FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 25/ 2020                                       german edition

hydrogen-trainset-4276984_640 FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 25/ 2020   Newsletter

Hydrogen strategy passed: Last week the cabinet adopted the hydrogen strategy, with the aim that hydrogen produced by wind and sun should replace coal, gas and oil in the future. Germany should become „number one in the world“ in the technologies required for this, said Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU). According to the minister, the subsidies amount to a total of nine billion euros. Even though hydrogen (chemical symbol: H) is abundant in nature, it is mostly found in bound form. For use as an energy carrier, hydrogen should be emission-free and therefore be obtained from renewable energies. Altmaier predicted a „quantum leap“ in energy supply. He said that hydrogen is a „key raw material“ that can be produced without CO2 emissions and without the exploitation of raw materials. He said that the economic stimulus package decided on last week included for the first time „considerable financial means“ to promote hydrogen production and use, namely seven billion euros. A further two billion euros are to go to international partnerships. By 2030, production plants with a total capacity of up to five gigawatts are to be built, including the necessary wind turbines, and by 2040 plants of up to ten gigawatts.  Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) expects that the national hydrogen strategy will give Germany a „double boost“ – for climate protection and the sustainable recovery of the economy after the corona crisis. Green hydrogen could, for example, help to promote climate protection in the steel industry or in air traffic. afp.com Originaldokument

Gas guzzlers are expected to pay higher taxes: From 2021 on, new cars with high fuel consumption will have to pay higher taxes. The federal cabinet has introduced a change in the law for more climate protection, which is intended to encourage citizens to buy more economical cars. However, cars already registered will not be affected. According to the plans of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), not much will change for typical small cars and family cars, but for large and heavy SUVs the situation will be different. Environmentalists believe that little will change in the future. berliner-zeitung.de

In 2019, nitrogen dioxide limits were exceeded in 25 cities in Germany, a significant decrease. Last year the limit was still exceeded in 57 cities. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the reasons for the decrease are local measures such as speed limits, driving bans or the use of less polluting buses, but also nationwide measures such as software updates, the renewal of the vehicle fleet or meteorological influences that influence the spread of air pollutants. umweltbundesamt.de

Corona crisis has made our lives more sustainable: Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) sees opportunities for more environmental awareness and sustainability after the pandemic. Whether home office or online commerce.  Svenja Schulze (SPD) believes that German citizens can learn a lot from this – and for the sake of the environment they can keep it. „Nobody wants life to stay the way it was during the pandemic in the long run“, but digitization at work could reduce commuting and business trips – this would also increase the quality of life. An initial interim assessment shows that where contact restrictions apply, a lot has shifted to the Internet. This has led to a reduction in traffic and an increase in energy consumption. On the other hand, fear of contagion led to an increase in car traffic instead of using buses and trains. It is still too early to say what the bottom line of the crisis months is for the environmental balance, said Schulze.  focus.de , heise.de 

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Global investment in renewable energies is stagnating: Last year, 282 billion US dollars were invested in renewable energies, one percent more than in the previous year. Compared to 2017, however, this represents a decline of ten percent. The money factor does not always play a role here. At the end of 2019, for example, the cost of installing photovoltaic systems was 83 percent lower than ten years earlier. This meant that more capacity could be installed with less money. Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain ranked among the top countries for European investments. Germany came fourth with 4.4 billion US dollars. This is a 30 percent decline on the previous year. „The fact that the investment volume in Germany (…) has fallen significantly is a clear result of a restrictive policy of the Grand Coalition,“ says Hans-Josef Fell, head of the Energy Watch Group think tan.. klimareporter.de

Requirements for the German EU Council Presidency: „Making the EU fit for the future“ is the title of the paper, thus naming the task that the many millions of members of the associations are giving the German government. A broad alliance with its umbrella organisation, the Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), is calling, among other things, for a fundamental reorientation of environmentally harmful agricultural policy, a genuine change in transport policy and at least compliance with the internationally agreed climate targets.. fr.dednr.de (original document)

