FAIReconomics Newsletter week 12/21 

to the German Edition

Forest Day – the German forest is threatened: Yesterday was Forest Day. 90 billion old and young spruces, pines, beeches, oaks and rarer tree species characterise our forests. More than 6700 animal species and countless plants live there. But droughts, storms, pests and climate change are taking their toll on the German forest. Only every fifth tree in Germany is still completely healthy. Saving the forest is a task of the century that is still underestimated. 83 percent of German citizens are concerned that the German forest is drying up and dying as a result of climate change. At the same time, 57 percent report that they want to act in a climate-friendly way – but are not consistent in concrete cases. tagesschau.de ,  sonnenseite.com, deutschlandfunkkultur.de

Inequality made an issue: The Corona pandemic hits the population differently hard. According to economic expert Veronika Grimm, low-income earners are among the biggest losers. The wealthy, on the other hand, have been able to save a lot of money. The „economic wise woman“ Veronika Grimm has warned of the danger of social divisions. „The lower income groups are among the biggest losers in the Corona crisis, in many ways,“ Grimm said. „Survey data show that on average they were more likely to suffer losses than the middle and upper income groups. Secondly, many mini-jobs have been eliminated, which could be one of the reasons for these losses,“ Grimm said. „In addition, many people in the lower income brackets work in jobs that are now subject to particular stresses, such as in the health sector or in the open supermarkets.“ n-tv.de 

German greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 8.7 percent in 2020.

Around 739 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were released in Germany in 2020 – around 70 million tonnes or 8.7 per cent less than in 2019, according to emissions data from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), presented for the first time in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Climate Protection Act.  bmu.de

Fridays for Future – Creative demonstration: For last Friday, „Fridays for Future“ had again called for an international climate strike. The movement has not been very visible for a year because of the Corona pandemic – that changed on Friday. Worldwide, protests were planned in more than 50 countries. In Germany, there were to be actions in 210 cities – all with strict hygiene concepts. In Berlin, German climate activist Luisa Neubauer prepared her fellow campaigners for the super election year 2021. These are dark times, but the large-scale international protest is only „the prelude to a year in which we have so much to do“, Neubauer said. „Fridays for Future“ will organise „into the structures and institutions“ and help shape climate policy this year, he said. „We will challenge the government.“  taz.de,  spiegel.desueddeutsche.de,  tagesschau.de

Impending megadroughts: Two recent studies look at the drought in Central Europe – with different assessments but similar warnings. „We have to prepare ourselves for the possibility of extreme droughts in Germany in the future as a result of climate change, which will cause enormous damage to modern agriculture and forestry,“ says researcher Monica Ionita-Scholz. tagesspiegel.de

EU plans eco-label for consumers: The EU Commission wants to introduce an eco-label for financial products aimed at private customers. The Commission has now presented a first draft with the aim of giving small investors better orientation in the future. Experts, however, warn against too strict requirements for the planned eco-label; for them, the implementation is hardly realisable and not practicable. handelsblatt.com

Young generations and the Greens: 13 per cent of voters under the age of 30 in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg placed their crosses with parties that hide behind this term. In Rhineland-Palatinate it was ten percent. Experts say that some young voters are no longer close to the established parties, even the Greens are not progressive enough – that is why they tend to vote for the „climate list“, for example, if climate issues are important to them.  jetzt.de


Draußen ist es anders -Auf neuen Wegen zu einer Wissenschaft für den Wandel


We are at a crossroads. Profound social change is needed to enable a good life for all – today and in the future. Science can initiate and accelerate this change if it works more closely than before with politics, civil society and business. This is the claim of a transformative science, whose actors not only analyse change, but actively shape it, informed and at eye level. However, this can only succeed if science also critically questions its own practices in science funding, higher education policy and the daily actions of scientists.  Jan Freihardt presents approaches and concrete examples that are already testing the science of the future today. It’s Different Outside is an honest and encouraging invitation for all those who study, research and teach with curiosity and the will to shape things, or who would like to do so in the future.



