FAIReconomics Newsletter Week 11/20 German version
Dispute in the GroKo kills solar expansion: Until now, the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has provided a cap on subsidies for solar energy systems. In Germany, this currently amounts to a total output of 52 gigawatts and will possibly be reached in early summer. Above the cap, no more subsidies will be paid and thus, according to the associations, would lead to a collapse in the expansion of photovoltaic systems. Even though the coalition government has agreed to remove the cap, things are currently stalling. The Union parties are blocking the lifting of the cap, even though a finished draft bill has been submitted by the Bundesrat. The Unionists want an overall package on coal exit and wind expansion. It would not be politically communicable that jobs would be lost in the solar industry in rows only because the grand coalition cannot reach an agreement on wind energy,“ the associations say. „The threatened end of solar subsidies is being misused by the CDU/CSU as a means of exerting pressure to enforce the wind gap against the opposition of the SPD. This is irrelevant and unacceptable“, said Gero Lücking, managing director of the energy industry at Lichtblick. Without the lifting of the cap, the federal government will clearly miss its goal of generating at least 65 percent of its electricity from renewable energies by 2030. Now comes a sign from the Chancellor, who apparently wants to push the expansion of wind and solar energy more strongly than previously planned. rnd.de , zdf.de , spiegel.de , n-tv.de
European offshore strategy to come in autumn: The EU has placed a lot of hope in offshore electricity production at sea. In 20 years, it could become the European Union’s most important energy source. By the year 2050, between 230 and 450 GW of wind would have to be produced offshore to meet the Green Deal’s targets; at present, only 22 GW are available in European waters. The EU Commission is now working on an offshore strategy to promote wind farms at sea. Germany is putting pressure and wants to develop regulations for international projects before the end of this year. euractiv.de
Rainforests can still store up to 30 percent less CO2 than in the 1990s. This is what researchers have determined. The development is faster than even the „most pessimistic climate models“ spiegel.de
Scientists contradict agricultural functionaries: Researchers are angry with the agricultural associations. They claim that science has reported false nitrate values to Brussels. This is refuted by Martin Bach, agricultural scientist and nutrient expert at the University of Giessen. The EU’s Nitrate and Water Framework Directives require that all groundwater bodies contain less than 50 milligrams of nitrate per liter. In their call for a demonstration, the farmers had accused the Federal Republic of Germany of putting its own farmers at a disadvantage compared to European competitors due to the high values. taz.de
People who live in big cities live shorter: The pollutants in the air of big cities make people there live three years shorter. On a global average, poor air shortens people’s life expectancy by almost three years, according to the study’s findings. Air pollution will lead to about 8.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2015. Wars and other violence shorten the average lifespan by only 0.3 years. spiegel.de
EU Commission presents climate law: Last Wednesday the EU Commission officially presented its first climate bill. The law provides for the European Union to become climate-neutral by 2050. For Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, this is not enough; she calls the law a „capitulation“. The draft law provides for the EU to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century and to achieve an increased target for 2030. But that has not yet been set. Even Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had to admit that it is a short-term proposal. tagesspiegel.de
Too much noise for millions of Europeans: The European Environment Agency (EEA) reports that some 113 million people in Europe would have to live permanently with road traffic noise levels above 55 decibels. This is equivalent to the permanent volume of rain, a fridge or a quiet conversation. Road traffic is the main source of noise pollution. 22 million are affected by unhealthy high noise levels from trains, four million from aircraft and one million from industrial noise. Continuous noise is responsible for 12,000 premature deaths and contributes to cognitive disorders in 12,500 children in Europe. zdf.de
BUCHTIPP DER WOCHE:
Cities without growth – a vision hardly imaginable so far. But climate change, waste of resources, growing social inequalities and many other threats to the future are fundamentally calling into question the current panacea of growth. How do we want to live together today and tomorrow? How do we create a good life for everyone in the city? While individual niches are already beginning to answer these questions, there is still a lack of comprehensive blueprints and transformation approaches that outline a fundamentally different, solidarity-based city. The Post-Growth City project dares to attempt this. In this book, conceptual and pragmatic aspects from various areas of urban policy are brought together to point out and link new paths. The contributions discuss urban growth crises, transformative planning and conflicts over shaping power. Last but not least, the question of the role of urban utopias is raised anew. This is intended to initiate a long-overdue debate on how necessary urban turnarounds can be achieved on the ground through socio-ecological reorientation. oekom.de
Attac verdict: German tax authorities waive the withdrawal of non-profit status, but only for other organizations.. taz.de
Nike: Try sustainability. wiwo.de
Climate balance called into question: Northstream 2 is expected to release more methane than long thought. klimareporter.de
Northrine-Westfalia: Operators of hard coal-fired power plants want to take legal action against coal phase-out law. faz.net
Norwegian State Fund: Demands more information from companies on sustainability risks. dlf.de
National Hydrogen Strategy: Disagreement about green and blue hydrogen. On 18. March in cabinet? zfk.de
Radioactive waste: Central storage planned in Würgassen. morgenpost.de
Digital technology: Use in forest protection. heise.de
Car manufacturers threatened with fines from the EU: The management consultancy Deloitte warns the car industry of high penalties for exceeding the CO2 limits. The C02 fleet limits could only be met by selling more e-cars. deloitte.com
Software updates for diesel vehicles: Of the 5.3 million diesel vehicles originally registered with the National Forum Diesel (NFD) and the 1 million additional vehicles subsequently registered, 5.3 million have been converted so far according to the German government. Of these, about 2.9 million vehicles have been converted within the framework of a mandatory recall, according to the government’s answer (19/17390) to a minor question from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/16651). The effectiveness of software updates to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions has been investigated in detail by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) and a report on the effectiveness of software updates was published on 10 January 2020, it continues. The report shows „that the implementation of software updates leads to a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions“. The software updates as part of the voluntary service measures would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in real operation by around 59 percent for the vehicles concerned. For vehicles subject to mandatory recalls, the software improvements will lead to a reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions of around 41 percent in real operation, according to the response.
