FAIReconomics Newsletter KW 07 News

Federal government against throw-away mentality: The federal government now wants to take action against the mass destruction of undamaged new goods in online trade. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) announced an amendment to the law, which is to be passed by the cabinet on Wednesday. The minister wants to introduce a so-called „duty of care“ for retailers. „In parts of online commerce, a downright throwaway mentality is currently rampant“, Schulze said. With their behaviour, some retailers would ensure that trousers, shoes or toys never see a customer, but end up directly in the garbage container. „We are now putting a stop to this and will prohibit the destruction of new, fully functional goods“, announced Schulze. This is to be achieved by changing the Recycling Management Act (Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz). afp.combild.de

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Solar power pays off even without subsidies: Electricity from solar energy has long been criticized for being subsidized with billions of euros.  But now the technology pays off even without money from the state. One kilowatt hour of solar power costs only between four and five cents to produce. On top of this, there is a higher wholesale price and a much more expensive CO2 price at European level. In some regions solar energy is already the cheapest form of energy production. With falling prices, the demand for photovoltaic systems in Germany is also rising again. According to the German Solar Industry Association (BSW), interest in solar systems increased by 30 percent last year. In 2019 solar power systems with a capacity of almost four gigawatts were newly installed. With a capacity of around 50 gigawatts, the systems cover around nine percent of Germany’s net electricity consumption according to the BSW. handelsblatt.com

Twelve percent less CO2 emissions and a new record of 35 percent green electricity in the grid: Europe’s electricity sector is moving away from coal-fired power and towards more renewable energies and natural gas. If the CO2 price continues to play along, it can stay that way. Last year, greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in the EU fell more than at any time since 1990, by 120 million tonnes of CO2 compared to 2018. agora-energiewende.de

Renewables stronger than coal-fired power in Europe: Renewable energies are in the European climb. They now have a larger share than coal. In 2019 a total of almost 570 billion kilowatt hours were generated by wind and solar power plants throughout the EU, 100 billion more than from coal. Compared to the previous year, wind power production increased by 14 percent. Due to the increase in CO2 prices in emissions trading, electricity production from coal fell by almost a quarter compared to the previous year klimareporter.de

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Is there a tax on meat? A commission advising German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner(CDU) has considered that a tax on meat and other animal products could encourage consumers to eat more climate-friendly food. The price of a kilogram of meat, for example, could rise by 40 cents. The price of a kilo of cheese and butter would rise by 15 cents, and two cents for milk and eggs. The revenues of several billion euros per year are to flow through the federal budget and be redistributed from there to the farmers. Whether the government will accept this proposal is open. At the beginning of the week, the food summit also took place in the Chanchttp://www.fair-economics.de/wp-admin/post-new.phpellor’s Office. Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected demands for fixed minimum prices for food there. However, the government wants to put a stop to unfair practices. taz.de , dw.com (Lebensmittelgipfel / food summit)

Zoos help protect and conserve species: Many zoos participate in species conservation projects. Researchers have now shown that there is a direct correlation between visitor numbers and the number of species conservation projects supported. They based their observation on a data set of 119 zoos for which the relevant information was available. The influence is greater than other factors, such as the size of the zoo or how many endangered species are shown. Money alone is not decisive, they said, because socio-economic factors such as the gross domestic product of the country in question also seem to have little significance. In particular, public favourites such as large mammals favour the zoos‘ conservation effort . nature.com, derstandard.at 

Preparations for the climate conference in Glasgow are chaotic: Great Britain has so far been a role model when it comes to climate protection. Whether this will remain so after the brexite seems questionable, at least when one looks at the preparations for this year’s climate conference in Glasgow. The preparations are going suboptimally. In addition, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently dismissed the conference’s president, former climate and energy minister Claire O’Neill. In a letter, the battered politician complained to her ex-boss. Johnson had promised to lead the conference preparations, but the British climate cabinet had not met once so far. If Glasgow fails, the Paris regime fails – and we lose another five to ten years to build a new regime,“ says Nick Mabey, head of the British environmental think tank E3G.  klimareporter.de theguardian.com

BUCHTIPP DER WOCHE:

Klima-–-Cover-–-300dpi-189x300 FAIReconomics Newsletter week  07/2020 Newsletter Klima – eine neue Perspektive
The prevailing consensus on our climate today leaves little room for other ecological concerns. Tactics and goals of climate protection activism still follow the same pattern that led to climate change and environmental destruction in the first place: Problems such as genetic manipulation, huge biofuel plantations or the construction of dams are ignored or even offered as a solution, which leads to a further aggravation of the development and globalization problem.
In his new book Climate, Charles Eisenstein pleads for a return to water, soil, forests, regenerative agriculture and nature conservation, because much of what is attributed to greenhouse gases and global warming is in fact due to our separatist world view, which has led to the crisis of our planet. In Climate, Eisenstein concludes that simply introducing new forms of energy production or consumption is not enough to make „sustainable development“ possible. Rather, a radical rethinking in the sense of „interbeing“ is needed, a holistic feeling and action that focuses on the connection of all people, but also the connection between man and nature, in order to make positive change possible. We all have to learn to take responsibility for our actions and to contribute to the healing of our ecosystem; because only in this way can we achieve a healing of our climatic and social systems. europa-verlag.com

