The Future of Nuclear Power and its effect on CO2 emissions


Economist: “Well-designed carbon prices can boost green power, encourage energy-saving and suppress fossil-fired power much more efficiently than subsidies for renewables.”

That’s pretty strait forward, but this is not what’s happening. If fact, it’s quite the opposite. Fossil fuels, as well as renewables are all subsidies in one way or another. Moreover, (most) economists have clearly emphasized that a carbon tax (perhaps even on product level and not on production level to also capture the carbon intensive transport system) would be much more efficient that most current policies. However, yet the developments look rather different – which is frustrating to most that follow the issue.

Since the turn of the century, global energy has become more, not less, carbon intensive. Take a major CO2 emiting fuel: Coal. It now supplies 41% of the world’s electricity and 29% of the world’s energy—a bigger share than at any time in at least four decades. (Though this is not the case in the OECD (around 18%), which I will focus on later.)

Continue reading The Future of Nuclear Power and its effect on CO2 emissions


Still incomplete – What happened in Paris will not stay in Paris

Will the world succeed in significant mitigation of GHGs?

The Agreement – what has actually happened in Paris?Paris agreement

Last week, an historic agreement was reached in Paris. The importance of this conference has also been addressed in previous blog post.

What the agreement did indeed was to strengthen –some may say establish- a climate change regime, as it establishes a long-term goal of net-zero emissions, a mechanism to review progress and increase ambition at regular intervals (every 5 years, which is a common way to do review processes of international treaties of all kinds), and a framework for climate finance. International regimes are commonly defined as “principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors expectations converge in a given issue-area.”[1]

Key provisions are therefore:

  • Transparency in and Review of Mitigations: States are to peak their emissions as soon as possible, plus achieving “net-zero” emissions by the half of the century. Furthermore, through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs – the World Resource Insitute provides us with this wonderful map to track all the contributions: ), the target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees, or even to 1.5 degrees Celsius, should be reached.
    • In the eyes of the well-infromed International Insitute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), the 1.5 target is possible. Joeri Rogelj, researcher at IIASA, says “Global emissions must peak as soon as 2020 if we are to limit warming to 1.5°C by 2100.”
    • However, some scientists are very sceptical if the 1.5 target is still feasible: an example: “We need stronger, short-term action,” said Steffen Kallbekken, research director at Cicero: “By the time the [INDCs] enter into force in 2020, we will have probably exhausted the entire carbon budget for the 1.5-degree target.”
  • Climate finance:Developed countries agreed in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion annually in financial assistance by 2020 for developing countries to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions while growing their clean energy economies. The Paris Agreement acknowledges this $100 billion as a minimum for climate finance to be reviewed and increased “before 2025.” The agreement balances public funding between mitigation and adaptation, increasing pre-2020 support for adaptation for the most vulnerable countries already suffering the impacts of climate change.

The Implementation – what will happen outside Paris?

Continue reading Still incomplete – What happened in Paris will not stay in Paris

UN Klimakonferenz in Paris als langfristige Lösung der Krisen im Nahen Osten

Ende dieses Monats beginnt eine der wichtigsten Konferenzen unserer Zeit. Sie wird auch entscheident darüber sein, welches Ausmaß Konflikte und Krisen in gefährdeten Regionen dieser Welt haben werden. Während die Europäische Politik Schlagwörter wie „Präventionslösungen“ oder „Lösen der Probleme vor Ort“ in den Raum stellen, um die Flüchtlingkrise in den Griff zu bekommen, haben sie bei der UN-Klimakonferenz in Paris die Möglichkeit dies zu tun.

Continue reading UN Klimakonferenz in Paris als langfristige Lösung der Krisen im Nahen Osten

Do we really need a World Energy Organisation?

In previous blog entries, the need for transforming the energy regime complex was discussed. This short essay further elaborates on what should be kept in mind when looking at the institutional framework.

In contrast to logic believe, the school of International Relations has hardly begun to think of institutional design as a valuable field of research and discussion. Mainly, because the sovereignty-based structure, in which states are (in theory at least) of the same hierarchical order, a higher order is barely intended. Or in the words of the father of constructivism, Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy makes the international system among the least hospitable of all social systems to institutional solutions to problems, encouraging actors to rely on power and interests instead”. But yet, Wendt continued “designing institutions has been a big part of what foreign policymakers actually do.”

For Policymakers: What should be considered in view of institutional design?

Opt for a World Energy Organization?

Continue reading Do we really need a World Energy Organisation?