Toll investigation committee: Before the 2nd investigation committee („car toll“), a witness criticized the conditions in the Federal Ministry of Transport. „I got to know decision-making structures in the Federal Ministry of Transportation in which I did not want to continue working“, Joachim Leitner said in the meeting last Thursday. „Our technical work was dominated by political guidelines,“ explained the lawyer and transport engineer, who worked as a consultant in the Ministry of Transport from September 2015 to April 2017 and was a member of the project group preparing the car toll. He now works at the Federal Environment Agency. In his opening statement at the meeting chaired by chairman Udo Schiefner (SPD), Leitner already stated that he reproached himself today for his role in the Ministry. „I was never commissioned to review the legal opinion of the Federal Government“, he stressed during the interrogation. „I was assigned to represent them.“ When answering parliamentary questions and writing speech notes, he had to work with predetermined text modules. For example, the „genuine change of system“ and the question of justice had always been emphasised. „One had to carry out instructions. They were such that I could provide little or no specialist input,“ the witness continued. vergabeblog.de
Wi-Fi on German trains: According to the German government, 94.5 percent of the rail network in Germany is equipped with LTE/4G. This can be seen from the answer (19/17189) to a minor question from the FDP parliamentary group (19/16872). In its answer, the government refers to data from the Federal Broadband Atlas (data status mid-2019). According to information from Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), free WLAN access was available in 2019 for 23.3 percent of the passenger kilometres travelled by DB Regio AG, it continues. 100 percent of the 295 ICE trains in long-distance traffic had free WLAN access in 1st and 2nd class in 2019. „In 2019, the ICE trains accounted for around 73 percent of DB Fernverkehr’s total passenger-kilometre performance,“ the government writes. The technical availability of the WLAN system was well over 97 percent on average in 2019, the reply states. In response to the question of whether the mobile network operators have fulfilled their obligation to achieve full mobile coverage on the ICE tracks by 31 December 2019, the German government states: „According to the mobile network operators, the main transport routes (motorways and ICE tracks) were not yet fully covered by the end of 2019. The mobile network operators had justified delays with external influences, such as a lack of willingness to rent out potential sites, lack of building permits, as well as monument, nature and environmental protection. „In addition, the mobile network operators refer to different legal views on the content of the coverage obligation, which are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings,“ the response states. The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway is currently examining the information provided by the mobile network operators, the government writes.
Mobility Center in Munich: Federal Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) is planning a „German Center for Future Mobility“ in Munich. Scheuer estimated the total volume at 500 million euros. He spoke of a project that is unique in Europe and perhaps even worldwide. On the basis of new technologies, answers were to be found to the question of „how people will want to move around in the future and how goods will be transported“, said Scheuer. The money for this is to come from the federal budget. Munich’s Lord Mayor Reiter does not know the plans of the Federal Minister of Transport. rnd.de
E-mobility is putting an end to natural gas cars: The wave of battery electric drives has rolled in. At the same time, an alternative drive seems to be nearing its end, if the plans of the VW Group are anything to go by. nzz.ch
Netherlands and Norway: Best prepared for e-mobility in Europe. elektroautos-news.net
BMW needs support: The Munich-based carmaker depends on the IG Metall trade union for its conversion to e-mobility. automobil-produktion.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Expansion of offshore energy: By 2030, the German government wants to achieve the expansion target of 20 GW of installed offshore wind turbines. This is what it writes in an answer (19/17337) to a small question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/16871). So far, the expansion target has been 15 GW, but the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Wind Energy at Sea Act in the first half of 2020 will stipulate the increase. It is important to connect the turbines with high-capacity submarine cables, which should provide a transmission capacity of 2,000 MW per connection system in the North Sea by the end of the decade. The collective connection using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission and a converter platform can also save cables and thus reduce the impact on nature. According to the German government, the increased capacity of the connection systems can halve the number of cables required for the expansion. A number of key projects have been implemented or are in the final stages of planning for the expansion of the onshore grid.
