Choosing the Right Trees for Urban Greening

Many cities are currently creating more green spaces and planting trees. The growing momentum to increase the amount of green space in urban areas, seen, for example, in various ‘Million Tree’ campaigns, brings many benefits to urbanites. A reduction in summer temperatures, additional recreational opportunities, and storm-water control are among the motivations behind such programmes....
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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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Civic Participation in the Energiewende: What Germany Can Learn from Denmark

Citizen-led energy initiatives are a cornerstone of the German Energiewende. But 2014 was a tough year for them: considerably less energy cooperatives were founded by citizens than in 2013, and the political framework for such initiatives changed drastically. In 2012 almost half of the total installed renewable energy capacity in Germany was owned by private...
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Q&A with Guy Brasseur: Communicating Science

How can ordinary people be familiarised with science? Few other researchers have devoted as much attention to this question as the Belgian atmospheric scientist Guy Brasseur. From 2009 to 2014, he was head of the Climate Service Center (CSC) in Hamburg, whose task is to communicate the latest climate research findings to politicians, scientists, and...
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Air Pollution and Climate Change: Fostering Better Decisions

A fireplace in the living room – some pay a premium for the cosy atmosphere, others consider it an irresponsible luxury. From an environmental point of view, wood-burning for residential heating isn’t the best option. While CO2 emissions are lower than those from gas and oil heating, it often results in greater emissions of air...
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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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