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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Who’s Afraid of Open Debate?

Political decisions on controversial research subjects such as plant genetics and fracking are highly relevant for society at large. That’s why the rules that govern such research should not be dictated by the interests of activists. Ralf Nestler is absolutely right to call on researchers to actively participate in the public discussion of their work...
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The Race against Climate Change – A Commentary on the Climate Conference in Lima

What progress was made at the Climate Conference in Lima? What further steps need to be taken on the way to Paris? Will we succeed in concluding a new climate agreement in a year’s time? How will this agreement be enforced? What about greenhouse gases and other pollutants besides CO2? And how exactly can the...
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Climate Action Programme – On the Need for ‘Structural’ Change

Part 1 of a blog series on climate protection and structural change through participation by Katleen de Flander and Ina Richter In recent weeks, the issue of climate protection has been high on the national and international political agenda. At international level, participants at the UN Climate Conference in Lima last week laid the foundations...
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More Water for the Middle East, More Energy for Europe? A Comparative Look at the Water-Energy Nexus

Access to energy and freshwater are essential requirements for any society that wants to develop and prosper. These two factors depend on each other: energy is used to produce freshwater and water is needed to produce energy. This interdependency is better known as the ‘water-energy nexus’. For example, it takes 1,000–2,600 kilowatt hours to pump...
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