FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 04/20 NEWS
Global warming in Europe particularly fast: Last year was the second warmest year worldwide since weather records began. Only 2016 was even warmer than last year. If we reduce the observations to Europe, we can see the same picture. Since 1910, annual temperatures have risen by 0.14 degrees per decade. Since 1981 it has been 0.46 degrees per decade, more than three times the long-term average. On all other continents, the rate has only doubled since the 1980s compared with the period from 1910 to 2000. klimareporter.de, nasa.gov, climate.copernicus.eu
Green Deal of the European Union: On Tuesday last week, the new EU Commission presented its targets for financing in the fight against climate change. By 2030, public and private investments of one trillion euros are to flow into climate-friendly projects. Around 100 billion euros have been earmarked to support the European coal phase-out, but they still need to be mobilised. And even now critics consider these sums to be utopian. Sven Giegold, financial expert of the Greens in the European Parliament, sees the whole financing „on shaky legs“. The Commission is expecting „billions of euros, which it does not have at its disposal at the moment“ zdf.de
Germany will receive an additional 877 million euros for the coal exit from Brussels. The money comes from the „Fund for a Just Transition“ which the EU Commission presented last Tuesday as part of the „Green Deal“ initiative. The EU wants to make Europe very ambitiously the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050. Among the measures to be promoted in existing coal regions are the retraining of workers, investment in the establishment of new companies and the renovation of buildings.euractiv.de
Federal and state governments agree on timetable for coal phase-out: On Thursday morning the federal government and the states with lignite regions agreed on a timetable for shutting down coal-fired power plants. The state premiers of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Brandenburg agreed with the government on a path for shutting down coal-fired power plants. Now the federal government wants to contractually define this path with the operators of the lignite-fired power plants and opencast mines. A draft bill for the coal phase-out is to be introduced before the end of January. In addition, the operators of the power plants are to receive compensation totalling 4.35 billion euros over a period of 15 years. RWE is likely to receive the most of this, as about 60 percent of all jobs could be lost with the utility. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze explained that the coal phase-out was binding. The first coal-fired power plant is to go off the grid at the end of 2020. However, the controversial coal-fired power plant Datteln 4, which is operated by Uniper, will go into operation and supply energy. Until the final phase-out, the federal states will receive around 40 billion euros in parallel for structural change and the transformation of their economies. Environmentalists say the phase-out is taking too long, while other critics point out that the compensation for the energy companies is too high. handelsblatt.com , welt.de , zdf.de, tagesschau.de
EU considers ban on plastic packaging: In the fight against plastic waste, the EU Commission wants to examine a ban on plastic packaging. EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkeviciuser said it would be an important step to ban plastic packaging or to prescribe the use of recycled plastic. In addition, he said, he would examine how manufacturers could be obliged to reduce the micro-plastic potential of their goods. Earlier, the Croatian EU presidency had announced that it would discuss a possible tax on plastic waste with the member states. welt.de
Constitutional court to decide on climate protection: Activists and environmental associations have lodged an appeal with the Federal Constitutional Court in order to achieve more climate protection. Two constitutional complaints against the government’s climate law were filed on Wednesday, representatives of Greenpeace, German Environmental Aid, Germanwatch and „Fridays for Future“ said. According to the complainants, the law is not sufficient to get the climate crisis under control. A climate protection law that falls short of its possibilities could also affect fundamental rights – such as the right to life and physical integrity.. sueddeutsche.de , germanwatch.org
Tesla’s Giga-Factory without green electricity and battery production: The Giga-Factory planned by Tesla in Brandenburg will probably not purchase green electricity and will not produce its own lithium-ion battery cells. This is clear from the documents for the preliminary building inspection. In contrast to Tesla’s first factory in the US state of Nevada, the company does not initially want to produce its own electricity. The battery cells will only be assembled at the Brandenburg site. One reason for this is the tight timeframe foreseen for the construction of the factory. However, a natural gas power plant is planned. manager-magazin.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
There are numerous approaches to making our economy and society more sustainable. But they always come down to two basic alternatives: personal behavioral change and technical innovation. Both approaches succumb to the illusion that „green growth“ is possible that protects nature while at the same time sparing us a radical change in our economic and working methods. As an activity in itself or via the purchasing power generated by it, every gainful employment means energy and material consumption – and thus an intervention in natural material cycles. More sustainable management therefore means above all: working less. The book advocates a „part-time world“ in which working hours are reduced to such an extent that we have more time for ourselves, a new social interaction can develop and the environment is noticeably relieved.oekom.de
Weather service: Warns of further bad harvests.. deutschlandfunk.de
