FAIReconomics Newsletter week 50

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More coal-fired power stations than planned are going off the grid: After the EU Commission had given the green light, the German Federal Network Agency today announced the results of the first tender for the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants. The tendered capacity of 4,000 megawatts was significantly oversubscribed. In the end, eleven bids, which together will generate almost 4,800 MW of capacity, were accepted. energiezukunft.de,   klimareporter.de , bundesnetzagentur.de

Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz wants to oblige petrol stations to set up charging stations for electric cars: „If necessary, we must make charging stations mandatory,“ said the SPD candidate for chancellor on Friday at the German Sustainability Day. E-mobility had to become more attractive, he said, and for this to happen, there needed to be enough charging stations. For example, I will continue to advocate a fast-charging infrastructure at filling stations, not just on motorways, so that a short stop for refuelling is enough to cover long distances“, Scholz added. „This must be supported by petrol station and network operators.“ reuters.com

Less than one percent of the products of the Nestlé food company are recyclable.

The Swiss company has thus been ranked first among the world’s biggest plastic polluters in the Greenpeace report „Branded“, ahead of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. cash.ch

Impending power generation gap calls into question coal and nuclear phase-out: in just two years, Germany could run the risk of no longer being able to cover its electricity needs adequately, as market researchers predict. This could make it possible to extend the operating life of fossil fuel power plants because not enough replacements are being created through photovoltaics, wind power and storage, fears the German Solar Industry Association (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft). pv-magazine.de

2020 with record temperatures: According to data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2020 is likely to be one of the three warmest years since temperature records began in the middle of the 19th century. The last decade is set to be the warmest ever. The increase in greenhouse gases is one of the main causes.  A week ago, the WMO had already reported new historic highs in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere for the past two years. November and December of this year have not yet been included. faz.net

Emissions target could be achieved in a cost neutral way: The European Union’s goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050. Critics see this goal as a deindustrialisation of the continent. The business consultancy McKinsey predicts that costs and profits could balance each other out. However, the study had one flaw: it only calculates the EU production, not the imported goods.  fair-economics.de

And the winner is: This year’s Alternative Nobel Prizes of the Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation go to human rights lawyer Sotudeh, who is imprisoned in Iran, indigenous rights and environmental protection activist Cunningham Wren from Nicaragua, democracy activist Bialiatski with the human rights centre „Wiasna“ from Belarus and US civil rights lawyer Stevenson. The foundation honours the achievements of people who – sometimes at the risk of their lives – are committed to a peaceful, just and sustainable world. deutschlandfunk.de


Die Citymaut – Neuer Freiraum für die Verkehrspolitik in Zeiten des Wandels

There are simply too many cars. The discontent in the cities is great, but little changes. Everything is geared towards the private car, and the traffic turnaround is not making progress. But the lockdown during the Corona pandemic has changed a lot: Protected cycle paths were created overnight, play streets were set up on Sundays – new opportunities for courageous decisions in traffic were created.

It is therefore time for the introduction of a congestion charge, which, as a distance- and time-based climate levy, will finally ensure greater fairness in traffic. Those who drive a lot pay a lot. A big car costs more than a small one. Sharing and pooling vehicles are completely exempt. And those who want to leave their car in public spaces are also asked to pay. The proceeds go into the expansion of public transport and benefit people without cars. For large cities, a congestion charge is a bold, modern instrument which optimises traffic flow, reduces pollutants and greenhouse gases and creates a better quality of life for everyone. oekom.de


Chile:hydrogen partnership agreed with Germany. faz.net
Julia Klöckner in the Climate Cabinet: Agriculture Minister warns against further burdens for farmers. rnd.de  
Shell: Should court order be issued to reduce CO2 emissions. tagesschau.de
New EEG: Endangers wind power plants in Bavaria. sz.de
Eastern Europe: Wants to protect climate with nuclear power. spiegel.de 
Rapid construction or urban sprawl: Dispute about paragraph 13b in the building law.  n-tv.de
Hydrogen: German government exempts green hydrogen production from taxes. reuters.com
Protests: More demonstrations in Dannenröder Forst. taz.de

The seventeeen goals Magazin presents inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.


