In the coming months EU member states have to agree on major legislative proposals as part of the European Green Deal and how to support them through the EU’s budget for 2021 – 2027. At its core is the recently drafted European Climate Law, preparing the path for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. But while the Council and the European Parliament deliberate on the specifics of the pioneering climate law, some countries in Central and Eastern Europe prepare for a nuclear renaissance as part of their climate mitigation strategies.
Well over half of the way into the first 100 days of the freshly installed European Commission (EC), led by President Ursula von der Leyen, the design and scope of the EU’s much hyped European Green Deal (EGD) is still quite vague. Serious questions loom about the plan’s ability to help Europe hit UN climate targets. Paul Hockenos explains why.
Ukraine and energy issues are often too narrowly associated with geopolitics and gas infrastructure in debates in the United States and Western Europe. Often very little is known about climate policies and the ongoing energy transition within the country. Iryna Holovko, Center for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction”, board member talks with Robert Sperfeld, Senior Programme Officer East and South East Europe Division at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, about the issue of climate protection within the Ukrainian society. For further information, have a look at the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s recently published Fact Sheet on decarbonisation as a matter for EU-Ukraine partnership.
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.
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.
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.
Partially inspired by Germany’s version, the Czech Coal Commission met for the first time earlier this summer. Though it’s creation was largely driven by the mass student protests that have fundamentally transformed the Czech debate on climate policy, only two of its nineteen members are from environmental organizations. With its final report due in less than a year, it’s still unclear if the commission will decide upon a coal phase out date or a surge in renewables instead of new nuclear power. To learn more, Klára Schovánková, head of the ecology program at Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Prague office, interviewed Coal Commission member, Jiří Koželouh, who also heads the energy program at Hnutí Duha, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic.
A day-long conference in Brussels underscored the urgency of making the EU’s 2021-2027 budget a green one. There’s a window of opportunity to do so — and the game is on. Paul Hockenos reports
After a long time of being either ignored or seen as a Western luxury topic, the state of the environment has begun to occupy a broad space in Polish public debate. From the threat of air pollution to the climate crisis, sustainability is now more visible than ever in the media and the campaign ahead of parliamentary elections on October 13. But will this shift produce a real change in direction for the good of both people and planet?
While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports