The UN Climate Conference in Paris was a test to see whether national politicians could keep up with the change we are seeing in the real world. Looking at the final agreement published today, one must note: No, unfortunately, our national governments have not passed the test. Instead of a climate deal that phases out emissions by 2050 and allows the world to keep global warming below harmful 1.5 degree, we rather see a text that still tries to manage emissions instead of phasing them out. This is well reflected by the fact that parties could only agree upon the goal of “achieving a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” rather than a pact for decarbonisation. [Read more →]
December 12, 2015 Comments Off on Despite a weak outcome: Paris was first “renewables COP”
An increasingly urban matter?
Humanity has become a predominantly urban species. This could not be truer in China, where the share of urban population went from only 19% in 1980 to 54% in 2014. Cities in China still today grow by roughly 12 million people every year. It is estimated that by 2030 they will house around 1 billion people – about 70% of China´s population. Clearly enough, if any meaningful action towards a more sustainable future is to be taken seriously, this will need to involve its cities. While most Chinese cities are still affected by an incredibly high level of pollution, more and more people throughout the country are claiming their right to a “blue sky”. Could this growing public support joint with strong political leadership be the right drivers for rapid improvements in China´s environmental performance?
August 27, 2015 Comments Off on Urban China: the challenge and the hope
Today, news not related to the Greek referendum made it into the German headlines. News with outrageous content: The German government decided that profits of Germany’s dirtiest coal companies are more important than the people and more important than climate change risks. Chancellor Merkel and Minister for Economics and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel agreed to drop the plan for a coal levy that had been discussed for months. Instead, they agreed to compensate (!) coal companies like RWE for lignite power plants that will go off-grid. More precisely, potential loss of profits from old coal-fired plants with a capacity of up to 2.7 Gigawatts that will have to go offline will be compensated with tax payers money. [Read more →]
July 2, 2015 Comments Off on German government buckles under fossil fuel industry pressure