more either. At the same time, Schmitz added: „But I do not see that happening at present.“ evangelisch.de
Saxony-Anhalt wants to make it more difficult to buy up large areas of land: Arable land is in great demand among investors and large corporations due to generous EU subsidies for large areas. Now the state of Saxony-Anhalt wants to put a stop to this sell-out of land and speculation. Last Thursday, the government factions CDU, SPD and Greens introduced a bill allowing authorities to ban so-called „share deals“ to prevent excessive prices or a too high concentration of arable land on one company. Increasingly, farmers are losing their land in favour of major investors. taz.de
The UN’s forest protection programme in the tropical forests fails: With the REDD programme, the United Nations wants to save tropical forests, but it has now become clear that these programmes do not work. So-called „future trees“ are to be protected. Particularly valuable trees are left standing, and other trees of lesser value are felled in the immediate vicinity. The aim is to give these so-called „future trees“ better opportunities for growth so that they extract more CO2 from the atmosphere and store carbon. But the model does not work: only after 130 years does the future tree compensate for the loss of trees felled in the neighbourhood. klimareporter.de
Last-minute decisions – Trump wants to allow oil drilling in the Arctic: The still President of the USA, Donald Trump, wants to create facts in his remaining term of office. He wants to allow the start of oil and gas production in an Arctic nature reserve in Alaska. The US Department of the Interior called on oil and gas companies to submit bids for the lease of drilling rights within 30 days. The „Arctic National Wildlife Refuge“ is suspected to contain considerable deposits of raw materials. The Department of the Interior had already approved drilling in the region in August. It is your refuge for polar bears, reindeer and other species, around eight percent of the nature reserve is threatened. spiegel.de
Greenland ice is melting faster than expected: Greenland ice is pushing its way out into the ocean via so-called outlet glaciers. Frozen fresh water meets the ocean. In a new study, researchers from the Technical University of Denmark have examined the three largest outlet glaciers Helheim, Jakobshavn Isbræ and Kangerlussuaq. The threatening thing is that they contain so much ice that sea levels could rise by about 1.3 metres. Since 1880, the glaciers have contributed around 3,000 gigatonnes of mass and thus between seven and nine millimetres to the rise in sea level. „Our main concern is that the glaciers have lost so much ice in response to a climatic change that is only a small part of what we expect this century to bring,“ says William Colgan, one of the co-authors of the study. sueddeutsche.de
Booktip of the week:
Housing for All – Building Catalogue (englisch)
Edited by Paul Andreas, Karen Jung and Peter Cachola Schmal
Affordable housing is an enduring political challenge. Cities have endeavoured to set international standards for this important field of architecture since the 1920s. Planners must work within a socially motivated tradition to find exemplary solutions both at the political and architectural level. This building catalogue documents over 130 residential buildings dedicated to affordable housing. It presents floor plans, large photos, key data, and clear diagrams, providing a comprehensive overview of the solutions being tested today.
The publication is rounded off with ten affordable housing concepts that were designed as part of the Housing for All competition, organised by the Frankfurt Department of Planning and Housing, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, and ABG Frankfurt Holding. Renowned architecture practices based in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and France were invited to submit design concepts for building sites in the Hilgenfeld area of Frankfurt. These concepts will reignite the contemporary discourse on affordable housing – in Frankfurt and beyond. dom-publishers.com
New satellite: Sea level rise is one of the biggest threats posed by climate change. A new satellite is to support them. spiegel.de
Thyssen-Krupp: Betting on state funds for green steel taz.de
Mink killings in Denmark: Minister resigns.tagesschau.de
EON: Additional solar energy systems on roofs could theoretically replace eight coal-fired power stations in Germany. wiwo.de
Stoves: Obligatory replacement due to particulate matter. Retrofitting is possible. welt.de
Hydrogen: Experts argue about whether Germany can produce enough electricity itself to meet its hydrogen needs. Importing it is also problematic. handelsblatt.com
Green monetary policy: Bundesbank President Weidmann advocates more consideration for the climate. faz.net
Green finances: The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) is launching the first global standard for measuring and reporting financed emissions. carbonaccountingfinancials.com
The seventeeen goals Magazin tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.
BMW to produce e-cars in Munich: BMW focuses on e-mobility and stops building petrol and diesel engines at its Munich headquarters. The space freed up for this purpose will be used to build a new vehicle assembly line for electric vehicles. The aim is to be ready in six years. The approximately 1,000 employees currently working in engine construction will be retrained or will be given other jobs at BMW locations. 400 million euros have been earmarked for the transformation. It is to go into operation in 2026 and cost 400 million euros, said Milan, the board member responsible for production, Nedeljković. The affected 1,000 employees in engine construction will be retrained and offered other jobs at BMW in Munich or other Bavarian locations. „We are consistently implementing our electrification strategy. By the end of 2022, each of our German plants will produce at least one fully electric vehicle,“ said Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management for Production at BMW. sueddeutsche.de
UK bans combustion engines from 2030: The sale of new petrol and diesel cars is to be banned in the UK in 2030. So far, this should take place five years later. Hybrid cars are also to be banned from 2035 and Disel trucks are to be phased out. The measures are part of a „10-point plan for a green industrial revolution“, which also provides for billion-dollar investments in wind and solar power plants. The British government’s idea is that the UK will become „the Saudi Arabia of the wind“, as announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faz.net
Diesel affair costs Germany twenty billion: A study by RWTH Aachen University shows that the car industry itself is responsible for the decline of diesel. The diesel exhaust gas fraud has stamped the inherently advantageous engine as a dirt-spinner and turned it into a cost factor for the whole of society. The scientists calculated that the diesel scandal caused social damage of around 20 billion euros in Germany. These costs result, for example, from increased air pollution. Another result is also interesting. Without the fraud, the drive would be a good alternative to e-mobility. The diesel would be further pushed back by the emissions scandal and the switch to e-mobility. In other European countries, the diesel engine is already enjoying a niche existence, and soon it will be here too. German companies lose their technological leadership. siencedirect.com, welt.de (Technologie)
Role models for Germany? How Paris and Bogotá are revolutionising cycling. enorm-magazin.de
Queues: In the USA it is shown how the advantage of hydrogen cars is becoming a big nuisance. businessindersider.de
One billion for airports: The federal government wants to save airports . handelsblatt.com
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Greens present draft on race: A draft law amending the Basic Law (Article 3(3) – replacing the word race and adding protection against group-related violations of human dignity) has been presented by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/24434). As it states, the word race can lead to abuse and false justification of derogatory behaviour and is rightly considered an insult. There is therefore no race, but racism which must be combated. The Basic Law also lacks an explicit mandate for the state to guarantee protection against all manifestations of group-related violations of the equal dignity of all human beings. The Group proposes to replace the word „race“ in the first sentence of Article 3(3) of the Basic Law with the word „racist“, in conjunction with the addition of a guarantee obligation as a new sentence 3: „The State shall guarantee protection against any group-related violation of the equal dignity of all human beings and shall work towards the elimination of existing disadvantages“.
Update of the AI Strategy: The update of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy is to be adopted by the Cabinet in due course. The aim is to focus the Federal Government’s measures on current developments in the field of artificial intelligence since the strategy was adopted in November 2018. This is what the Federal Government writes in its answer (19/24243) to the minor question of the FDP parliamentary group (19/23380) on the status of implementation after two years of the Federal Government’s AI strategy. The Federal Government had closely followed the work of the Data Ethics Commission and the Enquete Commission „Artificial Intelligence“ of the German Bundestag and had taken their results into account in updating the strategy.
Cooperation with PIK: The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) or its other organisational units received federal funding totalling 46,117,235.73 euros between 2017 and 2020. This is what the German government writes in its response (19/24245) to the FDP parliamentary group’s brief question (19/23719). The Federal Government emphasises that it has no knowledge of the contracts awarded by third parties to the PIK in the years 2017 to 2020. In addition, the German Government refers to its reply to the FDP parliamentary group’s „Kleine Anfrage“ (19/4318).
Greens want improvements in the CO2 price: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group calls for more attention to be paid to social justice in the CO2 price for heating. In rented buildings, landlords would have to bear the cost of CO2 pricing of heating costs, say MEPs in a motion (19/24432). This request relates to residential and commercial leases. If the CO2 price rises, MEPs say that there should be hardship clauses for small landlords and that a one-third rule should apply to energy modernisation of existing buildings: The costs should be shared between landlord, tenant and the state. This could lead to a reduction of the modernisation levy on tenants to 1.5 percent. Under certain conditions, this would also make it possible to achieve neutrality in terms of warm rents. The reason given is that, in accordance with the polluter-pays principle, the CO2 price must be borne by the party that can exert a significant influence on the type of heat supply and the condition of the building. Only landlords have such influence.
Reduce electricity tax: In a motion (19/24366), the FDP group calls for a reform of the electricity tax to reduce it to the European minimum. The members of parliament also say that the Federal Government must work towards the complete abolition of the electricity tax in the near future. The CO2 price is to become the central control instrument for climate protection. European emissions trading has proven to be a powerful instrument and should therefore be expanded, they argue. As long as the electricity tax cannot be abolished completely, it must be reduced to the minimum rate prescribed by European law in order to relieve citizens in the short term.
