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A Layman’s Guide to “Thinking the World Anew”

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.

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EU recovery plan goes green and excludes nuclear

On 27 May the European Commission (EC) put forward its proposal for a major post-Covid-19 recovery plan. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that what underpinned the programme was a determination “to hold governments more accountable for fighting climate change and saving our nature.” David Lowry explores what this means for the continent’s climate policy and the role of nuclear energy.

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Mexico’s strange corona response: putting a brake on energy transition

Mexico’s government has had a bad corona run. The pandemic hit the country when the economy was already shrinking. But instead of profiting from the resulting drop in electricity demand of 9 percent in order to speed up the expansion of renewables and the much needed modernization of his country’s energy sector, President Lopez Obrador – widely referred to as AMLO – is instead sticking to the country’s outdated and failing CO2-heavy energy system. Rebecca Bertram takes a look.

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SA’s coronavirus recovery plan should consider value of women’s ‘invisible’ work

The South African government still needs to drawing up a just transition plan that will support workers who are likely to lose their jobs as the country moves its economy away from dependence on carbon-emitting production, such as mining and downstream industries. But the coronavirus lockdown has shown the invisible contribution that women’s labour makes to the economy. Could the country’s coronavirus stimulus package be a chance to add women’s work into the country’s ledger books? Leonie Joubert takes a closer look.

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Who doesn’t like Polish wind power?

Despite the fact that the price of investment in onshore wind power is dropping massively as its efficiency surges, turbines are still unwanted in Poland. If it weren’t effectively blocked by unfavourable legal regulations, wind energy would create a chance to increase the importance of renewable energy sources. What is the reason for wind power’s bad image in Poland and who is suffering most as a result? Agata Skrzypczyk reports.

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Merkel and Macron Say They Want a Game-Changing Green Recovery in Europe

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.

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Germany’s about to Lift Its “Solar Ceiling”

In a long-awaited decision in mid-May, the German government announced it will soon lift restrictions on feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar power, which would have crippled the sector. But why was the limit set at 52 GW in 2011, and what do we think that solar will ever be able to do without policy support? Craig Morris takes us back to the origins of a controversial policy that has been criticized for a long time.

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Fracked up: The Link between Plastic, Fossil Gas and Methane Pollution. Pt.I

In May, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Environmental Action Germany (DUH), and Food and Water Europe organized online conferences entitled “Fracking, Plastics, Methane Emissions and the Gas Lobby” to better explain the connection between them and climate crisis. The first of the two drew upon startling new satellite data explained by globally renowned methane and fracking expert, Prof. Robert Howarth from Cornell University. In his presentation, he detailed how the ongoing fuel switch from coal to gas has likely worsened the overall climate. Other speakers, including two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), several environmental attorneys, and other fracking activists discussed continuing gas lobbying efforts to “greenwash” uninformed MEPs and the general public. Now available for streaming, the first webinar-debate provided a welcome space for an informed discussion around fossil gas policies, many of which ignore established science in favor of economic and political expediency—our L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews.

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