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Environmental associations: … are calling for an end to disposable packaging and a drastic reduction in plastic production. heute.de
January 2020: It has never been so warm. wetter.com 
New information centre: A competence centre for electromagnetic fields is to be established in Cottbus. bfs.de
Greens: Levy model submitted by wind power operators to local authorities. handelsblatt.com
Norwegian energy group Equinor: More greenwashing than seriousness. tagesschau.de
Siemens: Climate protests before the Annual Shareholders‘ Meeting. zeit.de

 

MOBILITY

Great Britain prefers diesel phase-out:  The British government wants to bring forward the phase-out of the combustion engine by five years. As early as 2035, no new diesel, gasoline and hybrid cars will be allowed to be registered. In Great Britain, currently around 90 percent of new registrations are still diesel or gasoline cars. However, this will not achieve the climate targets. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the end for these vehicles would now be brought forward by five years. „Just as we will develop our concept for zero emissions in 2050 this year, we also want to commit other countries to this goal. He said there was no greater responsibility „than to protect our planet.“  handelsblatt.com

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SUVs are to become more expensive – at least in Austria: As early as next year, the tax on new cars in Austria is to be changed so that fuel-guzzling SUVs become more expensive. The commuter allowance is also to be restructured as part of the „greening of the tax system with steering effects towards more environmental protection“.  Austria wants to be carbon neutral ten years faster than Germany and the EU. faz.net

CSU against speed limit: Free travel for free citizens. „The CSU clearly opposes this ideologically motivated project of the Greens, SPD and Die Linke“. A speed limit would not substantially improve road safety or the climate balance of traffic. „More and more citizens are fed up with the constant prohibition mania“, said CSU Secretary General Markus Blume. The SPD is surprised that they think the campaign is unacceptable.  „That the CSU wants to drive a wedge into society with its anti-tempo limit campaign is highly negligent“, said SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans. csu.de , heute.de

CO2 compensation costs differ: Depending on the provider, the compensation costs for flights differ. Those who want to reduce their CO2 footprint by paying money will encounter different calculation models from the airlines. Especially for long-haul flights, the amount varies depending on the provider. Lufthansa, for example, only considers pure CO2 emissions, while other providers also include substances such as nitrogen oxides. deutschlandfunk.de

Competition in mobility services: The development of new mobility platforms is the subject of a small question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/16597). In the bill, MEPs criticize the fact that the Federal Government has cut the funds for the introduction of e-ticketing in the 2020 budget. In addition, the Bundeskartellamt has recently again focused on Deutsche Bahn. The accusation is that „the federally owned company is exploiting its strong market position by hindering other mobility providers who also provide passenger information and want to make money by selling tickets via platforms“. The federal government should now provide information on how it intends to maintain the initial conditions for fair competition among all mobility services. What concrete role Deutsche Bahn and its platform, the DB Navigator, should play in the implementation of a digital mobility platform from the federal government’s point of view is also of interest to the Greens.

Nidec: The Japanese company Nidec wants to become the market leader for electric motors. handelsblatt.com
Tesla: Since the beginning of the year, the security has even gained a full 70 percent. faz.net

LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG

No findings on greenwashing: In the absence of a clear definition of sustainability and without corresponding obligations to provide evidence, the German government has no findings on so-called greenwashing. This is stated by the Federal Government in its answer (19/16590) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/16265). It refers to an assessment of the EU Commission, which has assessed the risk of greenwashing as relevant. In the preliminary remark to the minor question, the FDP parliamentary group had explained that greenwashing is understood to mean the disclosure of financial products as sustainable, although these would continue to contain or finance elements that are harmful to the climate or the environment.

Strategy of offshore wind energy: The FDP faction is interested in the expansion of offshore wind energy. In a short question (19/16871), MEPs inquire about planned cooperation in the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions. They would also like to know what goals the Federal Government has set itself for the presidency of North Sea energy cooperation since January this year.

Importance of domestic raw materials: The Federal Government intends to increase its efforts to promote the recycling of raw materials and the extraction of raw materials at home. Domestic raw material extraction and the use of recycled materials could cover a large part of the demand for mineral raw materials in Germany, it writes in its raw materials strategy presented as an information document (19/16720). The construction industry, for example, is supplied with raw materials from Germany for the most part. With regard to energy supply, the coal phase-out will lead to metals and industrial minerals becoming more important. Germany is highly dependent on imports in this area – making the processing of raw materials all the more important. In addition, it is important to use raw materials efficiently, it continues. In some industries and processes, they can now also be substituted by materials with lower CO2 emissions. The German government cites cement or steel production as examples. In its strategy, the Federal Government emphasises the importance of the new Geological Data Act that has been introduced. It is intended to regulate data backup and access to geological data for companies, authorities and the public. The aim is to enable investments on the basis of fair competition and to reduce the effort and costs for all interested citizens. In a further point, the strategy is dedicated to the acceptance of domestic raw material extraction. It is said that a social understanding of the importance of domestic mineral resources should be created.

