FAIReconomics Newsletter week 39                       German version

EU Commission presents new climate targets: Last Wednesday, the EU Commission presented an amendment to the proposed European Climate Change Act to set the emission reduction target of at least 55 percent by 2030 as an interim goal on the way to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: „We are doing everything in our power to keep the promise we made to Europeans: To make Europe the first climate neutral continent in the world by 2050“. fair-economics.de, zeit.de, tagesspiegel.de

Waste mafia on the move: The police organisation Interpol warns against criminals who interfere in the international trade of plastic waste. Behind the warning lies a much bigger problem: the market for plastic recycling is not working. A police internet report by Interpol shows that the international trade in plastic waste is no longer functioning. Often, the recycling of plastic does not pay off because there is hardly a market for plastic recyclates. Even if they could be economically reused, plastic waste is hardly worth anything economically. This leads to criminals taking advantage of the trade in the waste. And – although the law does not allow it – plastic waste too often ends up in the environment. wiwo.de , interpol.int

Glacier melt water could raise sea levels worldwide by 39 centimetres. This is the result of a comparison of the findings of 14 research groups. All ice sheet models with regard to Greenland came to the same conclusion: if greenhouse gas emissions remain at the same high level, the melting glaciers there will contribute nine additional centimetres to sea-level rise. zeit.de

EEG draft falls short of European requirements: The draft of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which is currently being consulted by associations, falls far short of European requirements. This is the conclusion reached by the Bundesverband Energie Speicher Systeme (BVES) after a legal assessment by its Law and Regulation working group. „With the expiry of the implementation period for the Internal Electricity Market Directive on 1 January 2021 and the Renewable Energies Directive on 1 July 2021, German law is in conflict with the European specifications,“ states a paper by the association. euwid-energie.de

Government is acting against waste: The German government wants to take action against the growing cover of the oceans and the waste of fossil resources. A set of rules is currently being developed to help prevent this in the medium and long term. On Thursday, the Bundestag passed a new duty of care, with the help of which the state will be able to take action against the destruction of returned new goods in the trade. The Bundestag also passed a ban on disposable products. In future, cutlery, plates, drinking straws, stirrers, cotton swabs and balloon sticks made of plastic, as well as cups and containers for food made of polystyrene may no longer be sold. In addition, those who place disposable cups or cigarettes on the market will in future be required to contribute to the costs of disposal. tagesschau.de,  tagesspiegel.de

Bavaria does not want to be a nuclear waste repository: Bavaria is dropping out of the joint search in the federal states for a nuclear waste repository. And this shortly before publication of the first results of the search for a final repository for nuclear waste. The process has been running since 2017: „This process will cause unrest in Germany for decades and cost billions“, said Bavaria’s Environment Minister Thorsten Glauber (Free Voters). With Gorleben in Lower Saxony there was already a well explored site for a safe and almost turnkey repository. The key had „only been removed for political reasons“. With his general criticism, Glauber goes beyond the position in the coalition agreement between CSU and Freie Wähler. There it only says: „We are convinced that Bavaria is not a suitable location for a nuclear repository“. Criticism came immediately from other environment ministers. Schleswig-Holstein’s Environment Minister Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens) wants to continue an open-ended search. „We will not accept it if Schleswig-Holstein and the local authorities here are not treated properly. It will not work like this“ pnp.de, sueddeutsche.de 

Germans want more environmental protection: According to a study, about half of the Germans believe that the government is not doing enough for the environment in the Corona crisis. 53 percent share this opinion. The majority of those questioned (85 percent) also plead for government aid measures for companies in the Corona pandemic to be linked to environmental requirements. Companies should therefore commit to reducing their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to receive funding. The survey measured public attitudes towards the corona pandemic. t-online.demoreincommon.de (Studie)

Abschied vom Größenwahn

„We are all called upon to provide loving care for the dying for the old system.“  Megalomania and gigantism have become the motto of our existence. Unthinkingly we produce and consume more and more, build higher and higher, fly further and further – and do not even realize how inhuman this way of life actually is. Ute Scheub and Christian Küttner show why this way of life cannot make us happy and instead model a human measure of life – oriented towards well-being instead of profit, connectedness instead of anonymity, liveliness instead of concrete deserts. The result is a picture of a different society, which is small-scale, regional, decentralised and grassroots-democratic and which once again places people at the centre of attention.  oekom.de
Seawatch: set by Italian authorities. rnd.de
Greenland: Large chunk of ice broken off. zeit.de
Lego: Bricks in paper bags in future. faz.net
US science magazine: First election recommendation in 175 years. scientificamerican.com 
Solar storms: risk is increasing.  spiegel.de

