How Long Is Now? Reflections on Berlin, Deep Time and Planetary Futures

Walking westwards along Oranienburger Strasse in Berlin-Mitte, the building-high mural How Long Is Now dominates the horizon, eclipsing nearby landmarks. It is, as I learned, a now legendary artwork adorning the derelict art centre Kunsthaus Tacheles (‘straight talking’ in Yiddish). The building embodies what is true for the city as a whole, at least as...
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Strengthening the G20 sustainable energy agenda – the way forward

The 2017 G20 summit takes place in the country that has won international recognition for its “Energiewende” – a fundamental transformation of its energy system. This provides an important window of opportunity for strengthening the G20 agenda on sustainable energy. The world’s overall energy supply is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which undermines climate...
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Trump, International Affairs, and the Environment: Can It All Come Together?

My short-term research and lecture visit to the IASS in November and December 2016 is now over, sadly. I was invited by and cooperated with Dr Birgit Lode of the ELIAS project. I first met Birgit at a conference organized by the American Society of International Law (ASIL), of which both of us are active...
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How can we stimulate action on collective behavior change toward sustainable futures?

Insights from the First KLASICA International Case Studies Symposium in Taipei The first Knowledge, Learning, And Societal Change Alliance (KLASICA) Symposium, which took place on 21–24 November 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan was a stimulating and productive event. KLASICA is a new effort using the wide range of intellectual lenses of the natural and social sciences,...
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COP22 and Beyond – Achieving the Paris Agreement

In order to meet growing concerns about climate change and the challenges presented by mitigation and adaption, delegations from around the world met last year in Paris to negotiate a new and binding international agreement to limit climate change. The first major steps towards implementation of the Paris Agreement were discussed during the 22nd UNFCCC...
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A Milestone for Climate Protection: Paris Agreement Enters into Force

The Paris Agreement, the new international climate treaty, enters into force today on 4 November 2016. This rapid entry into force, occurring within a year of its adoption, is unusual for an international climate treaty: to date, 97 Parties have ratified the Paris Agreement. Together they are responsible for around 70% of global greenhouse gas...
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Those arrogant Energiewende folks

Germany’s energy transition, its Energiewende, is the backdrop for Juli Zeh’s novel Unterleuten. The title has multiple meanings. First, Unterleuten is the name of a small rural town where citizens learn one day that a wind farm is to be built in their midst. “Unter Leuten” (written apart) literally means “among the people.” And “Unterleuten”...
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How Can Local Governments and Civil Society Partner to Produce Sustainable Cities?

How can local governments and civil society partner to produce sustainable cities? This was one of the central questions cutting across four panels of the conference “Co-producing sustainable cities?”, which was organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with the Technical University of Berlin. This conference served as a discussion forum in preparation for...
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Some Thoughts on Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement

One of the key questions I’m being asked a lot recently in relation to the Paris Agreement is “When will it come into force?” The answer to this question is somewhat more complex than it might at first seem. Through this short piece I hope to provide some insights into the steps and legal requirements...
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Can the G20 Summit Give New Impetus to a Global Energy Transition?

On 4 and 5 September the next G20 Summit will take place in Hangzhou, China. While the G20 was initially created as a forum for discussion and collaboration to prevent financial crises, in the last several years the promotion of a sustainable energy supply has been added to the agenda. Some important first steps have...
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