Trouble in the agricultural commission: Greenpeace drops out of the federal government’s committee that is supposed to work out new agricultural policy: Minister Klöckner overrides the group. taz.de
Bird of the Year 2021: The robin. swr.de
Expropriations: Expropriations for the road tree continue unabated.  sueddeutsche.de
Deutsche Bank: First green dollar bond issued. faz.net
Lignite in NRW: Petition to stop demolition handed over to Laschet. rp-online.de 
Ottmar Edenhofer: Call for a new emissions trading system.  handelsblatt.com
Change.org: Loses non-profit status. taz.de
Coffee StartUp: Coffee consumption under morally acceptable conditions.  faz.net

The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Billion subsidies for Tesla for battery production: At the annual press conference, VW CEO Herbert Diess reported not only on the plans for six own battery cell plants in Europe, but also on subsidies received by VW competitor Tesla: „Tesla, by the way, has also been awarded a billion euro sum for battery production in Brandenburg,“ Diess said. However, this figure has not been published so far. handelsblatt.com

Profits despite pandemic: BMW and Daimler made around four billion euros profit in the first pandemic year, VW more than twice as much. taz.de

Schifffahrt will CO2 Abgabe: Die Schifffahrt will eine neuen Abgabe einführen. Die Einnahmen sollen in die Erforschung CO2-freier Treibstoffe fließen. Umweltexperten vermuten jedoch, dass die Reeder dies nicht ausSorge um das Klima tung, sondern verhindern wollen, dass ihre Schiffe in das  europäische Emissionshandelssystem mit einbezogen werden. klimareporter.de

Pedestrians with their eyes on their mobile phones live dangerously: people pay a lot of attention to their mobile phones – and sometimes they forget what is happening around them: at the dining table, where conversation is stifled, or even at the wheel of a car, where attention drops, resulting in serious accidents. Japanese researchers have now determined how great the braking effect of mobile phone users is on pedestrians and are calling for greater consideration to be given to this when planning footpaths. Conclusion: Distracted people considerably impede the „flow“ of pedestrians and thus the capacity of such paths. tagesspiegel.de

Fraunhofer Institute: Increased quality of life through shared mobility. fair-economics.de

Federal government presents draft law for autonomous driving: In future, autonomous vehicles are to be able to drive in regular operation in defined operating areas of public road traffic throughout Germany without a physically present driver. In order to create a legal framework for this, the federal government has presented the draft law „on the amendment of the Road Traffic Act and the Compulsory Insurance Act – Act on Autonomous Driving“ (19/27439)

Four ministries are concerned with e-mobility: According to an answer by the Federal Government (19/27105) to a minor question (19/26336) by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) are concerned with the topic of e-mobility. The federal ministries mentioned are in constant exchange with each other on the relevant topics, according to the response. There are no separate working groups at the ministry level. „In the view of the Federal Government, there is no need for a coordinator or a commissioner due to the existing continuous exchange between the federal ministries,“ it says.


Law against chick-killing presented: The federal government has presented a bill to amend the Animal Protection Act to ban the killing of chicks (19/27630). With the bill, the government wants to include the ban on killing chicken chicks of the species Gallus gallus in the Animal Protection Act. The ban is also to affect breeding and reproduction animals. Likewise, interventions on a chicken egg and the termination of the incubation process from the seventh day of incubation, which are carried out during or after the application of procedures for sex determination in the egg and cause the death of the chicken embryo, are to be prohibited. It is envisaged that this will enter into force in stages: The ban on the killing of hen chicks is to apply from 1 January 2022, the ban on interventions on the hen egg and on the termination of the incubation process only from 1 January 2024. In this way, the government wants to give the industry time to adapt to the new legal situation.

Packaging regulations are to be amended: In order to transpose EU Directive 2019/904 into German law, the Federal Government has submitted a draft bill on the implementation of requirements of the Single-Use Plastics Directive and the Waste Framework Directive in the Packaging Act and other laws (19/27634). The Bundestag is to refer the bill to the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety next Thursday for lead deliberation without debate.

Electricity requirements for hydrogen production: The German government assumes that five gigawatts of electricity will be available for the production of green hydrogen in 2030. The National Hydrogen Strategy provides for a corresponding electric electrolysis capacity, it says in the answer (19/27338) to a minor question (19/26446) of the Green parliamentary group. „Assuming full utilisation hours of 4,000 per year, this would be associated with an electricity consumption of 20 terawatt hours.“ Ten years later, i.e. in 2040, according to the ideas, 10 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity should be installed. At present, only small electrolysers are installed, so that the electricity consumption for the production of green hydrogen is negligible compared to the total electricity consumption in Germany, the Federal Government further explains.