TAKEN LITERALLY

We need cheap and regeneratively produced hydrogen. In terms of infrastructure, Germany has the largest network in Europe. This year the hundredth filling station will open. Together with the H2-Mobility joint venture, we will drive forward the expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure.
Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport, said that this will bring the German filling station network to a capacity for 60,000 hydrogen cars and 500 commercial vehicles by the end of 2021. But there are still far too few vehicles. Currently, he said, hydrogen seemed to be attractive especially for buses, trucks and on longer distances. And for the railways as an alternative to diesel on non-electrified routes. Therefore hydrogen filling stations would be opened at railway stations. However, people should also be relieved of their fear and brought into contact with the products. He called on the car industry to make such offers, and Made in Germany please. faz.net

„The aim is to link species protection as closely as possible to the energy revolution. Global warming is a huge threat to many species on this planet. Energy system transformation is one of the most important ways of countering this. Without energy system transformation, we can save all species equally.“
Jörg-Andreas Krüger, President of Nabu, if you think bigger in planning, agriculture and wind energy could be better integrated. If, for example, a region already has high levels of pollution due to over-fertilisation or monocultures, then one condition for the construction of a wind farm could be that the overall pollution levels do not increase any further. For example, by creating suitable compensation areas. spiegel.de

MORE KNOWLEDGE

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Purifying wastewater is worthwhile: In addition to dirt particles, wastewater contains nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Researchers have calculated that the earth’s wastewater contains a total of 26 million tonnes of nutrients per year. If these were recovered, they could theoretically cover 13 percent of the global fertilizer requirement. deutschlandfunk.de

Ocean currents are becoming faster: The speed of ocean currents is increasing, especially in tropical waters and parts of the oceans. An international team led by the Chinese oceanographer Shijian Hu has now discovered this. Three-quarters of the world’s marine waters are being accelerated by climate change. The speed of currents down to a depth of 2,000 metres has increased in 76 per cent of global ocean waters. spiegel.de

Bumblebee deaths fathomed: In a long-term study, scientists have observed a widespread and massive decline in numerous species of bumblebee in Europe and North America. Besides bees, bumblebees are considered important pollinators of plants. This is even greater than previously assumed. The causes are more frequent and longer-lasting periods of extreme heat. It is possible that the extinction of bumble bees is a harbinger of an extinction wave. „The limit of what the animals can tolerate in terms of increasing heat is being exceeded more and more often,“ she says in her report.  sueddeutsche.de , science.org (Originaltext)

Brazil: Bolsonaro wants to exploit the indigenous territories. zdf.de
Fear of climate change: Scientists have been studying the influence of climate change on the psyche for some time. tagesspiegel.de
Ecosia: Surfing and doing something good.  sueddeutsche.de
Protection of nature: Should nature become a legal object? dw.com
Green companies: In demand among young professionals. wiwo.de
Background paper: Human rights due diligence for companies loening-berlin.de

Dates/Events:

Biodiversity and climate will be the subject of a public expert discussion of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on Wednesday, 12 February 2020. six experts have been invited to the expert discussion, which begins at 11 a.m. in the conference room E 700 of the Paul Löbe Haus in Berlin. Steffen Pingen (Deutscher Bauernverband e. V.), Josef Settele (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research), Morten Jødal from Norway, Beate Jessel (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation), Magnus J. K. Wessel (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz) and Thomas Hickler (Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre) will give their assessments. Interested listeners are requested to register with their name and date of birth with the Committee Secretariat (umweltausschuss@bundestag.de) by 10 February, stating their first name, surname and date of birth.

Conference: Towards sustainable supply chains. Challenges and instruments of a fair globalisation. 05 March 2020, 10:00 – 13:30, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Berlin. arbeit-umwelt.de 

LAST WORDS:

Fill it up once for the environment please!  CO2 compensation for full tanks – that’s what the oil company Shell wants to offer its customers.  Shell has selected international projects in Peru and Indonesia.  The costs for motorists should be a little over one cent per litre. The customer should only pay for the compensation of the CO2 that he or she generates by burning the fuel while driving. Shell will pay for the share that is generated during production, transport and distribution. „Even though avoiding CO2 would certainly have been better, it doesn’t help to do nothing,“ said Jan Toschka, the company’s filling station manager.  Environmentalists criticise the advertising campaign; they speak of a „sham solution“. spiegel.de

all photos: pixabay.com

Über den Autor

Frank Tetzel ist Chefredakteur von FAIReconomics. Seine Schwerpunkte liegen auf den Themen: Energie, Mobilität, Tourismus, Arbeit und Stadt der Zukunft.

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