Municipalities and companies must adapt more strongly to climate change: It is no longer possible to postpone expenditure on precautionary measures against climate change, because local authorities and companies are already threatened by it. Droughts require more irrigation of fields. More parks and gardens must be created to counter rising temperatures in cities, and buildings must be protected from the effects of heavy rainfall.  The urgency of the situation can be seen from the applications received by the responsible Federal Environment Ministry, which promotes precautionary projects.  spiegel.de

WEEKLY BOOKTIP:

Buchcover_newsletter FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 25/ 2020   Newsletter Über Leben in planetarischen Grenzen – Plädoyer für eine nachhaltige Entwicklungspolitik.
Will the transformation to sustainability succeed? Do conflicts, disasters, climate change or pandemics promote this agenda? What room for manoeuvre does politics have in the web of conflicting interests? Development policy becomes the focus of such questions. Originally an epitome of Western thinking on superiority, it wants to be more than „help for the underdeveloped“ in the future: Policy for sustainable development worldwide.  The essay examines its competence for transformation, looks at the long history of criticism of development policy and questions what seems to be unquestionably valid so far. This book is a knowledgeable, far-sighted and surprisingly humorous plea for a new way of thinking and acting, for the profound cultural change we need now. oekom.de

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Lithium-ion accumulators: Recycling will be an enormous challenge. spektrum.de
Corona Effect: Recent measurements showed that the Corona Effelt fizzles out. faz.net
Left-turning wind turbines: Deliver 23 percent more energy. tagsspiegel.de
Criticism: Draft legislation against housing shortage is heavily criticised. afp.com
Decline: Subsidies for the construction of social housing decline. haufe.de
NorthStream 2: 150 kilometres still missing. wiwo.de
Lithium production: Could soon be produced in Germany. welt.de

seventeen-goals--150x150 FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 25/ 2020   Newsletter

The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving sustainability goals.

Plastic Bank promotes recycling in developing countries

The Plastic Bank of founder David Katz gives poor people a new perspective: they contribute to the fact that less plastic ends up in the sea. 17goalsmagazin.de

MOBILITY:

Clear Lacquer against viruses in trams: People avoid public transport for fear of infection with the COVID-19 virus. Essen’s Ruhrbahn has applied a special varnish to the grab handles in trams and buses. When light hits the paint, the viruses are supposed to be destroyed automatically. The company wants to give its customers a feeling of security in this way. tagesschau.de.

Daimler must call-back cars:  The Federal Motor Transport Authority has extended an already existing recall: Daimler must recall 170,000 more cars. Older models of the Mercedes-Benz A-, B-, C-, E- and S-Class are affected. rnd.de

The real winners electric mobility: Hybrid cars are not necessarily what you would call purely electric cars, so the winners of the state subsidies will mainly be models from abroad. German suppliers Because manufacturers like Renault and Nissan are currently starting a price war with the German manufacturers will not be able to keep up: Nissan, for example, is currently waiving VAT for its customers, while Renault is increasing its electric bonus so much that the Zoe with a rented battery will be available for under 12,000 euros in the future. In any case, foreign manufacturers are already the first port of call for German car customers when it comes to battery power. The sales share of purely electric vehicles in 2020 was 15.1 percent for Renault, 8.7 percent for Nissan and 7.0 percent for Hyundai.  welt.de

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Railway’s freight transport service is to grow: The new CEO of Deutsche Bahn Cargo, Sigrid Nikutta, wants to invest aggressively. zeit.de