Charging infrastructure must be developed: There is still a lack of charging infrastructure for e-mobiles. The German government wants to accelerate the expansion of the charging infrastructure for e-mobiles. After yesterday’s top-level meeting on this topic, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) spoke at a joint press conference. welt.de

DB Cargo boss: Deutsche Bahn’s freight division has some catching up to do: by 2030, rail freight transport is expected to increase its market share by 6 percentage points. Sigrid Nikutta, head of DB Cargo, now wants to win new customers with an express train network with the aim of making DB Cargo the most important European rail logistics company. rnd.de

Trucks and climate protection: In order to make trucks CO2-neutral, an Empa team is working on a drive technology based on dimethyl ether (DME). This involves optimizing engines and testing new synthesis routes for DME. laborpraxis.vogel.de

Flix buses: After corona-related interruptions they will soon be running again. . focus.de


Participation of private companies in the water sector: The German government sees mutual added value in the participation of private companies in the water sector within the framework of German Development Cooperation (DC). Against this background, German DC maintains a close strategic partnership at association level in this area, for example with the „German Water Partnership“ as the largest and most important network in the German water sector, writes the German government in an answer (19/24399) to a minor question (19/23967) from the AfD Group.

Costs for App discussed:  In the 19th legislative period, funds totalling 7,700 euros have so far been spent on the „Best Leftovers App“ as part of the information initiative „Too good for the bin! According to an answer (19/24781) of the Federal Government to a minor question (19/24104) of the AfD parliamentary group, costs of 45,147.50 euros had been incurred for the app until it was ready for the market in November 2012. The aim of the app is to provide tips and instructions on processing food and food waste in private households. The app focuses on the recycling of leftovers. The recipes used in the app were written by cooks.

Large combustion plants with new regulations: The German government wants to revise the requirements for large combustion plants and thus implement the provisions of the implementing decision adopted by the European Commission in 2017. To this end, it has sent the Bundestag the Ordinance on the revision of the Ordinance on large combustion, gas turbine and internal combustion engine plants and amending the Ordinance on the incineration and co-incineration of waste (19/24906). The Regulation aims, inter alia, to reduce emissions of certain air pollutants and minimise the release of mercury. Under the Federal Immission Control Act, the Ordinance requires the involvement of the Bundestag.

Pollution toggle is influenced by weather conditions: The general weather situation has led to the fact that during the period of the first lockdown in spring of this year, despite a significant decline in traffic, in some cases hardly any fewer pollutants were measured in the air. This is clear from the Federal Government’s answer (19/24606) to a minor question (19/24179) from the FDP parliamentary group. In its question, the FDP faction had pointed out that, for example, at Stuttgart’s Neckartor, nitrogen oxide pollution was higher during the corona restrictions than in the weeks before. Almost simultaneously with the corona-related contact restrictions, the general weather situation changed from 16 March 2020. Repeated high-pressure weather conditions with little wind had hindered the exchange of air pollutants, which had increased the concentration of pollutants.

Promotion of energy efficiency houses: The support programmes for energy-efficient houses have steadily gained in popularity over the past ten years. This is clear from the reply (19/24609) to a short question (19/24190) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen group. In it, the Federal Government lists funding commitments for residential buildings and flats according to the KfW-55, KfW-40 and KfW-40-plus efficiency standard, as a proportion of the total number of residential buildings and flats approved. The share of commitments for KfW-55 was reported to be 19.8 percent in 2019 for residential buildings and 18.7 percent for housing. In 2010, these percentages were still 2.9 percent for residential buildings; no data are available for dwellings in 2010.

Compensation for the coal industry: The public-law contract between the Federal Government and the German coal industry covers compensation of around €4.35 billion. This is what the Federal Government writes in an answer (19/23923) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/23333). According to the answer, 1.75 billion euro is accounted for by the Lusatian coalfield and 2.6 billion by the Rhenish coalfield. The questioners wanted to know the basis on which the compensation sums had been calculated. According to the Federal Government, the amount of compensation is calculated according to the respective closure date, the capacity shut down and the expected yields. The negotiations were based on current electricity market data from which the economic viability of lignite-fired power stations today and in the future was derived. According to the German government, in the negotiated contract both parties agreed that „the compensation provided for in the Coal Conversion and Electricity Termination Act basically covers all possible claims of plant and open-cast mine operators in connection with the final closure of the lignite-fired plants by 2038 and beyond. The lignite industry thus waives any additional national or international legal remedies. The agreement also provides for leeway for the German government, so that the closures planned after 2030 can be brought forward by up to three years without this having any impact on the compensation payments.

