FAIReconomics NewsletterWeek 27/2020 German Version
Kohleausstiegsgesetz ready: Last Thursday, several amendments to the coal phase-out law were edited by the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups. These amendments relate to the decisions made by the federal government last Wednesday, which are to be incorporated into the draft law. At its meeting last Wednesday, the federal government had passed the contracts with the lignite companies, which, in addition to 4.35 billion euros in compensation, also include the shutdown plan for the power plants. Next Wednesday – according to the plan – the Bundestag’s economic committee will give its final approval to the changes to the coal phase-out and structural strengthening laws, and on Friday the Bundestag will decide on them. Obviously, however, not all the details have been clarified, such as the question of how the coal-fired power plants are to be handled. After all, the coal-exempt is initially concerned with the closure of the dirtier lignite-fired power plants. Now the hard-coal-fired power plant operators, including some municipal utilities, feel they are at a disadvantage compared with the lignite-fired companies. One scenario would be that the maximum prices in the planned tenders are raised and the start of the hard coal shutdown is postponed by law from 2027 to 2031. bizz-energy.com , faz.net
Meat industry in focus: In view of the corona outbreak at the slaughterhouse Tönnies, EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Nicolas Schmit calls for more justice between foreign and domestic workers. In this context, he threatens Germany and other countries with a directive to enforce more justice. If necessary, he could also consider infringement proceedings. For the EU Commissioner, it is clear that if seasonal workers were covered by the EU Posting of Workers Directive: „Equal pay for equal work in the same place. However, Schmit has also recognised that the workers concerned are usually not posted at all, but employed by a domestic (sub-) company – „a questionable approach“. The EU Commission will soon publish guidelines on this issue. On Friday, CDU Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner, together with her counterparts from North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, Ursula Heinen-Esser and Barbara Otte-Kinast, had invited slaughterhouses, animal owners, food traders and animal welfare activists to a „meat summit“. Critics spoke of a pure show. Klöckner appealed to those responsible in the meat industry to remedy the deficiencies in production. There would be no second chance. The system is not crisis-proof. spiegel.de , dlf.de
126 billion kilowatt hours in the first half of the year – According to Eon, the record amount of green electricity from the first half of the year is mathematically sufficient for the power requirements of all households in Germany and the Netherlands.wind and sun have driven the production of green electricity in Germany to a half-year record. According to calculations by the energy company Eon, around 126 billion kilowatt hours of „green“ electricity were fed into the grid between January and June. That is seven percent more than in the same period last year. fr.de
Climate change offers more scope for implementation: Some call it mathematical finger exercises, others a glimmer of hope. According to a study, the EU has more leeway in its climate target than assumed. For example, it could achieve a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases over the next ten years, and even 65 percent could probably be achieved with considerable effort. In the so-called 55 percent technology scenario, the goal of minus 55 percent greenhouse gases in 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050 will be achieved by faster deployment of new technologies. Deeper changes in lifestyle would not be necessary. In the 55 percent burden sharing scenario, the reverse is true. Then social changes such as less flying, more car sharing or a healthier diet would have to be implemented. However, this would be the better scenario both for the health of EU citizens and for nature. In the 65 percent scenario, both approaches would have to be pursued. klimareporter.de
Germans are less worried about climate change: Unlike other people on earth, Germans are less worried about climate change than people in Chile, South Africa or Kenya, for example. 58 percent of Germans said they were worried. However, more than 90 percent of the respondents in the above countries stated that they take climate change extremely seriously. The global South has to cope with extreme weather events caused by climate change, which the authors of the study see as one of the reasons for the greater concerns. Not surprisingly, people in the US are less concerned about climate change, and surprisingly – and Sweden is not either. Around 10 percent are not worried about climate change at all. taz.de
The end for plastic cups: Whether plastic cutlery or disposable cups, the end seems near. The German government has initiated the implementation of the corresponding EU ban. „Many disposable products made of plastic are superfluous and not sustainable use of resources,“ said Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Far too often, plastics also end up in the environment or the oceans. Municipal waste experts, but also environmentalists are not entirely satisfied. Disposable plastics should not simply be replaced by disposable products made of other materials or, even worse, disposable products should not be declared „reusable“. handelsblatt.de , manager-magazin.de , bundestag.de (Original draft)
