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...

Sustainability Research in a Sustainable Workplace

Scientists working at the IASS address diverse topics across the field of sustainability research. But how sustainable is our institute? In the summer of 2014 staff at the IASS launched an initiative to seek answers to this question. Our goal is to promote sustainability at the institute and minimise its ecological footprint. We aim to...
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...

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...
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...

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...
Continue reading...

“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...
Continue reading...