FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 22/2020                  German version

CO2 price from next January: In its last meeting, the Federal Cabinet approved a CO2 price of 25 euros per tonne of CO2. The decision of the Federal Cabinet includes a note on how to protect domestic companies from foreign competition who want to enter the market with cheaper products but a higher CO2 foodprint. The technical term for this is carbon leakage. The countermeasures are to be introduced as early as 2021. It is still unclear to what extent the EU will possibly follow suit. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is also in favour of a CO2 border tax. Although some EU member states already have a CO2 tax, there is no uniform EU price for CO2 in the building, traffic or transport sector. euractiv.de , bundesregierung.desolarify.de

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Agreement on the expansion of green electricity: The GroKo has agreed on a faster expansion of green electricity after months of wrangling. Thus one finally agreed on a minimum distance between wind turbines and residential buildings. A state opening clause is to be installed in the building code, which will allow the federal states to define a minimum distance of up to 1,000 metres between wind turbines and residential buildings in their state laws. A Bavarian special solution, which already exists, is to be exempted from this.  Solar expansion can now also continue. The funding cap for solar plants will be lifted immediately and planning and approval processes will be accelerated. zeit.de

10 million hectares of forest, an area almost as large as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg combined, disappear from the earth every year. The UN – agricultural organisation FAO and UNEP, the environmental programme of the United Nations warn against destroying a central habitat for many animals and plants. As one of the main reasons for deforestation and other forms of deforestation, the UN experts, who presented the „Global Forest Status Report 2020“, named agriculture. In particular, large cattle farms and soy and palm oil production are mentioned. sueddeutsche.de

Pure green electricity is already possible in Germany – theoretically: A study proves that Germany could theoretically generate its entire electricity demand with renewable energies: Both the geography and the technologies are sufficient to cover three times the current consumption. In twenty years, solar and wind energy could reach 1,800 TWh. This means that the climate targets that the German government has set itself for 2030 and 2050 are also possible. „Today, we only use about 10 percent of the geographical-technological potential for photovoltaics and offshore wind, and almost a third for onshore wind,“ says Casimir Lorenz, project manager at Aurora Energy Research. „From this point of view, there is therefore more than enough room for manoeuvre to increase the share of renewables in electricity generation to 65 percent by 2030 as targeted and to make the energy supply largely CO2-free by 2050“ euwid-energy. de ,

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Austria intends to grant tax benefits for domestic food products: „Austria First“, the Austrian federal government wants to grant tax benefits for regional foods in the future. Foods that can prove long supply chains will then become more expensive. This should strengthen Austria’s farmers. While the politicians are working on the implementation, the food industry and trade are criticising – there is talk of planned economy and protectionism. derstandard.at 

ZDestroying the tropical forest is on the increase: In the Corona Pandemic, the destruction of tropical forests has massively increased worldwide. This is the result of a study by the environmental foundation WWF. According to an evaluation of satellite data, the area of tropical forests in the 18 countries studied shrank by 6,500 square kilometres in March – which is about seven times the area of Berlin. According to the WWF analysis, this means an increase in forest destruction of 150 percent on average compared to the years 2017 to 2019. Indonesia, Congo and Brazil were most affected. In many places, people are using the forest as a source of income due to job losses. For protection, the WWF is calling for support for developing and emerging countries. wwf.de , spiegel.dezeit.de


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TechnikRadar 2020: What Germans think about technology

What Germans think about technology – this is what the TechnikRadar by acatech and the Körber Foundation has been investigating since 2018. In its third edition this year, the representative study focuses on what Germans think about the „bio-economy“. The term refers to new products, processes and services that replace fossil fuels with biological resources or use biological knowledge to contribute to a more sustainable and future-proof economic system. The results show: When it comes to protecting the climate and the environment, the majority of Germans have a clear position – at least when it comes to the objectives and general demands on politicians. When asked about concrete measures that directly affect people, the willingness to act consistently is much less pronounced. The TechnikRadar aims to contribute to the urgently needed debate on what priority Germany, as a world leader in technology and innovation, should give to these future issues. Download here


Tobacco advertising ban: coalition plans expansion  zdf.de
Conspiracy theorist: The boss of the sustainable supplier Rapunzel spreads conspiracy theories. tagesspiegel.de
Denmark: World’s first energy islands in the North and Baltic Sea. handelsblatt.com
German energy sector: Economic growth can only go green. energate-messenger.de
UBA: Wants to reduce green electricity levy during the crisis. bizz-energy.com
Fridays for Future: Environmental movement fights for influence. businessinsider.de
On the state of nature: Germany is doing mediocre. sueddeutsche de
European Green Deal: EU Commission focuses on agriculture. spiegel.de
Karliczek: More money for all-day schools. afp.com
Will the coal exit be faster?  The planned compensation figures could keep the power plants running longer than necessary. klimareporter.de


Germany leads the way in e-mobility technology: Four out of ten patents for both electric drives and autonomous driving come from Germany. Even in battery technology, the figure is still three out of ten. And three out of ten for e-car batteries. But that doesn’t have to stay that way: in China, about one million patent applications are made each year, in Germany there are only 70,000. sueddeutsche.de

Single wagonload transport at DB Cargo: According to its own statements, the freight transport division of Deutsche Bahn AG, DB Cargo AG, is aiming to align its strategy for single wagonload transport with growth and further modal shift. This is stated in the Federal Government’s answer (19/18910) to a minor question from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/18071). In order to be an ecological alternative to road transport, single wagonload traffic is to be massively expanded – for example, with faster connections or new sectors such as consumer goods. Core elements of this are to be an attractive supply and network concept, investments in digitalisation, automation and modernisation. In order to make these steps possible, the answer states that further implementation of the rail freight master plan is also necessary.

