FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 15/2020 Click here for the german version
Climate Change Conference in Glasgow postponed: The pandemic virus is the reason why the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, has been postponed. A new date for 2021 will be given later. The postponement is unavoidable in view of the spread of the corona virus – in the long term, however, climate change is the much greater threat to humanity, according to UN climate secretary Patricia Espinosa. At the meeting in Glasgow, the states of the Paris Agreement should present their new climate protection commitments. In view of the continuing global warming, environmentalists are urging that at least a significant increase in climate targets be firmly pledged now. The German Federal Environment Ministry has so far confirmed the Petersberg Climate Dialogue at the end of April. Organising the Climate Dialogue with 35 ministers via video conference is easier than organising a conference with 30,000 participants. n-tv, klimareporter.de
Associations want to overturn limit values: The car industry is calling for plans for tougher limit values to be overturned as a result of COVID-19. There has already been a crisis meeting with Chancellor Merkel, Economics Minister Altmaier (both CDU), Transport Minister Scheuer (CSU) and leading industry and trade union representatives, at which the industry demanded government backing. So far, the EU Commission has remained unimpressed. There were no plans to move away from the agenda for the „Green Deal“, or to postpone the implementation of existing laws until later. The EU heads of state and government confirmed only last week that they see the „Green Deal“ and digitisation as the core of the growth strategy for the period after the crisis, according to a Commission spokesperson. sueddeutsche.de, vision-mobility.de
For 75 percent of the species of exotic wild animals and reptiles offered in Germany there are currently no international protection regulations and thus no trade controls. Especially reptiles and amphibians are offered many species that are very rare, just recently discovered and therefore not yet protected or already highly endangered, for example because of loss of their habitat. Often it is also not comprehensible whether the offered animals are taken from nature or come from a breeding. bmu.de
Normal revisions of nuclear power plants despite corona: German nuclear power plant operators want to stick to annual revisions despite the corona crisis. In addition to the permanent staff, up to 1,000 employees from external companies come to the plants. The anti-nuclear organization „aired“ declared that nuclear power plants are not systemically important for the power supply. In order to prevent a further spread of the pandemic, the personnel-intensive inspections must be stopped, spokesman Jochen Stay demanded. taz.de
Convenience products do not reach WHO recommendations: Most convenience products in Germany do not reach the values that the WHO has set as limit values for fat, salt and sugar content. Scientists of the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) have examined in particular children’s products such as yoghurts, mueslis and soft drinks. Compared to a similar study from four years ago, crunchy chocolate mueslis and quark foods contain less sugar. The result is less good for children’s yoghurts. Federal Nutrition Minister Julia Klöckner is not satisfied with the results. By 2025, the sugar, salt and fat contents in finished products are to be gradually reduced. tagesschau.de
Predatory capitalism hits the poorest: Within a few days, in the corona crisis, the need but also the price of medical protective clothing has increased immensely. For example, the purchase price for FFP2 respiratory masks rose by 3,000 percent from 0.45 to 13.52 euros per piece within a few days. The market for medical protective clothing is dominated by „chaos“ and mafia methods. Filters are not functional, certificates are forged. This endangers patients and personnel. Many governments and responsible persons, for example in Africa, can no longer pay for breathing masks due to the increased prices. Help is difficult to organize. spiegel.de, sueddeutsche.de
Condominium Act is the key to e-mobility: With the recently adopted reform of the German Condominium Act (WEG), the German government wants to promote the expansion of the charging infrastructure in buildings. However, politicians are far too late with the renewal of the law, criticises the Federal Association for E-Mobility (BEM). energate-messenger.de
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Trittin: Government delays energy system transformation. zeit.de
Coronavirus on Greek islands: Refugee camp sealed off. afp.com
Falling electricity consumption: The lockdown will reduce energy consumption in Germany. faz.net
Share of green electricity: In the first quarter of 2020, renewable energies covered around 52 percent of gross domestic electricity consumption for the first time. stadt-und-werk.de
Greens: Temporary shutdown of nuclear power plants demanded. zfk.de
„Now is the time for acute crisis management. But there will be a time after the pandemic. By then at the latest we should have understood the causes of this crisis so that we can better prevent it in the future. Science tells us that the destruction of ecosystems makes disease outbreaks, even pandemics, more likely.“
Svenja Schulze, Federal Environment Minister, said that the destruction of nature was the crisis behind the corona crisis. Conversely, good nature conservation policy, which protects diverse ecosystems, is an important health precaution against the development of new diseases. She would very much welcome it if the World Biodiversity Council were to collect and process the global state of knowledge on these issues and make it available to policy-makers worldwide. After the pandemic, she said, the global community has the opportunity to adopt a new global biodiversity strategy – and thus show that it has learned from past pandemics. sonnenseite.com
„First of all, in a situation like this, a manager who is geared towards profit and profit orientation cannot quickly change his mind. After all, people are not trained to think socially or to take circumstances into account. This is something that is not really present in the training and in the body of thought for the time being, so to speak. They have to learn that. Adidas has just learned, Deichmann too, with the others you have to see that they face up to their responsibility and think like everyone else, that they now have to bring their part, their solidary sacrifice with them.“
