Sustainable Development Goals Must Recognise the Importance of Soils

In recent years research towards sustainable land policy has become a central pillar of the work undertaken at the IASS. Transdisciplinary projects with our partners from academia, society and politics have generated knowledge that can drive the transformation to sustainable land management. Our soils are not in good shape: according to conservative estimates, 24 million...
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How Far Will Germany Go on Fracking? Understanding the Proposed New Legislation

The debate on shale gas and fracking has polarised Europe, with some countries positioning themselves decidedly against fracking and others drawing up plans to use this technique. In Germany, the future of shale gas is still uncertain, but the year 2015 could be decisive. The country’s shale gas reserves are sizeable: according to the BGR...
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Germany and Brazil – Two Very Different Pioneers of Renewable Energies

This August, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and other ministers will travel to Brazil for intergovernmental consultations. They should seize this opportunity to breathe new life into cooperation on renewables under the German-Brazilian energy partnership. Closer cooperation with Brazil – a country that has been an important frontrunner of the global expansion of...
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Deep-sea Mining: Possible but is it Permissible?

How does one go about setting limits for industries and activities? Existing limits are currently being overstepped in many spheres of activity I could mention: the extraction of raw materials from the thawing Arctic, the production of shale gas, the potential use of methane hydrates, and the mining of ore from the deep sea. In...
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The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement – UN Climate Conference in Bonn Brings Clarity for Legal Architecture

The eleven-day UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn drew to a close last Thursday and with it the deliberations among international climate law experts in which I myself participated. The main aim of the Bonn meeting was to work on a draft text for the long-awaited climate change agreement. This agreement is due to be...
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The Solar Price Revolution

"The Solar Price Revolution": A commentary by Klaus Töpfer

A silent revolution is under way. In November, Dubai announced the construction of a solar energy park that will produce electricity for less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour – undercutting the cost of the alternative investment option, a gas or coal-fired power plant. The plant – which is expected to be operational in 2017 – is...
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A Heady Cocktail for Growth that Lacks Tonic

Wider den Wachstumswunschpunsch: ein Einwurf von Philipp H. Lepenies

Growth, too, isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, it has to be ‘qualitative’, ‘pro-poor’, ‘inclusive’, ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, or even ‘smart’. And if one attribute doesn’t suffice, a mix of all of them will do: “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” (EU Commission), “sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth” (UN) or “inclusive, pro-poor, green growth” (World Bank)....
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Solar Energy in Germany and China: Dynamics of a Policy-Driven Market

In its most recent report, the German government’s Expert Commission on Research and Innovation criticised Germany’s feed-in tariff for renewable energy and the associated costs for electricity consumers based on two central claims. Firstly, the rapid diffusion of renewable energy – so the commission argues – has no effect on the reduction of greenhouse gas...
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