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What Can We Expect From COP27?

logo of COP27 in Egypt

by Fenja De Silva-Schmidt

As every year, November will be another high season for international climate politics – with the 27th Conference of the Parties – the COP27 – starting next week. From November 7 to 18, delegates of all nations from the UNFCC will gather in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss how to proceed with international climate policy. All in all, more than 35,000 participants are registered. But what are the goals of this year’s conference, and what results can we realistically expect? Continue reading What Can We Expect From COP27?

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The Australian 2022 Election: moving in the right direction?

Australian flag

By Robin Tschötschel

“It’s going to get worse before it gets worse”, summarised Liberal Party pollster Tony Barry on election night. And while the intricacies of the Australian preferential election system still keep the official final outcome open, the devastating defeat of the centre-right alliance, the “Coalition” of the Liberal and National Parties, was already certain.

Continue reading The Australian 2022 Election: moving in the right direction?

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Kontaktabbruch ist ein Irrweg

von Michael Brüggemann

Russland pauschal canceln, bringt erst recht keinen Frieden. Das sollte man nicht vergessen. Ein Gastbeitrag.

Joe Biden hat Wladimir Putin schon im März 2021 richtig eingeschätzt: He is a killer. Dem gibt es wenig hinzuzufügen. In Deutschland haben viele die russische Regierung falsch eingeschätzt und zu lange auf Appeasement, Gasimporte und zurückhaltende Diplomatie gesetzt und Putins militärische Interventionen in den Nachbarstaaten toleriert. Nun beeilen sich alle Akteure, Stellung zu beziehen.

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Nord Stream 2: where the climate crisis meets geopolitics 

By Louisa Pröschel

From the get-go, the multi-billion euro investment “Nord Stream 2” has been widely criticized, regarding political independence from Russia, political oppression through Russia, and the climate implications of investing in gas pipelines.

A piece of Nord Stream pipe, Kotka, Finland. Source: WikiCommons

When there is an imminent threat of war looming over the horizon it is hard to find clear-cut answers to global issues. This is very much the case in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Ongoing for the past eight years, the crisis has just been met with renewed media attention as Russia initiated a full-blown military standoff, deploying more than 100.000 troops to the border and demanding that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO, a concession the alliance has ruled out. With a new threat of armed conflict on the horizon, politicians are grappling with diplomatic means to prevent all-out war. While Germany – one of the largest arms exporters – writhes at the thought of supporting Ukraine with weapons, insisting on other diplomatic means, the prominent stance seems to focus on economic sanctions, especially relating to the European energy and financial markets. Allies are increasingly disconcerted with Germany’s reluctance to use the termination of Nord Stream 2 as leverage in negotiations. Continue reading Nord Stream 2: where the climate crisis meets geopolitics 

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#ATOMS4CLIMATE: The Nuclear Lobby at COP26

by Christopher Pavenstädt 

An energy source that, at least from a German viewpoint, has had its days numbered for quite some time finds new life at climate conferences: nuclear energy.

Pro-nuclear ‘activists’ at COP26, photo source: iaea.org

Not only countries that still count on nuclear energy like Japan and France covered the use of nuclear energy in their pavilions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was also there to promote nuclear energy as the green energy source of the future. The nuclear interest groups and agencies were granted quite some space to advocate at COP26, despite them fearing exclusion from the conference beforehand. One could imagine that an agency like the IAEA, equipped with considerable access to economic and political networks would focus on direct lobbying efforts, and while they did this in previous years, they were beginning to think of a different strategy for this year. Continue reading #ATOMS4CLIMATE: The Nuclear Lobby at COP26

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Unseen Scenes From COP26: E-Racing Cars And Youthwashing Events

By Christopher Pavenstädt

COP has now become a Global North Greenwashing Festival”, summarized Greta Thunberg as she closed the rally of the Youth Climate Strike in Glasgow.

COP26, Glasgow, November 2021. Photo by Christopher Pavenstädt

Greta has come a long way. In 2018, COP24 elevated her voice onto the global consciousness. The young, then 15-year-old girl talking in an accusing, emotional tone, to the distant, very formal process of the COP. Now, she doesn’t need the plenary hall anymore. Here, she was outside, missing no opportunity to distance herself from the inside of COP. My personal view of COP26 comes from my week-long experience in Glasgow, observing the unseen scenes — those which did not catch the media audience’s eye. Continue reading Unseen Scenes From COP26: E-Racing Cars And Youthwashing Events

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Downscaling the Aviation Industry

by Ella Karnik Hinks

The dramatic reduction in flights during the COVID-19 pandemic opens a natural opportunity for us to consider: what role does the aviation industry have to play in tackling the climate crisis?

Illustration by kreatikar at pixabay.com

Before the pandemic, it seemed unthinkable: a 70 percent drop in flights worldwide? Yet this is exactly what happened in May 2020. The dramatic changes seen in our lifestyles since the beginning of 2020 disposes of the idea that radical change is not possible. Under the right pressure, industry, governments and individuals seem to adapt their priorities to comply with external conditions. Climate change – as COVID-19 – is a global crisis. There can, and will, be radically different lifestyles which we adopt in response to this externality.

Continue reading Downscaling the Aviation Industry

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Why climate and environment belong together

by Felix Schaumann

In a recent blogpost, I argued that climate policy should be seen and treated as something fundamentally different from environmental policy. However, I am not sure I entirely convinced even myself. Therefore, I’d like to use this piece to take the opposite stance, by arguing that climate and environmental problems should be confronted together.

It is true that the main cause of climate change consists of burning fossil fuels, suggesting a focus on economic solutions relating to energy use. However, it is also true that the effects of climate change present themselves as environmental problems – ranging from storms and droughts to the extinction of species and the loss of entire ecosystems.

Rain forest in Bolivia - photo by Felix Schaumann

 

Continue reading Why climate and environment belong together

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How do climate change documentaries imagine the future? A video commentary

Documentaries are one way of presenting the problems climate change poses, but also possibilities for a better future, to a broad audience. In this video, our team member Shorouk Elkobros, now Science Communication Consultant at the European Science Foundation, compares the approach and framing of different climate documentaries. Have fun watching it – but be warned, you might want to watch some or all of the documentaries mentioned afterwards!

The video summarizes the results from Shorouk’s Master’s thesis in Integrated Climate System Sciences at the University of Hamburg, titled “Multimodal framing of climate change-related future scenarios in documentaries”.

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Why Climate Policy is not the same as Environmental Policy

by Felix Schaumann

Climate change is receiving more and more attention. While the topic has traditionally been seen as an environmental issue, it is now increasingly reaching beyond and detaching from the sphere of classical environmental policy. In this piece, I will argue that this is a good thing.

The environmental movement has been around for half a century now, at least in many parts of the world. While it has had many successes, it is still a minority in society. At the same time, ambitious climate action is required to happen within this decade, if we want to fulfil the Paris Agreement. In order to instigate political action now, it is necessary to build coalitions that amount to societal majorities, thereby reaching far beyond environmentalist circles.

demonstration image, penguin with a lifebuoy asking where is my home? Continue reading Why Climate Policy is not the same as Environmental Policy