Bayer must pay and agrees with the majority of the plaintiffs: Monsanto – an expensive purchase for Bayer? At least the pharmaceutical and agrochemical group Bayer in the United States has reached an agreement with a majority of the plaintiffs in connection with the weed killer glyphosate, which is sold in the United States under the brand name „RoundUp“ and is held responsible for cancer. The Leverkusen-based company has $10.9 billion to put on the table for this settlement and future cases. This means that about three-quarters of the 125,000 lawsuits filed and pending are probably settled, although a U.S. district court in California still has to approve the deal. tagesschau.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
The Corona crisis is a wake-up call for humanity. It once again shows us the extreme vulnerability of our globally networked civilization. Its unsustainable compulsion for growth is increasingly becoming an existential risk for all of us. And yet we are still facing the greatest crisis of all: the climate and environmental catastrophe. However, if we procrastinate even longer with the overdue change in our economic and lifestyle habits, we will very quickly reach a point where no more aid programmes and rescue billions will help us. There is not much time left for this radical change. Already the next three decades will be the most dangerous in the entire history of mankind. In them, the climatic, ecological and social crises will mutually reinforce each other and multiply into an unprecedented crisis of civilisation and the environment. Then the global disintegration of our civilization threatens. But how could it come to this? What has brought humanity into this situation in historical retrospect? And what options do we have left now? This book of lateral thinkers gets to the bottom of these questions and breaks up old familiar patterns. Look forward to a radical change of perspective that will expand your consciousness. oekom.de
Masks: Recycling does not work. taz.net
Hambach Forest: Barricade removal by the police. tagesschau.de
Mothers earn less: …than women without children. bertelsmann-stiftung.de
Leopoldina Papier: What Germany must do for the climate during its EU Council Presidency. spiegel.de
Greens: New basic programme – End of the fossil age and more social justice. stern.de
Slightly increased radioactivity: origin in Russia suspected. n-tv.de
Solar lid: Finally falling. energyload.eu
The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving sustainability goals.
The waste pirates from India
Mobilising Community action is the most effective way of managing waste! That is what Katleen Schneider learned from the tiny island of Neil Island, an island even smaller than half of Frankfurt Airport in her native Germany. 17goalsmagazin.de
Bicycle offensive is stuck: The funds made available for the bicycle offensive as part of the 2019 climate package cannot be called up. The necessary administrative agreement with a total volume of 657.23 million euros is still being coordinated among the departments. The states have not yet been involved, let alone signed the agreement. Green MEP Stefan Gelbhaar criticised the lack of speed and stressed that Germany needed a better cycling infrastructure quickly – but apparently the Transport Minister had other priorities. „This is delaying numerous important bicycle traffic projects (…).“ rnd.de
How urban transport logistics can protect the climate: Rising traffic volumes in cities also mean more greenhouse gas emissions and increase the risk for road users to get into dangerous situations. It is therefore important to optimise urban logistics for the benefit of sustainable urban development. The Leibniz Institute for Spatial Social Research (IRS) surveyed more than 300 experts who are involved in urban development, logistics and mobility, either professionally or on a voluntary basis, to find out which concepts could actually improve things. Parallel to the survey, a pilot project was conducted in the Berlin Holzmarkt area and new methods for supply and disposal were tested. logistik-watchblog.de
Construction of charging infrastructure: The German government wants to implement the requirements of the EU Building Directive 2018/844 without changes in order to improve the charging and performance infrastructure without burdening the building owners with excessive costs. In its answer (19/19868) to a minor question from the FDP parliamentary group (19/19662), the Federal Government also refers to its support measures for energy-efficient and smart building. In addition, a support programme for the expansion of charging infrastructure in private and commercial existing and new buildings is planned. The funds for this are to be significantly increased as part of the current economic stimulus package.
Stagnation in inland waterway transport: According to the Federal Government, the results of the medium-term forecast in winter 2019/20, which was prepared on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) for the years 2020 to 2023, show „that a decline in hard coal sales is to be expected for inland waterway transport in 2020 and that coal transports on the federal waterways will decline“. On the other hand, an opposite effect is expected in the same amount for the transport of building materials, according to the government’s answer (19/19735) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/19474). Overall, stagnation (volume and output) is expected, which is also forecast for the years 2021 to 2023, the government announced. On the question of alternatives for inland waterway transport to the transport of coal, the answer states: „In the view of the Federal Government, container transport, the transport of building materials, chemical raw materials, secondary raw materials, waste, vehicles or products of the automotive industry, and large-volume and heavy goods transport are markets with development potential for inland waterway transport.
