FAIReconomics Newsletter WEEK 24/2020 German Version
Economic stimulus package without a scrappage bonus: The German government is providing around 130 billion euros to combat the worst recession in the post-war period. 120 billion euros of this amount will be allocated to the federal government. 50 billion euros are earmarked for investments in the future. This includes the promotion of e-cars and charging stations. Eleven billion will be used to reduce the EEG levy, which will finance the expansion of renewable energies. In the future, every filling station will also offer a charging point for e-cars, for example. There will be no general scrapping bonus, as demanded by the Minister Presidents of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony. manager-magazin.de , zeit.de , Koalitionsausschuss03Jun2020.pdf (Originaldokument)
Expansion targets for offshore wind farms: The yield of wind power at sea is higher than on land, which is why the expansion target for offshore wind farms is to be increased to a capacity of 40 gigawatts by 2040, according to a decision by the Federal Cabinet. Over the next ten years, the expansion is to increase by five gigawatts to up to 20 gigawatts. Another important measure: Administrative procedures are to be streamlined and accelerated in order to achieve the planned expansion targets. spiegel.de
More than 500 species of agricultural vertebrates are currently threatened with extinction. Researchers assume a sixth mass extinction in the history of the earth. Among the acutely endangered species are the Sumatran rhinoceros, the stump-foot frog and the Clariónzaun’s wren. 335 of the highly endangered species are birds alone. Of many species studied, there are sometimes no more than 1,000 specimens. The total of 515 species affected – which corresponds to about 1.7 percent of the 29,400 species of terrestrial vertebrates studied by the researchers – live predominantly in tropical and subtropical areas that are severely affected by overexploitation of resources, environmental pollution and illegal wildlife trade.orf.at
Environmental disaster in the Russian Arctic: Since 29 May, around 20,000 tons of diesel have leaked from a thermal power plant in the Siberian city of Norilsk and flowed into the Ambarnaja river. In the meantime, a state of emergency has been declared. In addition, a floating dam has been built to prevent the diesel from flowing into a lake. Obviously, the melting of the permafrost soil, which is caused by climate change, has something to do with the disaster. according to the responsible company „Norilsk Nickel“, supporting pillars that held the tank have sunk. spiegel.de , dw.com
Postponed again – animal welfare for mother sows: Last Friday the Bundesrat should have voted on the future and the species-appropriate keeping of mother sows. Had it been up to CDU Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner, the previously illegal keeping of sows would have been legalized for another 17 years. If the federal states with Green government participation had voted against the minister’s draft or abstained, the Federal Minister of Agriculture would have failed. The compromise worked out by the Greens in advance, which provided that sows could be kept in the existing box stalls for another eight years, in cases of hardship even ten years as before, was considered too weak by critics. spiegel.de , agrarheute.com
River Elbe Deepening is coming: The last legal hurdle has now been cleared by the highly controversial RiverElbe Deepening at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. The judges rejected the complaint of environmentalists against the amended plans for the major project. The chairman of the 7th senate, Andreas Korbmacher, justified the decision, saying that these were „not objectionable“. This means that there is no longer any legal obstacle to the expansion of the Elbe, which began 18 years ago. In order to enable large container giants with a draught of up to 13.50 metres to reach the port of Hamburg independently of the tide and up to 14.50 metres on the tidal wave, the Elbe is to be deepened. zeit.de , bverwg.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
It sweetens our lives, makes us happy in the short term, but its aftertaste is bitter: sugar is far more problematic than the billboards of soft drink manufacturers suggest – and not only because of the health problems caused by its excessive consumption. What was once reserved for kings and princes is now an integral part of our diet. To understand how the substance was able to conquer our everyday lives so completely, James Walvin looks back into the past – and presents a history of power and temptation, of slavery and environmental problems, but also of diseases of civilisation such as obesity and caries. oekom.de
Spain: Introduces plastic tax. taz.de
Waste in Germany: In 2018, waste will increase by 1.2 percent to 417.2 million tons compared to the previous year. oldenburger-onlinezeitung.de
Opec: Prolongs cutback in subsidies until the end of July. afp.com
EEG: The EEG levy could be 25 percent higher next year than today. ewi.uni-koeln.de
Pandora: completely recycled jewellery. sueddeutsche.de
COVID-19: The effects on the environment. welt.de
Port of Antwerp: Halving of CO2 emissions announced.thb.info
The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.