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


Ships should be given new environmental rules: According to the will of the EU Parliament, shipping should also be subject to a CO2 tax. Planned is 25 euros per ton of CO2. welt.de
Daimler: With a fuel cell truck, Daimler wants to replace the diesel truck in the future and get as far as a thousand kilometres. businessinsider.com

Söder takes third runway in Munich: Plans for the construction of a third runway at Munich Airport are off the table for the time being. In a speech at the CSU parliamentary conference in Munich, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder said that the runway would not be built during his term of office, partly because air traffic had changed during the corona pandemic. He said that it was currently a challenge to maintain any runway at all in Munich, „let alone the second or even a third one“.  br.de

Pop Up cycle paths in Paris to become permanent: While in Berlin a court has banned at least eight pop-up cycle paths, Paris is to stick to its pop-up cycle paths established during the Corona crisis.  Paris‘ mayor Anne Hidalgo said that about 50 kilometres of road would be permanently rededicated. „The bicycle has become a means of transport in Paris for getting to work. It also helps to reduce pollution“. Among other things, the central Rue de Rivoli at the Louvre has been converted into an motorway for bicycles. A public transport strike at the beginning of the year and the Corona crisis caused a 67 percent increase in bicycle traffic in Paris within a year. taz.de


The Greens fail with a resolution on climate-induced migration: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen failed on Wednesday morning in the Development Committee with demands to tackle global climate-induced migration. A motion (19/15781) in which they argued for „socio-ecological change“ in all sectors and policy areas and full compliance with the Paris climate and sustainability goals was supported only by the Left Party. The drama of the climate crisis was underestimated, warned a Green representative at the meeting. It was causing massive global injustices and was driving millions of people to flee their homes in the countries that had contributed least to global warming. She called on the international community to develop perspectives on how to deal with climate-induced migration and to close gaps in protection under international law that would arise if states became uninhabitable due to climate change. For example, she could imagine the issuing of a climate passport, which could grant people access and equal rights as citizens in safe countries.

The CDU/CSU and SPD praised the Green motion, but pointed out that in their view the federal government was already highly committed to climate policy. For example, the funds for climate financing had increased by about 80 percent. Norbert Barthle (CSU), Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, pointed to Germany’s substantial contributions to the „Green Climate Fund“, which aims to compensate for climate-related losses and damage and to expand climate insurance and disaster relief. Kira Vinke of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, as a guest of the Committee, spoke of a „moral responsibility“ towards the approximately 8.5 million climate refugees worldwide. „If climate change continues, many areas could become uninhabitable,“ warned Vinke. In the affected countries, including China, India and Bangladesh, there was a lack of data collection systems and decent accommodation.

Extend emissions trading: The FDP parliamentary group has renewed its call for an extension of EU emissions trading. In a motion (19/22484) on Thursday’s Bundestag plenary agenda, it calls on the German government to „immediately initiate the extension of EU emissions trading to transport and buildings in Germany and, in parallel, to work towards a common approach in talks with France, the Benelux countries and other EU Member States“. The Group also wants agriculture and forestry to be integrated into emissions trading, recognising the CO2 sink function of forests and soils. Other demands in the proposal relate, for example, to basic research into climate-friendly energy technologies. In addition, the Liberals want the German government to change „the technology-unfriendly legal situation“ to enable the use of CCS technologies for the capture and storage of unavoidable industrial emissions in Germany.

The German government should support more stringent climate targets: The coalition parties of CDU/CSU and SPD want the German government to support a tightening of the EU climate target for 2030. In a motion (19/22506), which will be put to the vote in the Bundestag plenary session on Thursday, the parliamentary groups call for the government to back a corresponding proposal by the EU Commission. Today, the Commission had proposed to increase the reduction target for 2030 from currently 40 to 50 to 55 percent. According to the proposal, the support of the German government should depend on whether the Commission proposal „ensures a fair distribution of the burden within Europe“. In principle, the parliamentary groups call on the German government in the proposal to „align EU policy areas and the associated EU funding even more closely with the sustainability goals of the United Nations“. Other demands are aimed, for example, at strengthening the environmental services sector, promoting timber construction and reversing the trend in the status of biodiversity.

Strengthening sustainable development: Education, innovation and digitisation should become central building blocks for sustainable development. The CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups call for this in a motion (19/22507). According to the motion, sustainability in all its dimensions and objectives should continue to guide education, research and innovation policy. Within the framework of the available budget funds, the Federal Government should further develop instruments and methods so that the opportunities created by digital methods and the use of AI in early childhood, school and university education as well as in vocational and further training for inclusion and adaptive learning are consistently used. In order to achieve United Nations Development Goal 4 (Sustainable Development Goals, SDG), expertise and experience should also be shared within the framework of international education and science cooperation. Knowledge in the use of digital media, educational formats and digital tools should be taught more intensively. The political groups are also committed to further strengthening participation in educational opportunities regardless of origin, gender, religious and sexual orientation, physical or mental impairments or social status.