SPD: More orientation towards the welfare of the common good demanded of Deutsche Bahn. Social Democrats want to change the statutes. finanzen.net
Supply chains: Achilles‘ heel of the automotive industry. n-tv.de
E-mobility: Making the German battery market grow. emobilitaet.online
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
End-of-Life Vehicles Ordinance to be amended: The Federal Government wants to amend the End-of-Life Vehicles Ordinance. In the draft (19/20350) of the „Third Regulation to Amend the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulation“, it refers to new EU requirements for „regimes of extended producer responsibility“. According to the draft, the requirements that have not already been implemented by existing law are to be transposed into national law on a one-to-one basis. The Bundestag must approve the regulation in accordance with the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act. In addition to the extension of information obligations, the draft also provides for regulations on authorisation. According to the draft, this should enable manufacturers without a branch office in Germany to appoint an authorised representative established in Germany to carry out the manufacturer’s obligations.
Forest and wood in the climate balance: According to the Climate Protection Act, the sector of land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) will only be included in the previous year’s estimate of the German greenhouse gas balance from 2022 onwards. The Federal Government points this out in an answer (19/20182) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/19531). In this question, the MPs asked, among other things, to what extent the sectors „wood and „forestry“ have been included and considered in the 2019 climate balance.
Funds for energy research: Expenditure on energy research in 2020 will remain at the level of previous years. This is shown in the Federal Government’s answer (19/19791) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/19302). The Green members of parliament wanted to know whether the commitment appropriations in the energy research title, which are reduced from 2020 onwards, would lead to a decline in research projects. In this context, the Federal Government refers to the increased number of ongoing projects, which are secured by already existing commitment appropriations. In addition, the „agreed recalculation of commitment appropriations for project funding of energy research had purely budgetary reasons and is not associated with a reduction in funding“, as the funds for the real laboratories of the energy system transformation had been transferred to another budget title.
Programmes for energy-efficient construction: Access to the KfW-led promotional programmes for energy-efficient construction and renovation and the market incentive measures for renewable energies of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) has „developed very positively“ since the beginning of the year. This is the result of an answer given by the Federal Government (19/19790) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/19115). In some programmes, the number of applicants and licences already exceeded the previous year’s figures. According to the report, an annual CO2 saving of 272,801 tonnes could be achieved in 2020 through the replacement of heating systems, and a further 148,500 tonnes could be saved through renovation measures.
Effects of the Green Deal not yet foreseeable: From the point of view of the Federal Government, the effects of the „European Green Deal“ announced by the EU Commission cannot yet be presented. In an answer (19/20016) to a minor question by the AfD Group (19/19645), it points out that the full programme will probably not be available until next year. „A serious assessment of the economic and financial impact of the measures announced in the communication ‚The European Green Deal‘, including possible effects on the labour market and individual economic sectors, will only be possible after the overall package has been presented“, she continued.
End of cooperation with Myanmar: The end of bilateral development cooperation with Myanmar is the subject of a minor question (19/19971) by the FDP Group. Among other things, the MPs want to know whether the cessation was discussed in advance with the Myanmar government and whether the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) had previously consulted the Foreign Office. In addition, the Liberals are asking what time frame exit scenarios are planned for the ongoing projects in Myanmar.
Overweight with low social status: In Germany, people from low social status groups are significantly more frequently affected by obesity (severe overweight) than those from higher social status groups. Low levels of education were more often associated with insufficient health literacy and could have an unfavourable effect on obesity-related behaviour, according to the Federal Government’s answer (19/19923) to a minor question (19/19665) of the Green parliamentary group. In addition, a socially disadvantaged situation is often associated with psychosocial risk factors such as stress, which could favour obesity-enhancing behaviour. Study results confirmed that children and adolescents with a low socio-economic status were more likely than their peers from socially better-off families to eat unhealthy foods, exercise or exercise less often and to be more frequently overweight.
Germany is an economic and trading nation. Our export business secures hundreds of thousands of highly qualified jobs and unique know-how in a wide range of industries. Trade barriers can definitely do more harm than good. There must be fair access to both raw materials and markets worldwide.