Into the future by bike:
With temporary cycle lanes, the Changing Cities initiative and the Berlin Senate create more space and safety for cyclists in corona times. 17goalsmagazin.de
USA – new adversity for Volkswagen: The Volkswagen Group faces further high fines in the United States as a result of the emissions scandal. A US court of appeal has ruled that VW cannot protect itself against the claims of two counties in Utah and Florida. Salt Lake and Hillsborough had sued the Wolfsburgers for excessive climate-damaging diesel emissions. They could now claim a billion dollars. In September five years ago, VW had admitted to exhaust manipulations on a large scale. In the meantime, the company had to spend more than 30 billion euros on compensation and legal costs. Most of it went to the USA. Now VW could once again face up to 11.2 billion dollars per year. zeit.de
First passenger aircraft with E-propulsion: Two US companies successfully launch the first test flight with a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B with an E-propulsion system n-tv.de
Autonomous driving: Draft law exists and is even controversial in the Ministry of Transport. handelsblatt.com
COVID-19: Effects on mobility. welt.de
No Europe-wide discount at the railway: According to the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), the company „does not aim at the introduction of a Europe-wide uniform discount card“. This is what the German government writes in its answer (19/18911) to a minor question from the FDP parliamentary group (19/18128). The harmonization of the national discount cards of all major European railway companies seems unrealistic because of the different discount card and price systems of the individual railway companies, the answer states. Instead, DB AG has been working at European level in recent years to ensure that the respective discount cards can be used for cross-border transport, the government states. As far as the possibility of booking train tickets of other European train operators via rail platforms is concerned, the answer states: According to DB AG, tickets of some foreign railways have been offered on bahn.de and via the DB Navigator since January 2018. The offer is constantly being expanded. Currently, the offer includes tickets of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), including the entire night train offer of ÖBB and its night jet partners, as well as tickets of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the Italian railway company Trenitalia, the French state railway SNCF and the international railway companies Eurostar and Thalys. These connections can also be booked in combination with each other or with a DB ticket in one booking step, writes the Federal Government.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Racial profiling: The problem of „racial profiling“ is the subject of the Federal Government’s answer (19/19458) to a minor question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (19/17268). In it, the parliamentary group wrote that suspicion-independent checks carried out by the federal police had been criticised for years. „Human rights organisations and anti-racist initiatives accuse the Federal Police of making use of ‚racial profiling‘, i.e. the targeted control of people who appear suspicious to them on the basis of their appearance – for example, because of the colour of their skin, hair or religious symbol“.
Ranking of Press Freedom: Reporters Without Borders‘ Ranking of Press Freedom 2020 is the subject of a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/19530). Among other things, the questioners want to know what conclusions the Federal Government draws from the ranking on press freedom in general and from Germany’s performance in particular, and whether the Federal Government is planning measures to improve Germany’s performance in 2021. According to the ranking, Germany has improved by two places compared to the previous year and now ranks 11th. MEPs also ask what conclusions the German government draws from the ranking and the close-up of Germany’s current and future national and European legislative initiatives and from the analysis that press freedom is worst off in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They also want to know to what extent the German government shares Reporters Without Borders‘ concern that various legislative initiatives in Germany threaten to undermine the protection of informants and sources, and what the federal government’s current state of knowledge is regarding the clearance rate for cases of physical attacks on media professionals in Germany in 2019.
Covid-19 Impacts on the climate: The German government expects mostly no or only isolated delays in the implementation of the measures of the Climate Protection Programme 2030 due to the corona crisis. This is stated in a response of the Federal Government (19/19432) to a minor question of the parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (19/19083).
How the BMI paper came about: The scenario paper „How we get Covid-19 under control“, which was published in March of this year, is the subject of the Federal Government’s answer (19/19459) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (19/18426). The paper was then prepared by external scientists in March with the assistance of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs. According to the statement, „external experts from the relevant fields (including health care, crisis management, administration and business) contributed to its preparation“. According to the submission, the Ministry’s participation was „purely coordinating and editorial (preparation of a summary)“. As the Federal Government further explains, the internal paper was prepared with the aim of analysing different scenarios of the spread of the coronavirus at the time the paper was prepared – regardless of the probability of their occurrence. In addition to the continuously developed situation pictures and numerous reports and evaluations, according to the response, the scenario paper was also included in the discussion on how to deal with the corona epidemic in future. According to the Federal Government, the „characteristic feature of a scenario paper is that it compiles arguments, courses of action and their consequences, and aspects contributed by experts, without prejudging the decision of the adviser“.
