Can we make national and local governments work better together?

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Imagine a room packed with more than 1000 mayors from all parts of the world. Add different civil society representatives, stakeholders from the private sector as well as legislators from regional and national governments. Now picture them discussing on round tables how their cities could become more sustainable. Imagine then a concluding session in the plenary where all findings would be boiled down to five key recommendations. What’s the result? Well, “building political will” is definitely among these five key findings. Why am I so sure? Because I experienced these sessions literally a hundred times.

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July 4, 2016   No Comments

Brexit referendum: an opportunity for EU energy policy reform?

Update, 06/30/2016: The unthinkable has become reality. Apparently not even the Leave campaigners believed that they would carry away victory in the referendum, confirming our suspicions that the Brexiters could not provide credible alternatives. On the first day after the referendum, leading lights of the Brexit campaign already evaded their responsibilities and withdrew central promises that misled millions of citizens.

In terms of energy policy, the effects on the EU and the UK still remain uncertain and major changes cannot be expected in the near future, since negotiating the Brexit will be time consuming and results difficult to predict. In fact, it is not even clear if the UK issues a declaration under Article 50 to leave the EU. It also remains unclear whether in case of leaving the UK would also leave the EU Energy Market, a step with potentially grave consequences in terms of energy prices and energy security.

It seems the Brexit referendum’s decision leaves no winners after all. Time, money and efforts that have to be spend on negotiating the UK leaving the EU are severely stalling the important and urgently needed EU reform as well as decisions that would accelerate an extensive expansion of renewable energies across all EU Member States in order to effectively tackle climate change.

Article posted 15/05/2016:

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June 15, 2016   No Comments

Parliamentarians can revive German Energiewende

Fotolia © JonasGinter

Last week, the German government approved some fundamental amendments to the renewable energy law (the EEG 2016). After the 16 States adopted an overhaul of the famous German Renewable Energy Source Act (also referred to as the German Feed-in Tariff law) in May, the cabinet has now also given the green light. Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel and his colleagues have pointed to a paradigm shift. Indeed, the events mark the beginning of a new phase of the Energiewende. However, contrary to the government, I do not see any reason to applaud. In fact, the EEG 2016 hampers any further renewable energy development in the country. It is the paradigm of slowing down installations; handing back the energy system to the corporate utilities and making sure renewable energy does not become too successful in pushing fossil energy out of the system. …continue reading →

June 13, 2016   No Comments