Marine biodiversity at risk: Marine biodiversity in the North and Baltic Seas has come under increasing pressure in recent years. A joint strategy is therefore needed that takes nature conservation, climate change and social consequences into account simultaneously. This was the consensus of the invited experts at a public technical discussion of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on Wednesday morning. „The consequences of the climate crisis, plastic waste and destruction by fishing have put the oceans in an unprecedented situation,“ said expert Thilo Maack (Greenpeace Germany). He pointed out that 2020 should be a crucial year for marine protection. However, the goals defined for 2020, namely to place at least ten percent of the oceans under protection and to achieve a „good environmental status“, would not be achieved. 96 percent of the waters are not in a good condition, and of 32 fish species studied in the North Sea, only nine are in a good condition. It is therefore important to regulate the negative factors in such a way that the current status does not deteriorate further. Fisheries were of particular importance in the implementation process. Edmund Maser from the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Sciences in Kiel referred to the ecological risks posed by dumped war ammunition: „It is a worldwide problem, but the German coasts are particularly affected by the First and Second World Wars,“ said Maser. Some 70 years after the end of the war, some of the 1.6 million tons of war ammunition are beginning to rust through. Unnecessary detonations of the ammunition would produce „chunks the size of a football or basketball“, which would cause pollutants to be further distributed on the sea floor and could lead to a much higher input into marine food webs, said Maser. Substances have already been detected in codfish and the bile of flatfish, but there is still a lack of data for a reliable toxicological risk assessment, the expert said. Anne Böhnke-Henrichs (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V.) emphasised in her statement that marine biodiversity and the climate crisis belong together. One of the major problems for biodiversity is bottom trawling, which destroys living creatures and maritime communities.
Controversial building energetics: The experts unanimously welcomed the fact that the Federal Government intends to bundle the specifications for building energetics in a law. However, the draft (19/16716) for the new law on the standardisation of energy-saving legislation for buildings (GEG) meets with numerous objections. This became apparent at an expert hearing in the Committee for Economics and Energy under the leadership of Klaus Ernst (Die Linke). The GEG is to merge the Energy Saving Act, the Energy Saving Ordinance and the Renewable Energies Heat Act.
Maria Hill of the Central Real Estate Committee pleaded for no changes to be made to the draft law with regard to the energy requirements for new and existing buildings. This also applies to the principle of economic efficiency. Observance of the principle of economic efficiency would make a significant contribution to maintaining and strengthening the acceptance of the energy and heating revolution among the population. In order to enable the turnaround in the building stock in a socially acceptable manner, additional subsidies are required. These should account for a relevant proportion of the energy-related cost shares in the buildings.
Michel Durieux criticised on behalf of the Central Association of German Craftsmen that the draft law would not achieve the intended purpose of reducing bureaucracy and simplifying regulatory law. He said that it contained considerably more paragraphs than the sum of the individual regulations. Only a comprehensible law could be adequately conveyed in training courses to those who had to apply the law. A simplification must be with the further revision highest goal. bundestag.de
Revision of the Fertilizer Ordinance: A regulation to amend the Fertilizer Ordinance is currently being prepared and is to be completed rapidly in order to fully implement the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of 21 June 2018. The Federal Government is therefore in close contact with the EU Commission, according to an answer (19/17388) to a minor question (19/16798) from the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. It further states that in a further step, the EU Commission must assess whether the implementation of the judgment has been completed in time and in content. If this is not the case, an order to bring an action and a complaint to the ECJ in the second round of proceedings can be expected. In 2016, an EU infringement proceeding had been initiated against the Federal Republic of Germany at the European Court of Justice for failure to comply with the Nitrate Directive. These proceedings ended in July 2018 with the conviction of Germany.