Service life of electrical appliances: The parliamentary group Die Linke sees a need for action on the lifespan of electrical appliances. In a motion (19/19643), the parliamentary group demands a bill from the federal government in which, among other things, „minimum requirements for the durability of electrical appliances are to be formulated and the technical durability of electrical appliances is to be anchored“. Specifically, the parliamentary group demands ten years for refrigerators and washing machines, eight years for other kitchen machines, six years for IT, telecommunications and consumer electronics equipment and three years for mobile phones as „minimum usability periods“.
„In the last two years there has been a very high visibility of climate issues, and as a movement we were at the centre of a broad media discourse that we were able to help shape. Neither we nor other social movements have such a window of attention at the moment. This window has been extremely reduced by the Corona crisis and I fear that it will be completely closed with the economic crisis that will follow.“
Ruth Krohn, activist at the Klimacamp Leipziger Land, we should be able to deal with this as a movement. We have to see how we adapt our discourses to people so that we can continue to pick them up in their everyday life or in their reality – and at the moment it’s all about Corona and the consequences of the economic crisis. klimareporter.de
„Yes, the measures are partly ecological, but it could have been much more. The ecological boom is missing. It is more of an economic boom. In fact, the investments in the energy-efficient renovation of buildings in particular should have been increased. It would also have been desirable to speed up the expansion of renewable energies. We see in a recent study that both would have considerable employment effects for permanent and sustainable jobs. Although we are now moving in the right direction in some areas, the ecological worm is missing.“
Prof. Dr. Claudia Kemfert, German Institute for Economic Research, said that it would be a little problematic to try to reduce the EEG levy completely, because there would be difficulties in terms of state aid law if the EEG levy were to be paid entirely from the state budget. It would have been more efficient to finance only parts of this EEG levy, especially the exceptions for industrial privileges, from the state budget, and also to cushion this very strong increase in the EEG levy, which we would now receive, rather by increasing the exchange electricity price by introducing a minimum CO2 price. deutschlandfunk.de
Mekong’s running out of water: Cina is suffering from water shortage and is attacking the resources in the upper reaches of the Mekong. When fresh water becomes scarce in China, this has direct consequences for agriculture, industry and the energy sector. Experts see one reason for the water shortage in the huge dam projects that China has completed in recent decades. No other country has added so much hydroelectric capacity in the last 25 years. The Mekong River, which supplies 60 million people with water, food and energy, is particularly affected by the massive interventions. Last year, for example, northern Thailand experienced the worst droughts in 40 years. tagesspiegel.de.
CSR Benchmark 2020 – Sustainability gets more space: Climate protection and sustainability are clearly gaining momentum again in the media during the corona pandemic. The sustainable reconstruction of the economy and green economic stimulus packages are currently the focus of particular attention. While CSR communication by major German corporations mostly lagged behind the global sustainability trend last year, a lot has happened in the meantime – as the current CSR Benchmark 2020 by the Cologne-based consulting agency NetFederation GmbH shows. In the ranking for the best website communication on social responsibility, Metro AG takes first place, followed by Hochtief AG and Merck KGaA. net-federation.de
Cities are losing out to the rural areas: More and more people from cities with populations of over 100,000 are moving to the surrounding areas. In the meantime, the balance for the cities is negative. The reasons for this are rising rents and the scarce supply of housing. Nevertheless, the big cities are not losing their appeal. For young people and people from abroad, metropolises continue to be magnets. tagesschau.de
Gibraltar: No more petting monkeys because of COVID-19. tagesschau.de
Study: Smaller trees fuel climate change. focus.de
Corona in Africa: Due to a fragile and now collapsing labour market, poverty and hunger are increasing. zeit.de
Demeter – and aluminium hats: For weeks conspiracy theories around the corona virus could be found in a shop window of a Demeter store in Bamberg. The organic growers‘ association Demeter is said to have tolerated this for weeks. From 8 May until last Sunday, various pieces of paper with inscriptions such as „Corona is a production and the shutdown was unnecessary“ and „Forced inoculation? Chips in all people? Don’t give GATES a chance. Say no! The 99% Movement“. Already on May 8th, the Demeter headquarters is supposed to have been informed about it. Only two weeks later the company distanced itself from the statements. taz.de
Photo credits: All pictures unless otherwise stated. www.pixabay.com