Markus Reissner, CEO of Pyral AG, from the point of view of a recycling company, to prevent this with the help of trade barriers in the short term or even longer is rather short-sighted. The best example is currently the United States, where arbitrary customs duties are damaging the domestic economy to a much greater extent than the importing nations. fair-economics.de
At least mentally, the corona crisis is likely to be forgotten by some people. Because streets and shops are getting fuller again and the almost normal everyday life is coming back.
Volker Finnthammer, Deutschlandradiokultur, but unfortunately, despite all hopes, this is only an optical illusion. The deep cuts caused by the far-reaching standstill would only gradually become visible and the socio-political consequences could, despite all the rescue programmes, be even more serious than we had previously imagined…This would also decide how far-reaching and momentous the corona crisis would become. Germany would hardly be able to cope with a second nationwide lockdown, despite the good conditions so far. Like an uncontrolled virus, the resulting social and economic problems would increase exponentially. In this respect, there is every reason to stick to all precautionary measures and not to become lax. deutschlandfunk.de
COVID-19 hits African youth hard: Falling jobs and above all closed schools and universities darken the future of many young Africans, in the corona crisis. The assumption that online courses could replace them is a misconception, because access to the Internet is limited. „Millions of young people are affected. This is not about those who have smartphones and have access to the internet. The weaker groups in society are very much affected,“ says Alexander Schischlik of UNESCO. In addition, COVID-19 is causing enormous socio-economic collapses in countries. „The informal sector in particular has been hit hard by unemployment. The small jobs can no longer be financed.“ However, young entrepreneurs are contributing local solutions to the problems caused by Corona. dw.com
Recycling companies call for more consumer responsibility: The old textile companies fear the collapse of their systems. The increasing throw-away mentality is worrying the companies. „The previously free high-quality system of old textile recycling is on the verge of collapsing,“ says Martin Wittmann, Vice President of the Federal Association of Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management. „Fast fashion“, i.e. short-lived cheap fashion, and the burdens of the Corona crisis would make economic collection and recycling impossible. The collection volume has indeed increased, by about 300,000 tonnes between 2013 and 2018. However, the recyclers would not be able to benefit from this because the quality would have decreased significantly: Much of it is not recyclable or contains harmful chemical fibres. spiegel.de
Alpine glaciers have lost a sixth of their volume: The Alps have lost almost a sixth of their ice volume since the turn of the millennium (17 percent). More than 22 cubic kilometres of ice have melted, but only the figures up to 2014 are included; the real volume is likely to be much higher. From 2000 onwards, researchers have calculated a loss of mass in the glaciers of 1.3 gigatonnes per year. About half of the glaciers in the Swiss Alps are affected (minus 0.7 gigatonnes per year), the mass loss in the Italian and Austrian Alps is about 0.25 gigatonnes per year each, and 0.16 gigatonnes in the French Alps. standard.at
Bavarian hunters: want to do without lead ammunition. sueddeutsche.de
Disinvestment in Brazil: Investors from Norway and eight other countries have called on Brazil to stop clearing in the Amazon region. faz.net
Pop Up in the countryside: The future lies in greenery.faz.net
Investment strategy: What investors should know about hydrogen. n-tv.de
Hearing on North Stream 2 : The status and perspectives of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project are the subject of a public hearing in the Economic Committee on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The hearing will start at 9 a.m. in Room 4,900 of the Paul Löbe Haus and will last two hours. Interested parties can follow the hearing live on the Internet and on Parliament television. The recordings will be available in the media library. Experts are invited to attend: Michael Harms (Ost-Ausschuss – Osteuropaverein der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V.), Tanja Galander (PwC Legal Deutschland), Prof. Dr. Otto Luchterhandt (Ostinstitut/Wismar Institut für Recht, Wirtschaft und Handel im Ostseeraum e.V.), Dr. Timm Kehler (Zukunft ERDGAS e.V.), Dr. Kirsten Westphal (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), Dr. Volker Treier (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag e.V.) and Prof. Dr. Franziska Holz (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung e.V.)
Space tourism: Russia wants a piece of the pie when it comes to space tourism. As early as 2023, two private astronauts are to be taken on a short flight to the International Space Station, where one of them will be allowed to go on a space walk. That would be a first. The price for such a trip is not yet known, nor is the climate balance for such a trip. heise.de
Photo credits: All pictures unless otherwise stated. www.pixabay.com