Federal government knows nothing about environmental foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: The Federal Government has no further information on the „Stiftung Klima- und Umweltschutz MV“ (Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation MV) established by the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. This is stated in an answer (19/27335) to a small question of the FDP parliamentary group (19/26691). There had been no agreement on the establishment and work of the foundation with the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The questioners wanted to know whether the sanctions against Nord Stream 2 could be circumvented with the help of the foundation. According to the German government, the completion of the gas pipeline is the responsibility of Nord Stream 2 AG. Because of the American sanction threats, the German government is still in talks with the US government. The problem of extraterritorial US sanctions is also being addressed at the EU level, the answer says.

Ecosystem services of forests: The balance of carbon inflow and removal is decisive for the storage capacity of forests. The carbon balance depends decisively on the age class structure, according to an answer (19/27164) of the Federal Government to a small question (19/26466) of the AfD parliamentary group. According to this, young forests have a strong sink capacity for carbon dioxide, while in old forests with natural forest development, a balance between carbon dioxide uptake during growth and release during decay would be established over long periods of time of up to 500 years and more, based on the above-ground biomass. In forests that develop naturally, the storage capacity for carbon dioxide could increase in the short to medium term; as stands age, the capacity for further carbon sequestration through stock build-up in the aboveground biomass would decrease. Furthermore, forest areas that are no longer managed could become unstable and die when they reach the natural age limit. This is a natural process that is generally desirable from a nature conservation perspective. It initially leads to an increase in the carbon storage of deadwood and, through decomposition processes, also to an increase in soil carbon. Part of the carbon is released back into the atmosphere during the decomposition of the deadwood. However, the simultaneous growth of biomass leads to an equilibrium in the carbon balance in the long term, writes the German government.

Federal Government and its position on the import of hunting trophies:  According to the Federal Government, Germany has successfully campaigned for stronger regulation and control of trophy hunting at international and European level. This is stated in the answer (19/27306) to a minor question (19/26760) of the parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. For example, Germany and the EU had worked to ensure that the quotas for leopard hunting trophies were reviewed at regular intervals. According to the German government, it does not have any information on the monetary contribution that trophy imports of protected species make to the local population in the countries of origin. In response to the question as to how hunting for the purpose of obtaining trophies can be reconciled with the requirements of the Federal Animal Protection Act, according to which vertebrates may only be killed for reasonable cause, the Federal Government states that German law does not apply to hunting abroad.

Study on the life cycle assessment of beverage packaging planned: The publication of a study on the life cycle assessment of beverage packaging is expected for the first half of 2023. This was announced by the Federal Government in its answer (19/27305) to a minor question (19/26754) of the FDP parliamentary group. According to the answer, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Environment Agency are currently planning to award a project „Life Cycle Assessment of Optimisation Potentials of Beverage Packaging“. However, the Federal Government writes that findings on the life cycle assessment of beverage packaging are already available. These show „a fundamental ecological advantage of reusable systems“, but also make it clear that the environmental impact of certain disposable bottles has been significantly reduced in some cases. This reduction is above all due to the single-variety collection in the deposit system and the subsequent high-quality recycling.

Further development of the sustainability strategy: By further developing the German Sustainability Strategy (DNS) in 2021, the Federal Government wants to meet the comprehensive requirements of sustainability. The almost 400-page paper has now been forwarded to the Bundestag as information (19/27530). This is a further development of the national sustainability strategy, which has already existed in Germany since 2002. The new version is based on the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by the heads of state and government of the United Nations member states in 2015. According to the Federal Government, it describes which activities have been taken to implement the strategy in the current legislative period and which further measures are planned.


We should rather take our cue from other European countries. Hungary, for example, is in the process of phasing out coal in 2025. Austria is already out of coal, other countries too.