Furthermore, the CDU/CSU and SPD consider it important that UNESCO’s successor programme „ESD for 2030“, which will start in 2020, is used for a new impetus in cooperation with the Länder and the other members of the National Platform for ESD in order to implement a comprehensive anchoring of the concept of „Education for Sustainable Development“ along the entire education chain. Barriers to sustainable innovation are to be further consistently removed, for example by mobilising more venture capital to finance the growth of tech start-ups, closer cooperation between science and industry, experimental clauses and the promotion of participatory real laboratories. Furthermore, the missions of the High-Tech Strategy will in future also be related to the UN development goals.

Complaints during animal transport: In 2018 and 2019, 489 complaints regarding animal transports with a place of dispatch in Germany were received by the National Contact Point at the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). Of these, 296 were from Germany and 193 from abroad, according to a reply (19/22086) from the Federal Government to a minor question (19/21788) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. It also states that the complaints from transport companies based abroad often concerned requests for non-returned logbooks or navigation data which had been requested but which had also not been provided or had been incomplete.e.

Sanitation in Vietnam: The German government has reportedly responded to the recommendations of the German Development Cooperation Evaluation Institute (DEval) in its report on the programme „Sewage Management in Provincial Towns in Vietnam“ by, among other things, improving communication structures on site and between the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the implementing organisations. Among other things, the Economic Cooperation Officers (WZ) at the Hanoi Embassy would again be involved in implementing the wastewater programme, she writes in a reply (19/22281) to a minor question (19/21902) from the AfD faction. The political dialogue with the Vietnamese government to speed up the implementation of the project has also been intensified.


„Enormous sums of money are currently being spent on the transport sector, such as the e-car premium or Lufthansa, and now there will be further aid for suppliers in the car industry. The real mobility turnaround, as called for by the German Association of Cities and Towns, is being neglected. But we cannot afford to do without it. The later we switch over and say goodbye to our fixation on too many, too heavy and too powerful vehicles, the harder the cut will be when limits to the burden on people and nature become ever clearer – not only due to excessive CO2 emissions“.
Helmut Holzapfel, Head of the Centre for Mobility Culture in Kassel, the bottom line is that the mobility revolution will not destroy any jobs, especially as jobs will be lost in the car industry anyway, as electric motors are easier to build. New jobs would be created in the planning and design of functioning public spaces in the cities, in the growing public transport system, in the construction of cycle paths and in the intelligent organisation of mobility. The car manufacturers are already addressing these issues – it would make perfect sense for the car companies to become mobility corporations. The change will not be easy, but the sooner we start, the better. klimareporter.de


Water is valuable: It is a truism that water is the basis of all life on earth. However, rising temperatures and high water consumption mean that drinking water is becoming scarce in many regions. dw.com

Howl in the dark: Scientists in Morocco have discovered a special species of wolves in the High Atlas. They are researching this species and want to talk to herdsmen who are afraid of the animals. The aim is to make it clear to the shepherds that their animals and the wolves can live side by side.  fair-economics.de

World Risk Index describes most endangered countries: Vanuatu, Tonga, Dominica, the Solomon Islands and Fiji are the most endangered due to the climate crisis. Sea levels are rising as a result of global warming. Overall, the high-risk regions are mainly located in Oceania, South-East Asia, Central America and West and Central Africa. Qatar is the least vulnerable. Germany ranks 162nd on the list with a very low disaster risk.  tagesschau.de

video: Alpine glaciers melting rapidly.. wetteronline.de
Hydrogen: Green hydrogen could be a way out of the climate crisis. tagesspiegel.de
WHO: The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the search for herbal remedies for Covid-19 in Africa.yahoo.com


Trump and the Austrian forests: Somehow US President Donald Trump must have suspected that the Austrians are good with their forests, at least not in the same way that the Western US is able to deal with forest fires. Now the US President explained his view of things to the TV channel FOX: Austria is a „forest nation“, people there live in „forest cities“, and although there are more „explosive trees“ in Austria, the forest people in Austria deal with them better; they clean up the forest floor better. In our neighbouring country, Austria, people have been making fun of the wooden head in the White House ever since. The star in the social networks is the self-styled poet with the Twitter name „dichti“, who coined the slogan: „America First. Austria Forester“. sueddeutsche.de

German version

all pictures – if not stated otherwise, pixabay.com