Choice Architecture in Urban Space

Part 2 of a blog series on climate protection and structural change through participation by Katleen de Flander and Ina Richter The German Climate Action Goal for 2050 foresees an 80 to 95 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases compared to 1990. If we are to take this goal seriously, I believe there are two...
Continue reading...

Raw Materials in Mobile Phones: Our Work with Schools

The teachers who participate in our workshops on using mobile phones more sustainably often ask us: “How much energy is saved by recycling metals?” The answer usually surprises them: by recycling aluminium, palladium and silver, we can save over 90 per cent of the energy that would otherwise be used to extract those metals. When...
Continue reading...

You Are What You Breathe? Measuring Air Quality in Berlin

Berlin may not be the Netherlands, but there is definitely a fair amount of bicycling infrastructure throughout the city. And if you’re biking in Berlin you’re not alone on the road with only cars for company either. The debate about which cities are the best for biking aside, I enjoy biking, and this summer I...
Continue reading...

Q&A: Kandeh Yumkella on Sustainable Energy and Societal Prosperity

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy für Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), Kandeh Yumkella has taken on the mammoth task of providing everybody on the planet with access to an environmentally friendly and secure energy supply. In the course of our meeting at the IASS-SE4All Forum on the global dimension of the German energy...
Continue reading...

Current Environmental Strategies and Why They Don’t Work

When I give presentations about my work, I usually start with this question from the Dutch-American sociologist and economist Saskia Sassen: “Are our global ecological conditions the results of urban density and agglomeration or are they the results of the specific types of urban systems that we have developed to handle transport, waste, disposal, building,...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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....
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...