FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 51

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EU Council agrees on 55 per cent greenhouse gas emissions: In a night session, the European Council was able to agree on the EU budget and on the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030. And as always, it was all about money. Poland, which produces most of its energy from coal, is to receive increased aid. To achieve the goal of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement, the EU must raise its level of ambition for the coming decade and update its climate and energy policy framework. To this end, the European Council endorsed the EU’s binding target of a net internal reduction of at least 55 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. Criticism comes from environmental organisations, who believe that the policy is making the reduction look good. handelsblatt.com , fair-economics.de , euractiv.de , reuters.com

Guterres wants to declare climate emergency: At a Climate Ambition Summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the declaration of a climate emergency „until climate neutrality is achieved“. Governments would also have to deliver on their pledges to reduce CO2 emissions.“ Every country, city, financial institution and company would have to adopt plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, he said. More than 70 heads of state and government announced concrete new goals in the fight against the climate crisis the day before yesterday, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel , who promised to make half a billion available for climate projects in poorer countries. zeit.de . tagesspiegel.de

116.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated in Germany and fed into the power grid in the third quarter of 2020. According to preliminary results from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), this was 2.9 per cent less than in the 3rd quarter of 2019. In contrast to the first two quarters of 2020, in which the majority of electricity came from renewable energy sources (1st quarter: 51.2 per cent, 2nd quarter: 52.5 per cent), 56.0 per cent of electricity in the 3rd quarter came from conventional energy sources. Compared to the same quarter last year, however, electricity feed-in from conventional energy sources fell by 5.8 percent, while feed-in from renewable energies increased by 1.1 percent. fair-economics.de

Sustainability and environmental protection will play a greater role: Due to the corona pandemic, economic activity is at the bottom in many states. Bankruptcies will be inevitable, and there should be no carrying on as before, say top economists Claudia Kemfert and Clemens Fuest. They are convinced that sustainable and environmental issues will play a greater role in the future. Nevertheless, the two experts envision the future of our economy differently.  standard.at

Poor households save CO2: The NGO Oxfam points out that poor households and the middle class in the EU save carbon dioxide, whereas wealthy and rich households produce more greenhouse gas. The richest ten percent of people from Germany, Spain, Italy and France are responsible for as many emissions as the entire population of 16 EU countries combined  klimareporter.de ,  oxfam.org

Savings banks want to save CO2: 170 savings banks and other companies from the savings bank association want to commit themselves to less CO2 emissions. Observers see mainly „flowery words“ and miss binding targets. The environmental organisation Urgewald thinks that the declaration of intent of the savings banks is not precise enough. handelsblatt.com , dsvg.de (Erklärung),

Artificial man-made masses heavier than natural ones: This year it could come to this, if estimates are followed, that theMass of things made and built by humans worldwide will become greater than the mass of all living beings on earth. Products, and thus the mass, produced by humans have doubled in the last hundred years, every twenty years. At the beginning of the last century, it was still only three percent of the biomass. spiegel.denature.com


mare – Die Zeitschrift der Meere

mare is a magazine like no other. Every two months it takes a unique look at the world from the seaside. mare provides surprising new views, perspectives and insights into politics and society, culture, business and science, nature and sport – the whole of life. Award-winning reports and features from all parts of the world with top-class photography – thoroughly researched by dedicated authors and lovingly designed – provide profound and lasting information and entertain at the highest level. The 143th issue of mare once again manages to inspire.

The editors take the readers into novel worlds, explain the facts with the „World Ocean Review“, let them experience the Arctic ecosystem directly with the „Cape Race“. The focus is always on getting to know our oceans in depth. This issue is about orcas, these marine mammals have been unscrupulously marketed for decades, and all the inflamed love from viewers doesn’t help over the animals‘ miserable existence in captivity. Sometimes affection and enthusiasm do more harm than good. The film „Free Willy“ pretended to advocate for the freedom of orcas and in fact did exactly the opposite. mare.de

More for climate-friendly agriculture: Julia Klöckner announces 816 million to promote sustainable technology.  zeit.de
Women: Act more sustainably. faz.net
Macron: Backs nuclear power. spiegel.de 
Ikea: The Swedish furniture store IKEA is parting with its printed catalogue after 70 years.nzz.ch
The way is clear for hydrogen networks: Germany takes a step towards an infrastructure for the transport and distribution of hydrogen. handelsblatt.com
EU: Wants new rules for more sustainable batteries.. stern.de
Denmark: Has announced to gradually reduce its oil and gas production to zero by 2050. energiezukunft.eu
Thick air over the Asse: The radioactive waste from the Asse is to be relocated. taz.de

The seventeeen goals Magazin features inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Forests – How do they contribute to climate protection? What role do forests play in climate protection? Here we give a brief insight into the connections between climate change, the health of forests and their importance for climate protection. 17goalsmagazin.de


