German government hands power sector back to energy corporations

The Energiewende is a federal energy policy that started off as a grassroots movement. Just a few years ago, investments in the sector clearly reflected its origins. But amendments implemented in 2014 resulted in fundamental changes in the investor mix. If the government does not address the issue soon, one can only conclude that this...
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Renewable Energy Act: Switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions marginalises energy cooperatives

With the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act (2014), Germany prepared the ground for the replacement of feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which provided grid operators with a set fee for every kilowatt-hour of wind energy or solar power, to an auction-based system in accordance with the requirements of the European Commission. This system has been tested...
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Mental Dispositions and Sustainability: An Interview with Gerald Hüther

Professor Gerald Hüther was recently invited to speak at the IASS. Hüther is a neuroscientist and biologist at the University of Göttingen and the author of a number of best-selling works of popular science on brain research and the broad implications of its findings for society. In his lecture and subsequent discussions with the audience,...
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“Well below 2°C” – A First Response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

“This Agreement (…) aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change (…) including by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (…)” Even this short excerpt from Article 2 of the newly adopted Paris Agreement reveals much about the outcome of the 21st...
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The Benefits of EU Environmental Policy for Great Britain: Q&A with R. Andreas Kraemer

The British House of Commons is holding an inquiry into European environmental policy tomorrow (2 December 2015). The aim is to assess the extent to which EU environmental objectives and policies have succeeded in tackling environmental issues in the UK. This is to inform the debate ahead of the referendum on EU membership that the...
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The Arctic Circle – A Report from Reykjavik

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Reykjavik to attend Arctic Circle 2015, a large gathering bringing together scientists, policy makers, civil society, intergovernmental organisations and industry representatives (the accompanying short film provides a snapshot of the event). The gathering is the brainchild of the Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and aims to...
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A Science Perspective on the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

When I initially heard about the VW scandal, it was secondhand and I hadn’t read any of the news yet, I didn’t have any of the facts. But I remember thinking (and saying), I don’t know what the big deal is about, everyone knows those chassis dynamometer tests they use for estimating emissions don’t get...
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A Black Future for Coal

King Coal – as the most widespread and cheapest fossil energy source is often called – is entering a crucial, maybe definitive, phase. Indeed, worldwide coal consumption has decreased significantly in recent years due to a growing hostility to the generation of electricity using unsustainable coal. This global opposition comes from several different sources: political,...
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