Toll exemption: Scania sees natural gas trucks as economical and ecological. The Swedish manufacturer welcomes the extension of the toll exemption and sees natural gas trucks as a solution that is already available today and is both ecological and economical. transport-online.de

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Bicycle: Winners of the Corona Pandemic wiwo.de
European Union: 100 billion euros for sustainable mobility. elektroauto-news.net


Final disposal of high-level radioactive waste: The Federal Government has submitted ordinances on safety requirements and safety investigations for the final disposal of highly radioactive waste (19/19291), which are to come into force by summer 2020. The ordinances serve to specify in more detail the safety requirements for a repository to be set up by the federal government and include the performance of preliminary safety investigations in the Site Selection Act (StandAG), writes the government.

Why returns are destroyed in online trade:  The FDP faction has made the frequently practiced destruction of returns by merchants the subject of a minor question (19/19227). It refers here to statements by entrepreneurs who would have considered the disposal of returned goods for tax reasons to be cheaper than passing them on to third parties in the form of donations in kind. This is because the value added tax for donations in kind amounts to 19 percent of the replacement costs. The Federal Government is asked whether it can understand the view of the entrepreneurs, according to which the disposal of returned goods is economically and fiscally more favourable than passing them on in the form of donations in kind. In addition, the government should indicate how many goods were disposed of instead of donated due to returns from businesses.

Asked about the climate protection programme: The effects of the corona pandemic on the climate protection programme 2030 are the subject of a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/19083). In it the parliamentary group wants to know which of the measures in the Fuel Emission Trading Act, in the buildings sector and in the transport sector the Federal Government has implemented so far and which measures will be delayed. The MEPs also ask about the status of implementation of the measures in the forestry and agriculture, industry and energy sectors.


„Species-rich meadows and pastures are experiencing sharp declines in both area and species diversity. This trend has continued unabated since the first national FFH report in 2001. More than half of all FFH grassland habitat types in Germany are in an unfavourable and poor conservation status“.

Birgit Jestel, President of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, said that the protection of grassland must therefore be improved not only at European but also at national level. If we wanted to successfully protect and preserve species and habitats, nature could be part of the solutions. The report also made this clear: Renaturalised wetlands, intact moors and sustainably used forests could make a decisive contribution to climate protection and climate adaptation. bmu.de


Particularly affected by climate change – Sierre Leone: Galeh Sesay points down into the turquoise blue water next to the boat. Her house used to stand right here, she says. Until it was washed away two years ago. From the island of Nyangai, where Sesay was recovered 32 years ago, only two spots look out of the Atlantic Ocean today, each about the size of two football fields. „The water has forced us to move away,“ she says. The Turtle Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Sierra Leone, are slowly sinking into the sea. And Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world, lacks money for measures to protect itself from the effects of climate change. The African country is an example of how global warming hits those people who have caused it the least hardest. spiegel.de

Research flights in lockdown: The COVID19 pandemic not only affects almost every aspect of everyday life, but also the environment. A German team, led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), is now trying to find out how strong these effects are on the atmosphere. As part of the BLUESKY research mission, the scientists will measure concentrations of trace gases and pollutants in the air over European conurbations and in the air corridor to North America over the next two weeks. The aim of the aircraft mission is to assess how reduced emissions from industry and traffic are changing atmospheric chemistry and physics. idw-online.de

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Hurricanes are on the rise:  The coastal populations of India and Bangladesh are currently facing two crises: COVID-19 and now also a cyclone. Hurricane Amphan is one of the most violent storms in recent years. The meteorological authorities expect wind speeds of just under 200 kilometres per hour.  The problem, cyclones, as the storms are called in the region, draw their energy from warm surface waters of the oceans. A recent study shows..: Cyclones in the upper categories three to five are increasing. klimareporter.de

Spreewald: Storks find less and less food. dlf.de
Environmental protection: Studies show that many men consider environmental protection to be feminine. klimafakten.de
Bees: Like sloppy gardens. enorm-magazin.de 
Mexico: Trouble with wind energy and indigenous peoples. dw.com
Flexible spaces: The future of building. arte.tv


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Photo:: BSR

Voting container in Berlin: cigarette butts rot very badly and are therefore bad for the environment. Now the Berliner Stadtreinigungsbetriebe (BSR) have come up with the idea and are testing new bins for the cigarette butts. Under the term „tuning containers“ smokers should no longer throw their cigarettes on the floor. Questions can be seen on the bins – by throwing in the cigarettes, a vote is taken. Questions such as „My Berlin football club is …“ with „Hertha BSC“ or „1st FC Union Berlin“ are to be voted on and the appropriate cigarette butts thrown in. Questions like „Ick bin een Berliner“ (Yes/No), „How does your perfect day start? (With tea/coffee) or „Do you like pineapple on pizza?“ (Yes/No). The buckets are made of stainless steel and special glass so that the result is immediately visible. bsr.de




All photos: Source pixabay.com, if not marked otherwise.

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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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