EU wants stricter targets for car manufacturers: The EU Commission wants to drastically reduce emissions from the transport sector by 2030. It still has a share of thirty percent. Car manufacturers are to be given strict guidelines. The EU Commission wants to achieve a new orientation of mobility. Last Wednesday, it presented this as part of the Green Deal in Brussels. The concept met with criticism from climate protectionists and automobile associations alike. zeit.de ,  ec.europe.eu (Dokument)

Night trains facing renaissance: A European night train network is the goal of the four state railways of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, the respective railway companies agreed last week. The transport ministers support the project. Deutsche Bahn, Austria’s ÖBB, Switzerland’s SBB and France’s SNCF now want to jointly advance the linking of European metropolises and capitals. faz.net

Smart mobility in the pandemic: In the midst of the pandemic, many people only feel safe on a bicycle or in their own car. Companies are trying to offer their employees fear-free alternatives with smart mobility services..edison.media

Switch to e-mobility: Fewer job losses than feared. spiegel.de

Hydrogen aircraft: Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer sees a great future for short- and medium-haul air transport in the propulsion combination of hydrogen and fuel cells. n-tv.de


Efficiency of German humanitarian aid: The efficiency of humanitarian aid is the focus of the Federal Government’s answer (19/23978) to a small question of the FDP parliamentary group (19/22524). According to this, humanitarian aid funds amounting to about 28 million euros are administered per staff member in the relevant departments of the Federal Foreign Office. In Great Britain, this figure is 11.7 million euro, in Sweden 9 million euro and in the USA 6.6 million euro. According to the data, the Foreign Office currently manages humanitarian aid funds of 1.65 billion euros per year with 76.5 posts.

Experts dissent on decriminalisation of containerising: A motion of the parliamentary group Die Linke, which aims at decriminalising the so-called containerising of foodstuffs, was met with predominantly scepticism by the experts at a hearing of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection on Thursday, chaired by the deputy chairman Heribert Hirte (CDU). The motion (19/9345) states that the removal of edible food from supermarket bins, i.e. containerising, currently constitutes a criminal offence. This legal practice is scandalous. bundestag.de

Obligation to dismantle power plants: The operators of nuclear power plants can fulfil their dismantling obligations, especially in the next three business years. This is stated in the „Report according to §7 of the Transparency Act – dismantling of nuclear power plants for the reporting year 2019“ (19/24770), which was submitted as information. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control’s (BAFA) audit of the determination of the provision amounts did not lead to any objections, writes the Federal Government. Operators are obliged to list their reserves to the BAFA on an annual basis. This concerns reserves for the decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants as well as for the proper packaging of radioactive waste. In the year under review, the transaction between the E.ON and RWE groups had made itself felt, and reserves were now allocated differently. However, there were no indications that the companies could not meet their obligations in connection with dismantling issues. Nor, so far, would the Corona pandemic apparently affect the financing possibilities of operators, the report continues. The actual consequences, however, would have to be assessed in the 2020 report.

Improve the legal basis for sharing models: The parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen demands to improve the legal basis for new sharing offers. In the motion (19/25007) submitted for this purpose, which is on the agenda of the Bundestag on Thursday, the federal government is called upon to submit a draft law that develops the Carsharing Act into a „Sharing Act for all mobility services“ – for example, also for so-called bikesharing, scooter sharing and ridepooling – and thus „establishes legally secure framework conditions for municipalities and mobility services“. In addition, the Greens demand that the Road Traffic Act and other road traffic regulations be adapted in such a way that sharing vehicles as a whole are given preferential treatment in public spaces and compared to private cars when it comes to parking and parking, and that the necessary road space „is made available to them by reducing car parking spaces“. Furthermore, the federal government is called upon to legally promote sharing services in rural areas. It should also be made possible to operate not-for-profit or public service vehicles in addition to those operated on a commercial basis.

Protection for the Wedell Sea: The total area of the Weddell Sea conservation area proposal is 2,238,245 square kilometres. This is stated by the federal government in an answer (19/24812) to a minor question (19/24319) of the AfD parliamentary group. This area includes the sea areas covered by ice shelves in the protected area. The proposal is based on the best scientific evidence currently available and includes a general protection zone of 91 per cent of the total area, a special protection zone of one per cent of the total area and a fisheries research zone of eight per cent of the total area. Accordingly, all fishing is to be prohibited in the special protection zone. The fisheries research zone would cover an area of 50,818 square kilometres, in which no fishing would be allowed except for very limited scientific catches. In the general protection zone, fishing would continue to be allowed only on a very small scale for scientific research.


