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.
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.
In much of Europe, this April is proving one of the driest in history. In Germany, wildfires are blazing, forests and farmlands are bone dry, and river depth in some areas is a half of what it should be. According to climate scientists, this could be the new normal as global warming enhances the frequency of severe droughts. Farmers though could do more to secure stable harvests: by growing more diverse crops. Paul Hockenos takes a closer look.
A year after Germany’s 28-member “Coal Commission” presented a fragile compromise brown coal phase-out, in mid-January Merkel’s Grand Coalition government formally released their own plan. Breaking with the Commission’s recommendations by slowing down the pace of the phase-out, immediately greenlighting the new Datteln 4 hard coal plant and showering RWE and other coal operators with billions of Euros, it also calls for more gas plants and additional wind turbine construction limitations. Neither ensuring Germany can adhere to the Paris Agreement nor its own clean energy targets, environmental groups are outraged as investors celebrate. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us into the dirty deal.
In the Corona crisis, the climate movement struggles to find its voice. Paul Hockenos gives us an update about the challenges the movement is facing under the current circumstances.
After swallowing up many assets of former rival E.ON and daughter company Innogy in a reconfiguration of both the European and global energy sectors, the new RWE has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040. Long Europe’s worst polluter and a steadfast opponent of the clean energy transition, it’s working hard to rebrand itself as a green innovator. However, as it plans to annually invest 1.5 billion euros in new wind, solar photovoltaic and storage, RWE is mainly focusing outside of its German backyard where it continues to generate the filthiest energy in the world, cynically profiting off the rapidly slowing Energiewende. Michael Buchsbaum explains the new RWE.