At Rio+20, the concept of the "green economy" focuses on industrial production from biomass as one way to overcome fossil fuel dependency. The push for a bio-based economy comes with a call for market-based mechanisms for the financialization of the Earth’s natural processes, re-branded as ‘ecosystem services’, which also encourage land and water grabs.
The urgent need to address climate change, the concerns of depleting fossil fuel reserves, volatile global oil prices and continued economic crisis amongst other reasons have put energy at the center of public policy debates. While the discussions are centered around addressing energy security, often focused primarily around electricity generation, the more immediate energy crisis is in creating equitable energy access and eradicating energy poverty.
In a time of economic hardship, dangerous climate change, and growing demand for reliable and cleaner sources of energy, global fossil fuel subsidies for production and consumption remain staggeringly high; however, momentum for subsidy reform is growing internationally. Greater transparency and equity need to be at the heart of such reforms, argues this report.
Cooperatives have a vast history of playing important roles in supporting local economies in both the Midwestern United States and Germany. Today, a significant opportunity exists to build on existing cooperative models in the Midwest to also supply sources of local, renewable energy production.
Germany was a first mover in the solar energy sector. Recent bankruptcies call its early commitment into question, but a closer look shows how well positioned Germany remains – and why it’s a good time for the US to get on board.
Can the world fight climate change without nuclear power? According to a recent Washington Post op-ed, Germany's decision to shut down eight nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima leads to rising carbon emissions. In reality, however, Germany reduced its emissions in 2011, because of more renewable energy - and a warm winter.
20 years after the first Earth Summit, the international community will gather once more in Rio de Janeiro from the 20th to the 22th of June 2012. But for a greener, more equitable and more resource efficient world mere declarations will not be enough. A serious shift in priorities is needed. A greener economy is possible, but it needs to be socially just, gender equitable and democratic.
The Green Deal Nigeria study commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation focuses on the potential for a greener Nigeria and is being launched as the country prepares for the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit. The study provides an overview and practical examples of how to green Nigeria before 2020 and explains the long-term measures that Nigeria needs to take today to make the economy grow beyond oil.
The international community is focusing increasing attention on the need for more informatioon and transparency on climate finance. This brief reflects on the practical experience of monitoring climate finance from Climate Funds Update (CFU), a joint initiative of the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Overseas Development Institute.
The World Bank's May 2012 volume on "Inclusive Green Growth" has some positive solutions to offer, but falls short in several crucial ways: the lack of emphasis on poverty reduction, equality and human rights; an uncritical regard for market mechanisms to govern asset markets, and a view of infrastructure as the “heart of green growth,” among other things.
Is it hysteria or emotional populism that Germany has decided to phase out nuclear energy? On the contrary, a majority of Germans has been unconvinced of its merits since the early 1980s; the source of this anti-atom consensus lies in the persuasive, fact-based arguments of a powerful, grassroots social movement.
Recognizing the significance of inequitable gender relations for women’s vulnerability to climate change, this study analyzes if and how an adaptation measure involving a relocation program that gives titles to new public housing to women implemented in response to severe flooding in the Mexican state of Tabasco in 2007, has contributed to modifying gender relations and strengthening gender equality.
The chemical industry in Germany plays a key role in the economy as a whole and the country's international competitiveness. It provides more than 290,000 well paying jobs. The capacity of the chemical industry for innovation is crucial for finding solutions to some of the major challenges of our time such as climate change and the resource crisis: chemicals can help to insulate buildings, generate solar power, build cleaner cars and increase material efficiency.
Recent estimates of global fossil fuel subsidies for production and consumption are staggering, putting the total near US$730 billion annually or higher. This analysis looks at ways that fossil fuel subsidy phase out can benefit the climate and recommends actions that can be taken immediately in the UNFCCC.
Since 2002, the world community has been struggling to formulate a framework for sustainable consumption and production. In this paper, "Preventing Wall-E", Victoria Floor describes the struggle, the high stakes and the importance of a Rio +20 agreement.
In this essay, the president of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Barbara Unmuessig, critically reflects on the opportunities for and the shortcomings of the concept of a "Green Economy" to influence economic policy making globally, its relationship to the paradigm of sustainable development and the need to rethink our understanding and focus on growth.
Germany has seen record investments in solar energy. Thus, coal and nuclear utilities are calling for an end to solar incentives. They might be able to delay the boom of solar power. But it is too late to stop it altogether, argues Volker Quaschning in this article.
Can Europe assert leadership on climate change in light of its myriad problems? The EU was key in shaping the outcome of the last UNFCCC negotiations, the so-called Durban Platform. This paper analyzes the prospects for Europe to continue to act as a driving force towards a greener planet, both at home and abroad.
The effects of climate change and current policy responses have disproportionately negative impacts on women. As part of the effort to address the imbalance, this research assesses policies and practices for gender-just adaption in India.
Solar power has the potential to provide secure and reliable energy to rural communities in developing countries. This case study examines an off-grid project in India and assesses it implications for national energy policy.