Morning Briefing: The Schmu with the Tree Planting

A year ago, the wave of outrage about Corona was great: too few good tests, no vaccine. Other countries did better. Now everything is there, the shortage is no longer a shortage, but Germany is once again living in a state of frustrating debates: Too many do not want to be vaccinated – the risk is growing that beds in the intensive care units will become scarce due to the increasing number of new infections.

According to the Union’s plans, a prime ministerial conference on Wednesday next week will discuss more details. In view of the disagreement between the CDU / CSU and the SPD on such issues, the committee threatens – as before – to become a political showman event. When it comes to vaccination skepticism, George Orwell recommends: “Freedom is the right to tell others what they do not want to hear.”

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It’s been a year since the German media group Bertelsmann announced a top-class book deal under CEO Thomas Rabe: His subsidiary Penguin Random House will take over the Simon & Schuster publishing house for around 2.2 billion dollars – and thus strengthen its own position as a world market leader.

The US Department of Justice is currently responsible for the setback. It is suing the takeover in federal court in Washington. The government of Joe Biden sees damage to the authors, since the Germans controlled two thirds of the rights acquisition market after the acquisition. The ministry’s complaint stated that Bertelsmann had officially declared that a strong counterweight to Amazon was needed – but in reality a manager had assured that the argument did not count. Rather, they want to be the preferred partner for Jeff Bezos’ company. Monopoly, yes or no: there is still a lot to be clarified.

Plant trees against climate change

For corporations that blow pollutants into the world, there is so far an easy way out. You plant trees somewhere on earth. Such “compensation” is intended to help save the world climate. But clean man’s trick no longer works, our report suggests. The Amsterdam law professor Clemens Kaupa and his students successfully sued the Dutch advertising commission against the oil company and trees multi-shell. The Shell sentence: “Make a difference, drive CO2 neutral” is misleading.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe considers the campaign to be brazen “greenwashing” and is examining whether it can tackle it in Germany. At the World Climate Conference in Glasgow there is currently a discussion about what will become of the “compensation” instrument. Recently, 41 international researchers warned urgently about the “myths” of CO2 offsetting.

Usually the good news for retirees comes before the general election. This year they come after the polls: Around 21 million retirees can look forward to more money. In western Germany there is 5.2 percent more, in the east 5.9 percent more. The reason lies in the increase in premium income and the wage level.

But such an increase in social spending could overwhelm public budgets and citizens in the future. The contributions to social security (pension, unemployment, illness, care) will increase from currently almost 40 percent to 43.2 percent by 2025 – this is predicted by the economists Martin Werding (University of Bochum) and Thiess Büttner (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg). By 2030 there is even a 45 percent threat.

According to the researchers, tax subsidies would also have to rise in order to meet the benefit commitments, from 144 billion euros a year to 179 billion euros. Conclusion: Somehow the bills don’t work out, and someone would have to tell the pensioners, who are also voters, one day.

Gas power plants are currently still indispensable for a smooth energy supply.

(Photo: mauritius images)

When it comes to the energy transition, Germany is an international role model because of the many wind turbines and solar systems. Unfortunately, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun sometimes stays hidden behind dark clouds – which raises the question of basic security. Money? Shut down soon. Atom? Turned off even faster.

In this situation, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) present a study with an explosive effect. It comes to the conclusion that in Germany “a net expansion of 43 gigawatt gas-fired power plants by 2030 to maintain security of supply while at the same time adhering to the emissions budget” is necessary.

The proposed expansion corresponds to the output of 43 nuclear power plants or 43 large coal-fired power plant blocks. Conclusion of the longtime Green politician Kerstin Andreae, general manager of the energy industry association BDEW: “It will not work without new gas-fired power plants.”

The industry’s plans for more gas play into the cards of European gas king Vladimir Putin, his monopoly Gazprom and his Nordstream projects. I remember how the Russian President once commented on German energy policy years ago. Namely with a question: “What do Germans actually want to use for heating?”

And then there is the fallen soccer high priest Sepp Blatter, once a well-known figure as president of the world professional association Fifa, which is permanently suspected of corruption. Together with ex-player star and functionary Michel Platini, he is now being charged with fraud by the federal prosecutor’s office in his home country Switzerland.

Fifa is said to have wrongly paid the French two million Swiss francs. The evidence gathered had “confirmed the suspicion that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis,” explains the authority. Fifa was said to have been “damaged in assets and unlawfully enriched Platini” by the payment. The two failed administrators of the football world heritage have always rejected all allegations. The best saying on the subject came from the unforgettable Dieter Hildebrandt: “Money doesn’t make you corrupt – no money sooner.”

I wish you an ethically unassailable day.

I warmly greet you
Hans-Jürgen Jakobs
Senior Editor

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