German Centre for Mobility of the Future: With the German Centre for Mobility of the Future, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) intends to create a place „where the mobility of tomorrow will be rethought and developed“. This is stated in the Federal Government’s answer (19/19278) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/18787). The centre is to find answers to how people can move around and how goods can be transported on the basis of new technological possibilities, the government writes. The German Centre Mobility of the Future should create the necessary freedom „to think creatively, thinking outside the box, interdisciplinarily and innovatively to conceive (think tank), develop (development centres) and directly test in practice (practice campus) future-oriented mobility concepts“. According to the proposal, the scientific connection is to be established through cooperation with universities and non-university research institutions. Close cooperation with industry will be established through joint research and innovation projects, which will lead to application-oriented development activities that will be tested up to market maturity and support the establishment of new companies. Facilities and institutions at other locations in Germany would in future be part of this broad cooperation, the company added. Development priorities include hydrogen technologies, synthetic fuels, innovative logistics concepts, and above all digital, platform-based mobility concepts. When asked about the selection of Munich as a location, the government stated: „There is no procedure relevant to public procurement law for determining the location or any obligation to carry out a competitive procedure. The immediate proximity to the digital test field along the A 9 federal motorway and to the International Motor Show were factors in favour of the Munich Metropolitan Region as the location of the headquarters of the German Centre Mobility of the Future, it continues.

LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:

Coal compromise and inland waterway transport: „Coal transport in inland waterway transport and the consequences of the coal compromise“ is the title of a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/19474). The expected slump in coal transport will have a lasting negative impact on inland waterway transport, write the MEPs in the question. Among other things, they want to know from the Federal Government whether inland waterway transport will be taken into account in the support programmes with a special focus on suppliers to the coal industry. The Liberals are also interested in what alternatives the Federal Government believes there are for inland navigation to transporting coal.

Climate protection measures in local public transport: The FDP parliamentary group is interested in the promotion of municipal climate protection measures in local public transport (ÖPNV). In a minor question (19/19479), the Liberals ask the Federal Government, among other things, how the government intends to ensure „that the Länder do not, in view of the planned extension of the catalogue of subsidies under the amendment to the Municipal Transport Financing Act (GVFG) and the significant increase in financial subsidies, withdraw from their responsibility, because the Federal Government can now finance to a large extent also those projects which previously could be financed by the Länder alone“.

graffiti-3644132_640 FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 25/ 2020   Newsletter
Contamination in old textiles: The Federal Government does not have its own statistical surveys on the proportion, types and quantities of foreign and interfering materials in old textile collections. Only figures from the Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Disposal for the year 2013 are known, according to the Federal Government’s answer (19/19699) to a minor question (19/19345) from the FDP parliamentary group. In it, the members of parliament had asked who the waste belonged to and who would have to pay for the disposal of foreign materials. In principle, the producer or the owner of the waste was responsible for its recovery or disposal. Since the producer of the waste can usually no longer be identified, „first the collector of old textiles“ is made responsible, writes the Federal Government. The costs incurred are „merely one of several cost factors for the collectors“, and are not seen as a double burden, it continues.
Illegal pet trade: The extent of the illegal trade with dogs and cats is not known to the federal government. This is clear from the answer (19/19390) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/18974). Among other things, the questioners wanted to know how many animals were seized on importation into Germany without proof of origin and without vaccination, and how many proceedings were initiated as a result. According to the Federal Government, the relevant competences lie with the Länder, so that very little information is available at federal level. An estimate of the extent of the puppy trade could also not be given. The animal trade on the Internet is a complex challenge, as the enforcement authorities are often unable to keep track of the many offers and breeders. This was the result of an EU monitoring study, in which the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture also participated. In addition, puppies are sold too young or sick, not vaccinated or dewormed, or sold with false documents. In order to improve animal protection, the Federal Government wants to change the Animal Protection Dog Ordinance, the Bundesrat is to vote on it at the end of 2020. Planned are show bans for breeds with torture breeding characteristics and new requirements for German dog breeders to „take into account the socialization requirements of the puppies“.
Animal experiments in Germany: The number of animals killed for scientific purposes has been declining since 2014. This is the result of an answer by the Federal Government (19/19540) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (19/18852). In 2018, 138,677 animals did not regain consciousness from experiments conducted under general anaesthesia (2014: 271,881). In addition, 686,352 animals were killed without prior intervention or treatment (2014: 819,094). With the exception of 2017, the figures were below those of the previous year. According to the Federal Government, many animals are used in the production and quality control of medical devices or for toxicological safety tests. The most common laboratory animals include mice, rats and rabbits, followed by various species of fish. All uses taken together, 3,288 monkeys were used in 2018; five animals did not survive the experiments. Animal experiments may only be carried out if there are no alternative methods and if it is essential for the purpose of the research, the answer goes on to say. The relevant applications will be examined and, if necessary, approved by the Länder. The Federal Government attaches particular importance to „replacing animal experiments with alternative methods as quickly as possible“, which is why there are various scientific funding programmes.