„The achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement was a great success. But on its birthday, I would like the global community to be closer to compliance. Germany is also nowhere near the 1.5 degree path. Nevertheless, there are two pieces of good news. One is the broad movement of students, i.e. „Fridays for Future“. They have enormously expanded the political possibilities. A similar good news is the huge technological leaps we have made. For example, the steel industry is telling us, „We can make CO2-free steel. Give us the framework conditions.“

Toni Hofreiter, parliamentary group leader of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the Bundestag, on the accusations that the Greens were doing too little to protect the environment, …it was not only good that Fridays for Future had widened the scope of possibilities. it was equally right that they were also exerting political pressure on us in the right places. For we Greens, too, must constantly question ourselves whether, in view of the dramatic nature of the climate crisis, we are underestimating what is possible and will actually do everything possible to achieve more climate protection. rnd.de

„Urbanisation is advancing at a rapid pace. According to UN forecasts, around two thirds of all people will live in cities in 2050 – 2.5 billion more than today. But in view of climate change, resource scarcity and the loss of biodiversity, there is an urgent need for a rethink in the design of the built environment. All experts agree that it will no longer be possible to build in the future as we have done so far. We need a paradigm shift – and urgently so.“

Dr.-Ing. Jan Wurm, Head of Research & Innovation Europe, Arup, said that a rethink and in part a change of attitude had begun, reinforced by the climate movement. However, it is not enough to build in a less environmentally harmful way and thus minimise the negative effects. If we want to preserve and strengthen our ecosystems, we have to understand the human habitat as part of the natural habitat. Only then would there be an ecological gain. For this to succeed, we should think less in terms of short-term returns and more in terms of ecological added value. This requires even stronger interdisciplinary cooperation. fair-economics.de


Western Sahara: The human rights situation in Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1976, has deteriorated considerably since the guns started talking again. Since Morocco broke the ceasefire with the Polisario independence movement on 13 November, the latter has been shelling Moroccan positions along the 2,700-kilometre sand wall along the occupied territories on an almost daily basis. By establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, the USA will support the Moroccans in the Western Sahara issue derstandard.atnzz.ch (Westsahara)

Biontech vaccine barely tested in Africa: Britain is vaccinating, Europe is preparing vaccination centres, but what about the African continent? There, it is anything but certain whether the Biontech vaccine works as well as it does in Europe. For it has been insufficiently tested so far, as is so often the case in drug development. n-tv.de

Putin’s ambitions in Africa: Moscow agrees with Sudan to build a naval base there. Officially, it is about the fight against piracy and peace in the region. But other motives are also obvious. sueddeutsche.de

Development Minister Müller: Expansion of renewable energy in Africa creates great opportunities for new jobs and effective climate protection. africa-live.de

Pregnant women and babies rescued from „baby factory“ in Nigeria: During a raid near the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos with its millions of inhabitants, the police freed six women and four babies.The women are held and impregnated against their will in so-called baby factories. The babies are sold on the black market after birth. rnd.de

Africa ECO by Deutsche Welle:

to the Magazin in English


Toxic substance in car tyres: Researchers have discovered a toxic substance in the abrasion of car tyres that they believe could be responsible for massive fish kills worldwide. The poison is produced from the common tyre antioxidant „6PPD“ when the additive scavenges aggressive oxygen-containing compounds. This is mainly ozone, which is formed from nitrogen oxide-containing car exhaust. Heavy rainfall washes the poison into the waters. Even less than one milligram in 1,000 litres of water can halve a fish population in a few hours. sueddeutsche.de

The River Mulde near Bitterfeld

Success Story Bitterfeld? People like to celebrate Bitterfeld as an example of the successful redevelopment of an old GDR site. After all, the region was one of the dirtiest in the old GDR. But ecological time bombs are still ticking. For example, there are still toxic deposits in pits under the earth’s surface and about. 200 million cubic metres of groundwater are considered unusable. And even the consumption of vegetables is questionable if they are watered from wells. A long-distance water pipeline transports drinking water from the Harz Mountains.. zeit, de

Farmers without land: Rising land prices put farmers in trouble. The rising prices for arable land are an enormous problem for many farmers. Only a few can still afford land for cultivation and livestock breeding. Instead, investors with purchasing power are acquiring the land – and also profiting from loopholes in the law. deutschlandfunk.de

Photosynthetic Textile Coating: Dian-Jen Lin and Hannes Hulstaert have developed a textile coating that operates photosynthesis. enorm-magazin.de
Orange peel: Oranges are a popular snack, especially in winter. But their peel does not belong in the trash. brigitte.de
5G and the climate: The 5G mobile communications standard could save greenhouse gas emissions in the future, contributing to climate protection. it-business.de


Wine needs lots of water in California

Betting on water: It is now a truism that water is becoming more expensive because it is becoming scarcer. Especially in California, where water is needed for agriculture but competes with other uses, the price of the precious liquid is constantly rising. Now a financial product is being offered here that enables farms to hedge against such price fluctuations. Until now, this was only possible for oil, gold or agricultural products. Now, for the first time, contracts on what is probably the world’s most important commodity can be concluded at the Chicago futures exchange CME. n-tv.de

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All pictures, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com

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