The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement – UN Climate Conference in Bonn Brings Clarity for Legal Architecture

The eleven-day UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn drew to a close last Thursday and with it the deliberations among international climate law experts in which I myself participated. The main aim of the Bonn meeting was to work on a draft text for the long-awaited climate change agreement. This agreement is due to be...
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Economic Expertise: A Historical Perspective on a Topical Issue

In late 2013 the IASS held a workshop on “Political Economy”, which focused on the transfer of economic knowledge into politics. I had been following discussions on this subject ever since the 2008 financial crisis. While economics has been in for particularly strong criticism since then, from within the discipline and beyond it, demands for...
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Electricity Market Design: Will Demand React to Variations in Power Supply?

In the electricity sector, generation has always been driven by demand. But the Energiewende could turn this paradigm on its head. In what’s known as ‘demand response’, demand reacts to market signals and electricity consumption adapts to the level of generation from photovoltaic and wind energy. To give an example: on a winter’s evening German...
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Energy Transition in France: Following in Germany’s Footsteps?

Recently, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was equipped with two small vertical wind turbines, which, while they spawned many news articles, have a generation capacity that is rather symbolic. In the same week, the French Parliament debated and voted on an extensive new bill laying out the country’s plans for transforming its energy supply and...
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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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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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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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