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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Promoting Transparency in Climate Engineering Research

Research into technologies for manipulating the planetary environment in order to forestall the effects of climate change is rapidly proceeding from small laboratory and desktop studies to the field. Concurrent with these developments, there have been calls for the establishment of governance mechanisms to ensure that the risks and concerns that this research presents are...
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Fugitive Emissions in Shale Gas Production Negate Climate Benefits

It is often claimed that a higher ratio of natural gas to coal in our energy mix can mitigate current carbon dioxide emissions and serve as a ‘bridge’ to future renewable-based scenarios. This is because the carbon footprint of energy produced through the combustion of methane is about half that of energy produced from coal....
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Fuel from Green Power and CO2: The New Power-to-Liquid Plant in Dresden

The German Minister for Education and Research Professor Johanna Wanka spoke recently at the inauguration of a power-to-liquid plant in Dresden: “This method reduces CO2 emissions and thus makes us less dependent on crude oil. In this way, we can protect our climate, save resources, and at the same time promote a technology that promises...
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Clean Up Our Skies: On a New Commentary Piece in “Nature”

This December, the 20th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) will be held in Lima, Peru. There climate change negotiations will focus on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the long-lived greenhouse gas primarily responsible for anthropogenic climate change. However, on the short-term, air pollutants that also have an...
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