„So far, cement and aluminium production has been very carbon dioxide-intensive and thus a major driver of climate change. Our aim is not to allow these essential industries to dry up, but to encourage them to introduce modern and more gentle production methods. In the case of cement, aluminium and hydrogen they have long been available, but they are more expensive than previous production methods“.

Richard Schmidt, manager of the sustainability fund DWS Concept DJE Responsible Invest, believes that the pressure and additional costs caused by sustainability investors would offset these cost disadvantages. Successively, we would get innovative manufacturers, which we would then buy again with a clear conscience. This would not work overnight, but increasingly successfully and quickly. capital.de


Africa – First recession in 25 years: The world’s poorest countries are less directly affected by the pandemic than feared. But they are suffering considerably from the consequences. The number of people living on less than $1.90 a day is expected to rise sharply. 32 million people could plunge development back into extreme poverty faz.netunctad.org

African students: A new semester Corona: To study in Germany – a dream for many young Africans. Until Corona came. The crisis is pushing some to the edge of their existence. dw.com

Election in Ghana – Crocodile against alligator: There are two favourites in the race for the presidency in Ghana on Monday. Both are only half-hearted in their fight against rampant corruption. The citizens have no real choice, says Michael Oti. Corruption is omnipresent in the public sector and undermines Ghana’s progress. According to the national association of Transparency International, it costs the state about three billion US dollars every year. That is one third of the amount the country would need to contain the regular floods. dw.com

Adolf Hitler: Becomes District Administrator in Namibia. derwesten.de

Africa’s youth see terrorism as one of the greatest threats to the future of the continent: A multinational study shows that the youth of Africa see terrorism as one of the greatest threats to the future of the continent. More than seven out of ten people (71%) say they are concerned about terrorism, according to the results of the first African Youth Survey, with the majority of respondents across the continent stating that terrorism is the second most important cause that has influenced Africa’s development over the last five years.  ichikowitzfoundation.com

Accusations against Swiss Afriland First Bank: Two studies make serious accusations against a small bank in Congo-Kinshasa. The charges concern money laundering, violations of North Korean sanctions and dealings with an investor in mines suspected of corruption. The bank is owned by a holding company in Neuchâtel. nzz.ch

Women benefit from the Nile Basin Initiative: According to the Federal Government, gender equality is not an explicit goal in projects within the framework of water cooperation in the Nile Basin. Nonetheless, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) advocates to its member states the increased nomination of women for the working groups, writes the Federal Government in a reply (19/24757) to a minor question (19/24251) of the AfD parliamentary group. In addition, women should benefit particularly from the NBI’s regional investment programmes, which are intended to improve water availability and food security, among other things.


Hydrogen industry starts up in Morocco with German reconstruction aid: Morocco is to produce green hydrogen for Germany in future. Development Minister Müller is making 90 million euros available for this purpose. Along with Australia and Chile, Morocco is one of the countries with which Germany wants to establish partnerships as part of its hydrogen strategy. The green hydrogen is to be produced in these sun- and wind-rich countries and transported to Germany. handelsblatt.com

Permafrost thaws faster: The Bremerhaven Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) has new evidence that the deep-frozen permafrost soils in the Arctic thaw much faster. Model calculations had assumed that the current state would not occur for another eighty years. On satellite images, AWI scientists observed a massive thawing of the soils in Alaska. As a result, meltwater lakes are leaking, due to the fact that the ground is becoming softer and softer. awi.de

Brazil – intimidation attempts against environmental protection authorities: At least some government employees are resisting intimidation attempts and internal investigations by politicians. It is no secret that Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is under criticism for his environmental policies. Whistleblowers from the environmental protection agencies Ibama and ICMBio are increasingly reporting dismissals and other reprisals. The ministries of the environment have muzzled the employees. For years the rainforest in Brazil has been destroyed, and every year there is a new sad record. Environmentalists expect the worst damage to occur in 2020. vice.com

New Zealand: Declares climate emergency. dlf.de
US court: Judge collects Bayer settlement. n-tv.de
Internet surfing: Should become more climate-friendly.. sueddeutsche.de


Why make many birds happy in the vicinity: Many different species of birds in the habitat make as happy as a pay rise.  Biodiversity and life satisfaction are closely related. They have shown for the first time across Europe that individual life satisfaction correlates with the diversity of bird species in the surrounding area. Ten percent more species of birds in their natural habitat increase the life satisfaction of Europeans at home at least as much as a comparable increase in income. Nature conservation is therefore an investment in human well-being, the scientists said. fair-economics.de

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All pictures, if not stated otherwise: pixabay.com

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