The global transition to clean energy is upending markets, social structures, laws, and much more that falls outside of the traditional energy sector. Since we’re all relatively new at it, it’s critical that we keep a close eye on the biproducts and unintended consequences of climate protection – in order to tweak and reform when necessary. Paul Hockenos takes a look at how dams in the Balkans, while renewable, are anti-environmental.
Green cities aren’t just good for the environment – they’re good for the people who live in them. Freiburg, Germany has a great quality of life with its parks, public transit and clean air. But will the city keep pushing environmentalism or rest on its laurels? Paul Hockenos takes a look.
Why is Germany still planning on building another pipeline for Russian gas? Investing money in new gas infrastructure makes no economic sense, as falling costs for renewables could cut gas consumption in half by 2030. Paul Hockenos takes a look.
Media conglomerate Axel Springer AG is known in Germany for its populist and archconservative tone. What most don’t know is the degree to which it also owns publications across Central Europe – in which it spreads deep-seated skepticism of Germany’s energy transition, remarks Paul Hockenos.
Can the Ukraine crisis force Germany to backtrack on the Energiewende? No, regardless of Poland’s off-the-cuff critique. But it’s fueling anew the debate in Germany over supply security. Renewables could go a long way toward bolstering Germany’s energy security vis-à-vis Russia, while energy-saving measures could be the true clincher.
The Baltic states, overwhelmingly dependent upon Russian energy supplies, experience most directly the high costs of their neighbor’s political pressure on the EU. Paul Hockenos wonders if diversification including renewables could provide these countries some relief.
Germany’s Energiewende has also impacted Poland and the Czech Republic, but these effects are rarely discussed or well-understood by German lawmakers. EU-wide energy policies are needed in order to ensure that Germany’s transition to renewables is permanent, sustainable, and fair to its neighbors.
For countries with widespread and established emigrant communities, crowdfunding can be a means to support sustainable development at home, reports Paul Hockenos.
CSU party leader and Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer’s sudden about-face on Südlink, the planned long-distance transmission corridor for renewable energy running through his state, is little more than political pandering to cosmetic concerns without accounting for long-term needs.
Innovative policies, including higher contributions from industry, home energy efficiency improvements, and consumer awareness of price differences between suppliers, are called for to help Germans lower energy prices during the switch to renewables, argues Paul Hockenos.