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.
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.
Despite all their rhetoric, Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government is clearly not all that interested in really powering past coal. The latest evidence is its decision to allow the Uniper-owned 1,200 MW hard coal-fired power plant, Datteln 4, to come online in 2020 — against the recommendations of the Coal Commission. As the government embarks on a bizarre sales campaign peddling the idea that Datteln’s advanced technology will somehow help improve the climate, activists are organizing a protest wave that will dwarf previous actions around the embattled Hambach Forest. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the situation.
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.
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?
After months of deliberations, in late September Germany’s ruling coalition, made up of the center-right CDU/CSU and the Centrist SPD unveiled their new climate action strategy—to near universal disappointment. Now approved by the government, the plan’s architects hope a weak plan is better than none at all. L. Michael Buchsbaum summarizes
Despite increasing public pressure, both coalition parties within Merkel’s so-called Climate Cabinet favor taxes or market based trading schemes to tackle the climate crisis instead of new regulations to increase renewable energy or hard measures to phase out fossil fuels. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look
On a high-speed, zero-emissions vessel, Greta Thunberg arrived in the
U.S. from Europe on August 29 – a masterpiece of symbolism and PR savvy, the kind which by now we’ve come to expect from the Swedish teenager and her fellow activists in the Fridays for Future movement. In the space of just one short year, their audacious “school strikes” on Fridays have prompted a startling reality check among citizens and politicos in much of Europe and beyond, including German chancellor Angela Merkel – but, alas, not in the US. Paul Hockenos reports