Oceans: Never so warm. springer.com
Animal protection: Germany and France want to end chick killing. zeit.de
Liberal-Konservativer Kreis: For examination of all climatic protection measures and against black-green fantasies. sueddeutsche.de
Klimahysterie: Word of the year. tagesschau.de
McKinsey: Horror scenario for the climate. spiegel.de
Green Week: Protests for more climate protection. afp.com
Federal Minister Gerd Müller: Will present supply chain law together with Labour Minister Heil.tagesspiegel.de
Scheuer obstructs investigation committee: Federal Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer seems not interested in a clarification in the Toll Inquiry Committee. Officials of the Ministry of Transport have transported numerous files on the toll from the Bundestag and subsequently classified them as confidential classified information. In addition, the Ministry of Transportation has commissioned a legal opinion from the Linklaters law firm on the basis of an hourly rate of 410 euros for the 90-page legal opinion, mähr than 240,000 euros, that is to exonerate the minister in the affair. The FDP even goes a step further: „In contrast to Ursula von der Leyen, Andreas Scheuer should not be allowed to destroy evidence of mobile phone data and, above all, SMS messages or missing and cleaned smartphones,“ demanded the FDP chairman on the committee of inquiry, Christian Jung. spiegel.de , tagesspiegel.de , faz.net
Price difference on charging stations: The German government expects that more charging points that conform to measurement and calibration law will increase cost transparency in the market for electric mobility. The progressive market penetration of the charging points is associated with billing on the basis of kilowatt hours, explains the Federal Government in its answer (19/16436) to a minor question (19/15710) from the FDP parliamentary group. Current price differences at charging points could result from the mixture of non-price information regulation-compliant billing according to charging time (ct/min), as „session fee“ or according to charging capacity (ct/kWh).
Local authorities will determine the direction of mobility: In contrast to other regions of the world, cities in particular will determine new forms of mobility. bizz-energy.com
Car manufacturers: Taxes on CO2 billion fines to. manager-magazin.de
Industry: accuses politicians of favouring Tesla. tagesspiegel.de
Tesla 2: Sale of land approved. boerse-express.com
No financial night trains do not finance: Switching from airplane to rail, yes, but the government will not support Deutsche Bahn to use rail sleeper cars again. spiegel.de
Mobility of the future: Car parts from the 3D printer. stuttgarter-zeitung.de
Federal Administrative Court: Hearing on Elbe deepening. sueddeutsche.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Climate presidency: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group wants to make the German EU Council Presidency 2020 a „climate presidency“ and work for a fair labour market and social security in Europe. It should also create the conditions for a leading position in the areas of digitisation and innovation, MEPs demand in a motion (19/16492), which will be debated for the first time in the Bundestag tomorrow, Friday. In the second half of 2020, all eyes will be on Germany’s responsibility for Europe, the motion goes on to say. „The message must be: Europe is now tackling the big issues, above all climate protection.“ But the EU must also assert itself more strongly as a shaping player in geostrategic terms. The Greens cite social policy and the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as further important issues.
Promoting agroecology: In a motion (19/16496), the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group calls on the Federal Government to place agro-ecological approaches at the centre of development cooperation and to support the implementation of the voluntary guidelines on the right to food at national and international level. It is also to institutionalise the World Agriculture Council and massively reduce imports of animal feed and raw materials for the production of biofuels.
Forest bonus demanded:In a motion (19/16484), the FDP parliamentary group demands the introduction of a forest bonus to reduce CO2. According to this, the climate protection performance of forests should be recognised as the result of active forest management by the Federal Government. Active forest management is achieved through the sustainable care and renewal of forest stands by their managers with the aid of biological, chemical and technical aids. The aim of such management is to build up a large supply of wood and to produce the raw material wood. Furthermore, the „valorisation“ of the CO2 binding capacity of forests for carbon dioxide in Germany is to be promoted. In the future, it must be ensured that functioning forest storage facilities for CO2 are available. Active forest management is an important prerequisite for building up a high supply of wood and thus for a strong CO2 binding capacity.
Future of livestock farming: In a motion (19/16493) on agriculture, the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group calls on the Federal Government to give livestock farming a future. In the short term, it must put a stop to common violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The legal standard should be raised to an acceptable level. A newly created competence centre for the protection and welfare of animals and the establishment of a Federal Commissioner for Animal Protection should accompany this process. For meat and milk, a binding animal husbandry labelling system must be introduced, as is already in place for eggs, the application states. A pesticide reduction strategy with the binding goal of halving the use of pesticides by 2025 must, according to the Greens, include comprehensive consultation and research on non-chemical alternatives, but also a pesticide levy by manufacturers and an immediate phasing out of particularly problematic substances such as glyphosate and the bee-poisonous neonicotinoids.
