As inspiring as it is to see Fridays for Future on the streets again, its enforced downtime during the pandemic has wrought changes in the climate movement, in Germany and beyond. Can it bounce back to have the global presence it had in 2019? And if so, how does it intend to make its voice count in the new context? Paul Hockenos has the story.
Global trade has been a notorious difficult sector to sign up for decarbonization. The crux of the problem is that its business is crossborder, and thus skirts the emissions reduction plans of individual national states. Much of it thus gets a free ride. Paul Hockenos reports
The so-called Green Deals on the table in Europe and the US present an enticing prospect to rejuvenate the greatly diminished transatlantic relationship — and help hit crucial climate targets before it is too late. The European Green Deal, proposed last year with much fanfare by EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen, overlaps significantly with the Green New Deal, an ecological spending program devised by congressional Democrats and endorsed by the party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Paul Hockenos reports
Fresh EU directives have spurred new legislation across the EU to expand citizen-owned energy projects. But collective renewables still bump up against the powerful forces of traditional utilities, grid operators, and conventional energy interests. Paul Hockenos gives us the details.
Rainer Baake, 64-years old, is a veteran renewable energy politico with roots that stretch back deep into the earliest days of Germany’s renewables movement and the Greens. In March 2018, Baake left the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi), where he headed up the energy portfolio, with a resounding bang. Since then, he’s travelled around the world shooting a film about climate change. Not one to fade away, he’s got a new think tank up and running called Stiftung Klimaneutralität, or the Climate Neutrality Foundation. Paul Hockenos recently met Mr. Baake for lunch.
Despite so much criticism directed at the International Energy Agency (IEA) over the years, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization, which was established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1974, refuses to seriously rethink its affinity to fossil fuels and nuclear power – and its timid embrace of renewables.
Geothermal energy has been slow to contribute to Germany’s Energiewende, or clean energy transition. But this is changing. Bavaria has 20 deep-well plants and more in planning. Now its neighbor state in the south, Baden-Wuerttemberg, is picking up the thread. Deep geothermal energy is to become a cornerstone of its effort to achieve climate goals that are even more determined than Germany’s national plans – and currently in danger of falling short. Paul Hockenos has the story.
The German political economist Maja Göpel’s new book is currently Germany’s No. 1 bestselling work of non-fiction. It reaches back to the beginnings of capitalism to understand how we’ve landed in our present overlapping crises of environmental degradation, economic disparity, and illiberal democracy. In order to confront them, we have to first change the way we think about the big-ticket issues of our day, she argues, all of them. Paul Hockenos reviews the book for us.
Many experts say that offshore wind must go much deeper into oceans to help hit new climate targets. Massive turbines that float on the sea fit the bill – but the cost is still high. Paul Hockenos has the details. *
But there’s fight-back from the old guard – in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own party – as well as from Europe’s so-called ‘frugal four’: Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Nevertheless, Merkel is going further than ever before in backing the European Green Deal, higher EU climate targets, and renewable energy across Europe. Paul Hockenos has the story.