Volker Quaschning, Professor of Renewable Energy Systems at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Time is running out to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. He also referred to the current problems of the corona crisis, saying that Germany was ill-prepared for a pandemic. With the year 2038, Germany is at the back of the pack in the European Union, and we know that if we really want to expand renewable energies, solar and wind energy at the pace we need for the Paris Climate Agreement, we cannot operate coal-fired power plants beyond 2030 anyway for economic reasons. Then we should also be honest with the coal miners and say that 2030 at the latest is the end of the line. deutschlandfunk.de


Infections spread after years: Guinea is once again battling Ebola. Genome analyses suggest that a survivor of the epidemic, which lasted from 2013 to 2016, triggered the current outbreak. sueddeutsche.de

Tanzanian president dies: Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli, who has been controversial lately because of his Corona policy, died on Wednesday at the age of 61. According to official reports, he died of heart failure in a hospital in Dar es Salaam. He had last appeared in public at the end of February. dw.com

Tanzania’s new president: After the death of President John Magufuli, all hopes now rest on his successor. Samia Suluhu Hassan is Tanzania’s first female president. dw com

Ongoing development measures in Africa: Concrete projects and measures of the various federal ministries in African states that were started in the 19th parliamentary term and can be counted towards the share of public expenditure on development cooperation in gross national income (ODA quota) are listed in tabular form by the federal government in an answer (19/27222) to a minor question (19/26381) of the FDP parliamentary group. In addition, the Federal Government emphasises in its preliminary remark that it „expressly does not“ share the assumption of the parliamentary group regarding the lack of coherence in cooperation with African states and the promotion of economic engagement of German companies in Africa. She writes that there is „regular, close consultation and coordination“ within the cabinet on projects in developing countries. In addition, there are formalised coordination procedures, for example within the framework of foreign trade promotion or with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) within the framework of the International Climate Protection Initiative.

Save the Children: Fundamentalists in Mozambique also behead children. Save the Children has come to this frightening conclusion after talking to victims in the conflict region of Cabo Delgado. There, Islamists allied with IS are terrorising the population. dw.com

The Lagos Paradox: According to a study, over three million people in the Nigerian metropolis have been infected with the coronavirus. But many on the ground say Covid-19 does not exist. nzz.ch


Western Technologies in Africa – The New Colonial Powers: Paying by SMS, getting a loan with just a few clicks: The African continent is a big market for Western digital start-ups. But the products often perpetuate old thought patterns of the „white saviour“ – instead of addressing the potential on the ground. deutschlandfunkkultur.de

Minister Müller: Need commitment from EU and private sector against energy shortage in Africa. bmz.de



What can individuals do to protect the climate? Some people doubt that climate protection is worthwhile in Germany. Globally, Germany’s share of CO2 emissions is rather small. Nevertheless, the reduction of carbon dioxide is also important in this country. From a global perspective, Germany’s CO2 emissions only account for about 2.5 per cent – that sounds comparatively small at first. However, if you take the 27 EU states together, they would be in third place worldwide behind China and the USA in terms of total emissions. quarks.de

Expansion of rivers disputed worldwide:  River Oder, Elbe, Danube, Nile or Yangtze River – the expansion of rivers is disputed all over the world. It is about dredging, dams and canalisation. Energy generation and economic interests are pitted against environmental concerns and the interests of the local population. rnd.de

Expedition to the ice edge: Three weeks ago, a large piece of ice broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Now, researchers on the research vessel „Polarstern“ are taking the opportunity to explore the zone, which was previously hidden under a thick layer of ice, in more detail. They want to focus their attention on how the bottom fauna will develop in the coming years. Due to the break-off, the seabed is now exposed. When the plankton blooms in the next Antarctic summer, fresh organic material will sink into the depths and some species could benefit; other organisms specialising in food scarcity could lose out.  sueddeutsche.de

Crimean peninsula: Drying up. tagesschau.de 
Australia: Climate policy in court. taz.de
Satisfied self-employed: Self-employed are more satisfied than employees. brandeins.de



Generating energy on the parquet floor: Dancing could, if Swiss scientists have their way, not only be a sweat-inducing activity in the future, but also be used to generate energy. The scientists have laid the foundation for generating electricity from parquet flooring by turning a wooden cube into a mini-generator. The basis of the technology is the so-called piezoelectric effect in the wood. derstandard.at

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