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...
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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...
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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...
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Renewable Energy Act: Switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions marginalises energy cooperatives

With the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act (2014), Germany prepared the ground for the replacement of feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which provided grid operators with a set fee for every kilowatt-hour of wind energy or solar power, to an auction-based system in accordance with the requirements of the European Commission. This system has been tested...
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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...
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Federal States Introduce Schemes for Citizen Participation in Wind Energy Projects – Part 1

On 20 April 2016 the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern enacted the so-called “Citizen and Municipal Participation Law” in an effort to boost acceptance for new wind energy projects and ensure they add value to local economies. Thuringia has also adopted a set of voluntary guidelines for “Fair Wind Energy “ that aim to enhance the...
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“Well below 2°C” – A First Response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

“This Agreement (…) aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change (…) including by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (…)” Even this short excerpt from Article 2 of the newly adopted Paris Agreement reveals much about the outcome of the 21st...
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Impressions from a first-timer at COP21

When I told friends and co-workers that I would be attending the COP21 climate summit, the first response I got was usually “cool!” followed by “so what are you actually going to do there??” Well, I knew what I would be doing there: for months now, I have been working on behalf of the IASS...
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EGUPolicy: An Expert Discussion on Ozone – Working at the Science-Policy Interface

This post was originally written for the EGUPolicy column, a monthly feature of the European Geophysical Union’s official blog, GeoLog. The original post appeared here on December 2, 2015. As scientists and researchers we are increasingly being asked to conduct or participate in interdisciplinary (working across disciplines) or transdisciplinary (working with stakeholders outside of academia)...
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