Birger Priddat, Senior Professor of Economics and Philosophy in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Witten/Herdecke, says that the social market economy is not designed for extreme cases, but for a growth-oriented normality, and that is now breaking away. Now, so to speak, there is great irritation and uncertainty among many about how to behave. The fact that the citizens are, so to speak, abiding by the rules and making sacrifices is astonishing at first. Let’s see how long that lasts until the displeasure grows, but at the moment it works. There are people who are now quickly setting up companies so that they can tap into these loans. These people would hope in some way, because the assessment is very poor, so that one can slip through. So we don’t know yet what kind of fraud is going on in the Republic in the whole question of support. deutschlandfunk.de
Hyzon Motor wants to build a super hydrogen truck: The truck start-up Hyzon Motors wants – in order to reduce emissions and help hydrogen to make its breakthrough – to put a so-called road train on the road. The monster is to have a total weight of 140 tonnes. The truck consists of a tractor unit with three or more trailers. The roadtrains are not uncommon in remote areas in Australia and North America. The Hyzon Roadtrain is to be equipped with a 370-kilowatt fuel cell so that it can move the enormous loads. spiegel.de
Shortage of raw materials for cobalt: A shortage of raw materials could slow down electrification in the transport sector, cobalt in particular is becoming increasingly scarce. energyload.de
The future of DB Cargo: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group inquires about developments at DB Cargo AG, the freight transport division of Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), in a small inquiry (19/18071). Among other things, the members of parliament want to know from the Federal Government what strategy DB Cargo AG is pursuing to consolidate and further expand single wagonload transport in the years 2020 to 2023, and how the number of employees and trainees at DB Cargo has developed between 2009 and 2019.
Using the Elbe-Lübeck Canal: The AfD Group would like to know whether the Federal Government can confirm that the cost-benefit ratio (CBA) of the Elbe-Lübeck Canal – as stated in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (BVWP 2030) – is 0.5. In a minor question (19/17832), the MPs also asked the Federal Government why the expansion of the canal in 2016 had been included in the urgent needs of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan, „even though the number of ships has fallen according to the Ministry of Economics, Transport, Labour and Technology and Tourism of the State of Schleswig-Holstein“.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Stock of avenue trees in Germany: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group is interested in the development of the stock of avenue trees on federal roads in Lower Saxony in a small question (19/17997). The members of parliament inquire of the federal government about the average age of the avenue trees, the length of the one-sided rows of trees along federal roads in Lower Saxony and the avenue trees felled annually between 2009 and 2019.
Inquired about hydrogen: The Left Party raises the production, costs and benefits of hydrogen in a small inquiry (19/18122). The MEPs ask for forecasts of demand and they would like to know from which sources the substance is to be produced and how it is to be processed.
Asked about waste incineration: The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group asks about the role of waste incineration for the recycling economy and environmental protection in a short question (19/18236). In it, the members of parliament want to know, among other things, from the Federal Government what quantities of waste were incinerated in waste incineration plants or as substitute materials in 2019 and how this quantity has developed over the past 20 years. The parliamentary group also wants to know how many cement plants burn waste and how high the proportion of waste incineration is in relation to total waste recovery.
Credit ratings and human rights: The Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats asks about the compatibility of credit assessments by Schufa and other credit agencies with human rights. In a minor question (19/18149), the members of parliament want to know from the Federal Government, among other things, what effects the business practices of credit agencies and in particular of the market-dominating Schufa have, to their knowledge, on people living in poverty or at risk of poverty. Furthermore, they ask how many people in 2019, with reference to the available Schufa scores, were denied a rental apartment, a loan, a mobile phone contract and the change to an electricity or gas supply contract as well as a current account. The MPs also asked to what extent the federal government considers itself responsible for ensuring that credit agencies, such as Schufa, which exert significant influence on the granting of loans and the allocation of housing, carry out their assessments in a transparent and reliable manner. Another issue concerns the possibility for data protection supervisory authorities to audit credit agencies.
Background to COVID 19: How well is the coronavirus epidemic under control? The spread of the new coronavirus is slowing down. How many people are infected? How useful is a mouthguard? spektrum.de
How the textile industry is fighting for survival in developing countries: In Europe, the shops of textile retailers such as H&M, Zara and Co. are closed. Meanwhile, the manufacturing companies in the so-called low-wage countries are fighting for survival because the supply chains no longer function. The worst affected countries are Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh. dw.com
Threatened bisons in the USA: 5,000 bisons still live around Yellowstone National Park in the US state of Wyoming. Increasingly, the animals are crowding out of the park and the ranchers feel that they and their cattle are endangered. Not only this year hundreds of these animals were shot. Animal welfare activists have been criticizing this action for a long time. Even if the meat and hides of the killed animals go to the tribes of the indigenous people in the region, who have had documented hunting rights for 150 years, this is no solution. Now a reserve has agreed to accept a few dozen bison. general-anzeiger-bonn.de
All photos source – pixabay.com