Gold at the Bottom of the Sea: Ours for the Taking?

Some researchers think that the deep sea could become a treasure chest for humanity, full of gold, silver, cobalt, and other minerals – enough to feed our consumer societies for centuries and lift poor nations out of poverty. Others are more doubtful. In a world of eternal darkness, cold temperatures, and pressures powerful enough to...
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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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The Water-Energy Nexus: Seeking Integrated Solutions

World Water Day Banner

Today is World Water Day. This year’s motto, ‘Water and Sustainable Development’, is in keeping with the prominent role sustainable development is expected to play in 2015. In September the United Nations will agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focussed on eliminating poverty, now the...
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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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