Protection of the Hengshui Lake area: According to the German government, the „Hengshui Lake Conservation and Management Project“ in China is to contribute to the protection of this important wetland and its biodiversity. In concrete terms, it has an important role to play in regulating the microclimate and the groundwater level, but also in flood protection and drinking water supply, which is of great importance due to its location in one of the driest regions of China, she writes in a reply (19/24095) to a minor question (19/23577) from the AfD faction. The promotion of environment-related tourism activities is a sub-component of the project and a means of achieving the overall project objectives, the German Government emphasises. Environmental education is intended to raise public awareness of environmental and climate protection issues and the importance of biodiversity. The project will run from 2016 to June 2022.
Million for the development of COVID-19 vaccines: The German Government regards worldwide access to future Covid-19 vaccines as a global public good. These should be accessible and affordable worldwide and distributed fairly, it emphasises in an answer (19/24155) to a minor question (19/23627) by the parliamentary group Die Linke. To this end, she supported the global cooperation platform for Covid-19 innovations, the „Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator“(ACT-A). Particular attention is currently being paid to the vaccine column, which includes the COVAX facility managed by the Gavi vaccine alliance. This includes an arm for targeted coverage of 92 low and low-middle income countries. For this purpose, Germany is providing bilateral earmarked funds amounting to one hundred million euros. In addition, the German Government is supporting the research and development of new vaccines against Covid-19 via the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with 230 million euro, the response continues. Germany is also the fourth largest state donor to the Gavi Vaccine Alliance with 600 million euro for the years 2016-2020 and 2021-2025 and supports the preparation of Gavi recipient countries for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines through its core contributions.
Recognition of colonial injustice demanded: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group is committed to the recognition and reappraisal of German colonialism and has tabled a motion (19/24381) to this effect, which will be on the agenda of the Bundestag plenary session on Thursday. In this motion, MEPs call on the Federal Government, inter alia, „to recognise the grave guilt associated with the crimes committed in the course of German colonial rule and to assume responsibility for this guilt“. For example, the Federal Government should officially recognise „the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama“ between 1904 and 1908 in the then colony of German South West Africa as genocide, do justice to the responsibility arising from it and „give the processes under way in this connection a significance commensurate with the extent of the crimes“. Furthermore, the MPs demand that the responsibility for the massacres and starvation deaths during the Maji-Maji War from 1905 to 1907 in the former colony Deutsch-Ostafrika, today’s Republic of Tanzania, be officially recognised. Further demands aim, among other things, at taking the colonial past into account in cultural, student and scientific exchange and in civil society cooperation at home and abroad as well as at the creation of a „central place of remembrance and learning in the federal capital – the site of the Africa Conference of 1884/1885 and the political centre of German colonialism“.
It is above all a journey into one’s own stunnedness. During our research, we learned what the Federal Republic of Germany has failed to do in almost every sector, despite better knowledge, to at least slow down climate change. Because I come from a documentary background, it was important to us not only to make the drama entertaining, but to back it up with facts through meticulous research.
Andres Veiel, director of the court drama „Ecocide“, in which 31 states sue Germany for forcing them into the climate catastrophe by failing to take protective measures. …we would denounce the situation primarily from an economic point of view. Germany had demonstrably failed to lead the way in post-fossil key technologies and continued to rely on combustion. These bitter mistakes are already taking their revenge today, but they can be corrected. And not only for prosperity, but also for global justice towards all those who emit the least but suffer the most. rnd.de , ard.de (Mediathek with the movie Ökozid)
GPS as protection against poachers: Rare white giraffes in Kenya have been equipped with a GPS tracking device by animal welfare activists to protect them from poachers. They are attached to one of the male’s horns and report the animal’s location to the rangers every hour. The giraffes living in the Tishaqbini Hirola sanctuary have a rare defect mutation called leucism, which causes the fur to be white and the underlying skin to be pink. The male with the transmitter is the only known white giraffe in the world. Poachers had recently killed a white female and her white cub. spiegel.de
Travel: Against the background of the current corona crisis, Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) has spoken out against blanket travel warnings. „We cannot say the whole world is a risk area,“ Müller told the Tourism Committee on Wednesday. The damage would primarily be caused by developing and emerging countries whose economies depend on income from travel to a far above-average extent. These countries would be entitled to a „fair and just“ risk assessment. fair-economics.de