TAKEN LITERALLY

„If we had a supply chain law, for example, then a company that sells coffee here would actually have to analyze, is there a risk of children working in this supply chain from which I get my coffee. So they would have to take action themselves, and if they actually see such a risk or perhaps even find children in advance, they would have to take action. They have to make the whole thing transparent and also report it.“

Barbara Küppers from the children’s charity Terre des Hommes, (company) had to make a risk analysis and then take appropriate measures – appropriate is an important word in this law – and they had to make it transparent and document that this is comprehensible. This would, so to speak, reverse the burden of proof. It was very controversial whether this law would contain actual liability. Theoretically, this would mean that a girl from Ethiopia could at some point sue for compensation. deutschlandfunk.de

A bicycle tyre whose abrasion ends up in the environment is an example of a biological cycle of a product that is consumed. According to Cradle to Cradle, a bicycle tyre must be designed so that its material is biodegradable and can become a nutrient for something else. On the other hand, in the case of a product that is used and not consumed, it is again important that all materials can be separated and reused – that is the technical cycle. You have to document exactly where you use which material. This is how products can become material banks, raw materials.

Nora Griefahn, head of the NGO Cradle to Cradle, we absolutely need large companies. Otherwise, not much will change. Doing Cradle to Cradle right is not easy. You have to manufacture a product that has good water management, fulfils social conditions and goes back into the cycle. This would not work as greenwashing. What you can chalk up to C&A is that they don’t produce the rest of it this way. But they have to start somewhere. enorm-magazin.de

MORE KNOWLEDGE

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How Instagram destroys landscapes: Again and again Instagramer post photos of natural landscapes on their accounts. Like Yvonne Pferrer, for example, lying in a bikini on a mountain ledge filled with water. „Natural Pool“ is the title of the picture. The photo not only received 80,000 Likes, but there is a flip side to the coin. Nature must increasingly be protected from the media attention of people. Last year, for example, a location shown in a video clip of Justin Bieber had to be closed in Iceland because of the huge rush. bento.de

Work of the future: Almost all past industrialization steps were solved by reducing the standard working hours and by a new distribution of work and income. Through digitalisation we will need this means to realise this for the future. It makes no difference whether these means are called unemployment benefits, short-time work or basic income. One thing will not happen: The working time lost to machines will never return. derstandard.at

Early green can intensify drought: „Winter has passed I see the meien shine“, says an old German folk song. But plants and trees are sprouting their flowers and leaves earlier and earlier. Doc the early green can have negative consequences.  A lot of water is withdrawn from the soil and it is possible that this will cause a drought later in the summer.n-tv.de

Internet: The EU wants a climate neutral internet. heise.de  
Namibia: Is the apology for the genocide coming? dw.com
Rainforest: Brazil is cutting down more rainforest while the world looks away. welt.de
Great Barrier Reef: Recovery may be impossible. deutschlandfunk.de

THE LAST:

Spider genus named after environmental activist: „Thunberga greta“ means a species of risen spider. The researcher who discovered this species wanted to draw attention to climate change. Five species of giant crab spiders native to Madagascar are now grouped together under the name Thunberga. Giant crab spiders are known as active hunting spiders that do not build any nets. zeit.de

German version

Photo credits: All pictures unless otherwise stated. www.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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