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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

Germany’s Federal States: Drivers of Participation in the Energy Transition?

Are Germany’s federal states becoming the drivers of citizen and civic participation in the energy transition? This hypothesis was the focus of debate at a workshop held in late June at the IASS in Potsdam to consider the implications of the new Citizen and Municipal Participation Law adopted in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (M-V) and the “Fair Wind...
Continue reading...

The High Seas as Global Commons

It is Easter Monday and I am at the United Nations in New York in a full room of representatives from member states and organisations. An Easter chocolate bunny proudly stands on the European Union’s desk and provides for jovial talks before the meeting is officially opened by the Chair, His Excellency Mr Eden Charles...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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,...
Continue reading...

Focus on Fulfilling the Climate Agreement instead of Lowering Power Prices: a Comment on the Debate about the “EEG Fund”

Once again, the political discussion is focusing on a state fund to finance renewables in Germany instead of using a surcharge on power consumption. This time, Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer is calling for it. At first glance, it seems to be a good idea.” For a long time, Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) provided...
Continue reading...

10 Years of Geoengineering Research: Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Earth‘s Future

2016 marks the tenth anniversary of Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen’s seminal 2006 contribution on geoengineering, “Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: A contribution to resolve a policy dilemma?”. In his essay, noting that attempts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming had been “grossly unsuccessful”, Crutzen suggested that actively injecting sulfur particles into...
Continue reading...

One Healthy Arctic: The Challenges and Linkages between Environmental and Human Health and Well-being

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the latest Arctic Summit Science Week in Fairbanks, Alaska. Building on the outcomes of last year’s summit in Toyama, Japan (see my previous post), the scientific community is increasingly seeking to unify synergies between the social and natural sciences to tackle problems related to...
Continue reading...

Social Benefits of Renewable Energies

Energiegenossenschaft Starkenburg

Boosted by impressive technological innovation and cost reductions, renewable energy in a growing number of countries is now primarily considered for its social and economic benefits. Among these benefits are opportunities for local value creation, for responding to growing energy demands and for reducing conflicts over scarce water, which are aggravated by fossil power generation....
Continue reading...