Drug residues in drinking water: On behalf of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) has submitted its report on drug residues in drinking water and water bodies (19/16430). The background is the increasing consumption of pharmaceuticals over the past years. These are excreted, heavily diluted, and end up back in groundwater and water bodies. The report states that some of the substances only degrade slowly there, „can accumulate in the environment“ and re-enter the body via the food cycle or drinking water. There are „still large gaps in our knowledge about the occurrence and effects of pharmaceutical residues in the environment“, the preface says. A comprehensive monitoring of micropollutants in water and their effects is missing. There is currently nothing to fear from drinking water consumption, but laboratory tests and initial field investigations have provided „evidence in need of interpretation that water ecosystems can be affected by drug residues in combination with other micropollutants“.
Negotiations on distance agreements: In the discussion on distance regulations for wind turbines, the Federal Government refers to ongoing departmental coordination. The results of these negotiations have to be awaited, she explains in the answer (19/16416) to a small question (19/15739) of the parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. She therefore did not comment on the consequences of possible decisions, the Federal Government continued. The discussion is about how far plants must be away from residential buildings in the future and from which settlement size the rules apply.
„The EU Commission will initiate a very careful examination of whether these payments are in line with European state aid rules – so nothing has really been decided yet. The first step will be to examine whether these payments have to be considered as aid – that is highly likely“.
Hermann Ott, lawyer and environmental scientist from the environmental law organisation Client Earth, in a second step it will be examined whether these subsidies are „appropriate“. This is highly doubtful in view of the market conditions that already exist. Energy production from coal is an increasingly less profitable business. And the conditions would deteriorate further due to rising CO2 prices in the EU emissions trading scheme. These payments would be a poisoned gift to the coal industry. Poisoned because they would probably have to be paid back. klimareporter.de
„Climate change will not be manageable with an almost religiously proclaimed culture of renunciation. We will only manage this with the right industrial technology for tomorrow, and here we see German, European companies at the forefront.“
Dieter Kempf, BDI President, said that it is part of the obligation of every company to implement its contribution to achieving the climate targets. But without a monetary boost in various places, he is not convinced that someone will take the financing into their own hands. deutschlandfunk.de
Put a third of the earth under protection: When the international community meets in China in October, they want to negotiate a new treaty to protect nature. This will be in line with the Paris Climate Conference. In a first draft of the treaty text, UN experts propose, among other things, that at least 30 percent of the earth’s surface – land and sea – should be placed under nature protection by 2030. This would slow down the extinction of animal and plant species and protect ecosystems. But already this year they want to achieve that in 2020: 17 percent of the land area and inland waters should be protected and ten percent of the world’s oceans should be protected. deutschlandfunknova.de , cbd.int
Blackrock on environmental trails: Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock, the world’s largest financial administrator, has spoken out about his company’s withdrawal from financing the coal industry. „Awareness is changing rapidly and I am convinced that we are on the verge of a fundamental transformation of the financial world … In fact, climate change is almost always the most important topic in discussions with our clients around the world.“ Critics see greenwashing in the statements tagesschau.de , taz.de
The turnaround in heating begins in the urban district: researchers are showing how a district concept for the local turnaround in heating can look for an old building district in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: First of all, the heat requirement must be reduced by means of an energetic renovation. The heat can be generated by a wastewater heat pump, which is partly operated with locally generated solar electricity, in combination with combined heat and power generation. Particularly in the case of public buildings, which have a pioneering role – legally anchored in Berlin – it should always be checked in the case of renovation and new buildings whether they are suitable as a nucleus for a neighbourhood concept and the co-supply of surrounding buildings. To become climate-neutral, it is important to integrate local heat sources from wastewater, river water and geothermal energy as well as waste heat more into district heating. fair-economics.de
Qatar: Invests 400 million euros in solar energy. handelsblatt.com
Gazprom: Develops CO2-free production process for hydrogen welt.de
Brazil’s ecocide: indigenous peoples criticise the president. euronews.com
Palm oil check: Why meat remains the fire accelerant in the case of forest destruction. fair-economics.de
The end of privacy: A company in the U.S. has collected some three billion images of people from the Internet. These were used to develop a database for facial recognition. Last year the companies offered the use to 600 different potential customers. Behind Clearview, as the company is called, is said to be US billionaire Peter Thiel, one of the few supporters of US President Donald Trump.
All photos source: Pixabay.com.