Year: 2019


2019: The year Poland still dug coal

It has not been a good year for Polish environmental policy; but, fortunately, it has also not been a total waste. Marked by the inertia and stubbornness of a government that, flying in the face of expert opinion, is imposing punishing and economically unsound ideas, it does seem as though some energy progress is being made, both as the government changes direction and as more citizens take matters into their own hands. Our Polish correspondent, Michał Olszewski, takes a look.

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Irrational thinking: Merkel’s government stunningly green-lights new coal-fired power plant

Despite all their rhetoric, Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government is clearly not all that interested in really powering past coal. The latest evidence is its decision to allow the Uniper-owned 1,200 MW hard coal-fired power plant, Datteln 4, to come online in 2020 — against the recommendations of the Coal Commission. As the government embarks on a bizarre sales campaign peddling the idea that Datteln’s advanced technology will somehow help improve the climate, activists are organizing a protest wave that will dwarf previous actions around the embattled Hambach Forest. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the situation.

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Politicos, Read the Polls: Europeans Want More Climate Action

Throughout 2019 one poll after another has underscored that EU citizens are taking climate change very seriously and want to see action on climate protection on both the national and EU level. This should be a signal to Europe’s political class that they must prioritize all of the climate-related issues: from renewables to sustainable agriculture. The problem is that too many in the halls of power see climate as a “green” issue. A new generation of climate focused politicians is needed. Paul Hockenos analyses the data and comments upon the conclusions.

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Poland has a Climate Ministry

Though in October, Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) party narrowly won a second term in office, its power was weakened after it lost control of the upper house of Parliament and failed to increase its majority in the more powerful lower chamber. Now one wonders if Poland is finally about to get serious about addressing the climate crisis? Following Mateusz Morawiecki’s first speech to Parliament as prime minister and his initial decisions, is a breakthrough in the nation’s position on the environment coming? Our Polish correspondent, Michal Olszewski, takes a look.

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COP25 – Failure in Madrid

Four years after world leaders came together on the Paris Climate Agreement – and an increase of 4 percent in global carbon emissions later –, the COP25 in Madrid failed to reach what it was set out to do: reach an agreement on international carbon markets, a mechanism intended to make it easier for many countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The COP25 shows yet again how divided the world remains on climate change. Meanwhile global temperatures keep rising, the scientific prognosis is as unequivocal as ever, and a growing number of people are urging their governments to act. Rebecca Bertram reports

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Is the EU’s Green Deal the Real Deal?

The long discussed plan, though a seminal milestone, risks becoming too watered down as it is stretched to become everything to everybody. The new version now raises as many questions as it answers.  Paul Hockenos takes a look.

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New English edition of Plastic Atlas spotlights humanity’s toxic addiction

Published jointly by Break Free From Plastic, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the German Association for the Environment and Nature (BUND), the new report portrays a startling window into the toxic deluge fouling our planet. In just 60 years over 8.3 billion tons of petroleum-based plastics have been produced worldwide – more than one ton per person living on earth today. But only 10% has been recycled. As new production rates are accelerated by cheap fracked gas, the only solution is to drastically reduce our dependency. Buchsbaum reviews the Atlas’ findings.

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COP25 and what Latin America hopes for. Part V: A View from Peru

In the run up to the Madrid-based COP25 international climate talks set to begin in early December, former Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Energy and Environment program, Rebecca Bertram, conducted a series of interviews with Latin American officials and activists. In Part 5 of the series, Bertram meets with Bruno Sanguinetti, Director at CEDE (Center for Development), an NGO that has a long history of working on environmental projects throughout Peru.

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COP25 and what Latin America hopes for. Part IV: A View from Columbia

In the run up to the Madrid-based COP25 international climate talks set to begin in early December, former Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Energy and Environment program, Rebecca Bertram, conducted a series of interviews with Latin American officials and activists. In Part 4 of the series, Rebecca has a conversation with Angelica Beltran, researcher on climate policy at the Association for Environment and Society (Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad).

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COP25 and what Latin America hopes for. Part III: A View from Chile

In the run up to the Madrid-based COP25 international climate talks set to begin in early December, former Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Energy and Environment program, Rebecca Bertram, conducted a series of interviews with Latin American officials and activists. In Part 3 of the series, Bertram meets with Samuel Leiva, environmental policy consultant with the Terram and Heinrich Böll Foundation’s office in Chile.

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