Maritime transport and emissions: According to the German government, maritime and rail transport cause lower greenhouse gas emissions than other modes of transport in the international movement of goods. This is stated in the government’s answer (19/17169) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/16904). The answer goes on to say that technical and operational measures are always necessary to reduce greenhouse gases. The Marine Environment Committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had defined an emission reduction path with the agreement of the 174 member states of the IMO. This is in line with the objectives of the Paris Climate Convention. „The development of suitable and result-oriented measures for implementing the initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping is the current focus of the Federal Government’s activities in this area,“ the response states. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping as a whole is necessary to achieve the climate protection goals adopted by the international community in the Paris Agreement. „A possible extension of European emissions trading to the shipping sector would first have to be analysed with regard to the concrete emission reductions that can be achieved with it, as well as sufficient incentives to use low-carbon and carbon-free fuels in the medium and long term and the overall advantages and disadvantages associated with this,“ writes the German government.
Cooperation with tree planting initiative: The cooperation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with the „Plant-for-the-Planet“ initiative, which aims to motivate people worldwide to plant trees, is of interest to the AfD parliamentary group in a brief question (19/17261). The members of parliament want to know with what financial resources the BMZ has supported the initiative since 2011 and in what way other departments of the Federal Government cooperate with it. They also ask how the Federal Government views the allegations that the initiative has disseminated incorrect data on tree plantations „to a relevant extent“. The questioners refer to their own newspaper research.
There is no other human activity that produces such high emissions in such a short time as a long-distance journey. But I don’t like this black-and-white drawing. I am not saying: Now we cannot travel at all. The question is whether we can travel differently and what we expect from travel. At the moment we are travelling more and more frequently and further and further. We need a change in trend.
Stephan Gössling, Professor of Sustainability at Lund University, the low-cost airlines also suggested to us that it was possible to fly at prices lower than the cost of fuel. It is, after all, induced traffic. If you had to pay a normal price for such flights, they would not take place. Demand is created here through subsidies. We are talking about prices that sometimes only represent a third of the real operating costs. If it is very cheap, we simply fly a lot. sueddeutsche.de
Another problem is the plastic waste. All regions of the world’s oceans are affected by microplastics. Even in the deep sea plastic can be found. On Helgoland the gannets are already building their nests out of plastic threads. It remains a major threat to marine life and seabirds.
Antje Boetius, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, said that there are a number of endangered species that are on the Red List. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation would estimate that one third of the marine life in the North and Baltic Seas is currently threatened. In twenty years without change there would be a further deterioration of the environmental status. The species composition would shift significantly. There would be an enormous immigration of invasive animals and plants. Already, two to three new species migrate every year. Of course, all this would also have consequences for humans. If we lose certain species from the ecosystem, the whole food web would change. Especially if the predators were missing, like big fish or porpoises. In addition, algae plague could spread due to warming and unfavourable nutrient input. This would be fatal for the people who live on the coasts, as they are increasingly dependent on tourism. Tourism would be better if the seas were healthier. Strong storms also change the coastal landscapes and could affect the lives of the inhabitants. tagesspiegel.de
Large, wind-driven ocean currents are shifting polewards: The shifting of the so-called ocean eddies is shown by the analysis of data series from the past forty years. The large, wind-driven flow systems of the oceans have shifted towards the pole at high speed over the past 40 years. From the data sets, conclusions can be drawn about the course of the large-scale surface currents. According to these data, in both the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth, the boundaries of the so-called ocean eddies and their important marginal currents are shifting towards the pole by 800 metres per year. This shift of gigantic water masses is driven mainly by global warming. The consequences of this change are felt by humans and nature, the researchers report: Among other things, the sea level is rising in the affected regions, species are migrating and storm areas are moving in new directions. awi.de
Far away in Germany – New Work: Employers are the main reason why the old structures and patterns of action are still in place. Only every fifth employee has the possibility to work mobile. However, every second would like to work in a time and space flexible way. zukunftderarbeit.de
How psychology can help in the environmental and climate crisis: It is normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed by climate change. The psychologist Renée Lertzman describes that it worries most people, regardless of their political affiliation. However, these feelings do not have to paralyse or antagonise us, but can be transformed into something productive. But this requires psychological skill.. ted.com
Development Minister Müller: Stronger fight against locust infestation in Africa urged. dw.com
Proper nutrition: Butter is the enemy of the climate. spiegel.de
Small beer bottles: A pool for 0.33-litre longneck bottles is to be maintained by a joint venture in future. welt.de
Discarding rotor blades: Fraunhofer Institute researches recycling. spektrum.de
Fake News – Facebook plays a big role: Facebook plays an important role in the distribution of Fame News. Among researchers, this social medium is considered a „key factor“ for disinformation. In general, however, the consumption of less trustworthy websites does not exclude the consumption of legitimate news sites. Similar to propaganda, the effect of highly distorting content is an „interplay of characteristics of the message and receptivity factors of the audience“. More exciting, however, is the open question of „why voters are attracted to such content“ and what motivates them to spend their lives electing „less democratic or populist actors“. heise.de
Alle scourses – pixabay.com