ON – European Green Policy

As the global economic crisis destroys jobs and shatters public and private finances, growth seems to be the universally accepted solution. And this notwithstanding the fact that there is little doubt that economic growth cannot be sustained forever, at least not on a planet with limited resources. Another issue with growth is, that it has been clearly established that at high income levels, growth alias more wealth does not contribute to higher levels of well-being. Therefore, a growth oriented economic and societal model not only is unsustainable but also pretty useless. As it happens, Germans seem to be starting to understand that there are more important goals than consuming more and more goods. According to a recent poll, only 33% consider economic growth to be helpful for the well-being of a society, and 8 in 10 citizens think that Germany needs to fundamentally reform its economic system.

ON-green-policy! It is certainly very positive, that the general focus on economic growth as problem solver gives way to a more comprehensive and sustainable world view. Germany, already a frontrunner in the green economy, could also lead to way to a more balanced and sustainable mix between economic, social and environmental goals. It will be a long process, also in Germany, but this should not deter anybody from starting it, but on the contrary should motivate us to try harder.

By producing 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour, German rooftops supplied 50% of the country’s electricity needs on a sunny Saturday in Mai. ON-green-policy! Just for the record, Germany is no developing nation with a majority of the population off the grid, but one of the most developed cou[more]

Switzerland just released a major study on transport habits of its people. Often considered latecomers, Swiss may be frontrunners in the field of transport. Cars may still be the most used means of transportation but that may be changing. Nowadays only 58% of the 18 to 25 years old have a valid driv[more]

The German newspaper “Die Zeit” helps to invalidate some of the more common misbeliefs of climate warming deniers:   1. Global warming has stopped since 1998: That’s only true if you look at the last 10-15 years because of an exceptionally warm 1998. But this period is just to[more]

Tar sand oil has a bad reputation. Its production destroys large expanses of land and requiring huge amounts of energy (emanating from fossil fuel) input, heavily pollutes the atmosphere adding to global warming. Transporting the oil to refineries and consumers threatens even more land and people. I[more]

Some interesting figures that are worth being noted. Biofuel production now consumes 40% of the US corn harvest. In terms of produced quantity, biofuels account for more fuel than the oil production of Libya. Biofuels become price competitive if oil costs more than 70 US$ / barrel – it has frequen[more]

In 2011 German house owner installed an amazing 7500 megawatts of solar power production capacity. Even considering that this is largely a theoretical figure, the number corresponds to the capacity of 7 nuclear power stations. Adjusted for population this would amount to a rather impressive 30 nucle[more]

Recently a study comparing attitudes to green development have come to some very interesting conclusions. Basically, many North Americans perceive green development, energy efficiency measures and environmental protection regulations as a burden for the economy; in short a luxury in tough times. Eur[more]

Chinas is now the worldwide biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). However, if we take into account the end-consumers of Chinese goods, the ranking looks notably different. After all, Chinese industries export a very substantial part of their production to western states. As pointed out recently[more]

In Switzerland a new report estimating total disposal cost of nuclear facilities reveals significant lack of available funds. Scrapping Switzerland’s five nuclear reactors and storing their rubbish will cost about 20 billion US$. While this figure already outstrips the capacity of the planed d[more]

The EIO’s new environmental tracking carbon index methodology deserves a short explanation because it highlights the complex ecologic, economic and political context of carbon ranking. First, one has to consider the multiple goals of the ranking: It aims both at measuring reliably and comprehe[more]

The recent publication of EIO’s environmental tracking (ET) carbon rankings highlighted the low level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission transparency particularly of Northern American companies. Now the corporate social responsibility (CSR) coalition, a group of financial institutions, NGOs and [more]

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) in London has published a new carbon ranking. In five major reports covering Europe’s, North America’s, Asia/Pacific’s and BRICS’s 300 as well as the Global 800 biggest companies, the British NGO sheds light (based on publicly a[more]

Europe, more in the headlines for the feeble response to its economic and currency woes, is taking up more speed when it comes to make airlines accountable for some their externalised environmental and societal costs. In a recent ruling the European Court of Justice confirms the EU commission’[more]

The UK has ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse gases  and Prime Minister James Cameron aims to lead the greenest government ever. However, a report of the OECD highlights some major inconsistencies in British environmental policies, namely in the way energy is taxed. While pushing for substanti[more]

The ”Carbon Disclosure Project” collects and publishes data concerning climate relevant behaviour of corporations. While this alone is not noteworthy, it gets interesting because more than 400 investors of multinational companies are relying on this database in order to make investment and coo[more]

The Czech republic, which relies on coal for more than 60 percent of its power generation, plans to build one of the biggest coal power stations in Europe. Its CO2 emissions will be 40 times bigger than the total CO2 emissions of the whole state of Micronesia. The small state, situated mostly jus[more]