CARICOM Celebrates Energy Week, Energy Centre Inauguration

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Nov 142015

IISD Reporting Service, 14 NovemberCARICOM.logo

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) hosted the fifth CARICOM Energy Week (CEW) under the theme ‘EmPOWERING Our Sustainable Development.’ The annual awareness-raising event highlights the importance of energy for economic development in the region. To mark CEW, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was inaugurated, and a baseline report for the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) was released.

CEW was held 8-14 November 2015, with CARICOM member States hosting events, such as panel discussions, site visits to renewable energy projects, the Electric Mobility Show and Conference, and activities with local schools. The Week also featured contests, such as a radio pop quiz with prizes, kilo-walk, energy app competition, video competition, and photo and art competition.

In conjunction with the Centre’s inauguration, the Worldwatch Institute launched the C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment, which analyzes the region’s current energy policy framework, evaluates renewable energy and energy efficiency potential, and suggests regional short-, medium- and long-term targets for the energy sector. Among the recommended targets are achieving 48% of electricity generation from renewable energy by 2027 and a 33% reduction in the region’s energy intensity.

[Full article here]



PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD: Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap

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Dec 012014

JUST PUBLISHED: Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap (free report)

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Dec 012014

HaitiSERMatthew Lucky, Katie Auth, Alexander Ochs (Project Director), Xing Fu-Bertaux, Michael Weber, Mark Konold, Jiemei Lu | November 2014

Haiti’s electricity sector stands at a crossroads. Haiti depends on imported petroleum for 85% of its electricity generation, diverting 7 percent of its annual gross domestic product to importing fuel. Still, only 25% of the Haitian population has regular access to electricity, bringing barriers to advances in economic opportunity, health, education, and social equality. Yet, according to the Worldwatch Institute’s new Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmapreport, tremendous opportunities and actionable solutions exist to build an electricity system that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

The Roadmap is the culmination of years of intensive investigation and analysis into the potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in Haiti. For example, only 6 square kilometers of solar photovoltaic panels would be able to generate as much electricity as Haiti produced in 2011.  The study compares the full economic and societal costs of Haiti’s current electricity sector and its business as usual development to that of alternative pathways and concludes that Haiti will benefit immensely if it relies more heavily on renewable energy sources and less on fossil fuels. Continue reading »

Study on the Development of the Renewable Energy Market in Latin America and the Caribbean (free report)

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Nov 222014
Project Director: Ochs, AlexanderIDB study
Date: November 2014

The region of Latin America and the Caribbean is already a global low-carbon leader in terms of power generation from hydrological and biomass resources, and it recently has made great strides in developing its other renewable energy sources. Declining costs, maturing technologies, and vast untapped potentials for renewables offer an unprecedented opportunity for further development of the renewable energy market in the region. Continuing to invest in renewables will provide Latin America and the Caribbean with the opportunity to address key economic, social, and environmental challenges in the energy sector.

[Please find the study here.]

A new sustainable energy model

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Aug 212012

Alexander Ochs, Director and Katie Auth, Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute welcome a new energy model, and encourage governments to undertake Sustainable Energy Roadmaps.

Climate change and the reliable, affordable supply of energy are among the most pressing issues we will face in the twenty-first century. Despite recognition of these unprecedented collective challenges, the international community has so far failed to take
aggressive action. Fortunately, signs point to the appearance of a new paradigm – fuelled in part by the growing efficiency and plummeting costs of renewable energy sources. Facilitating a shift to clean, low-carbon societies does not mean sacrificing
economic or human development. On the contrary, it increasingly represents our only way to attain both.

Already, people around the world are dealing with the effects of changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and biodiversity loss – with negative implications not only for the environment, but also for human health and well-being. Commonwealth countries, located across a wide geographic range, will face a broad array of climaterelated impacts. These include changes in the distribution of fish stocks, the melting of Arctic ice, coastal flooding, and drought. It is vital that Ministers within the Commonwealth take heed and look for sustainable solutions.

[Find the whole article, published in the 2012 Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book, HERE]

Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy Subsidies on the Rise

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Aug 212012

Alexander Ochs, Eric Anderson, and Reese Rogers | Aug 21, 2012

A recent projection places the total value of conventional global fossil fuel subsidies between $775 billion and more than $1 trillion in 2012, depending on which supports are included in the calculation.1 In contrast, total subsidies for renewable energy stood at $66 billion in 2010, although that was a 10 percent increase from the previous year.2 Two thirds of these subsidies went to renewable electricity resources and the remaining third to biofuels.3

Although the total subsidies for renewable energy are significantly lower than those for fossil fuels, they are higher per kilowatt-hour if externalities are not included in the calculations. Estimates based on 2009 energy production numbers placed renewable energy subsidies between 1.7¢ and 15¢ per kilowatt-hour while subsidies for fossil fuels were estimated at around 0.1–0.7¢ per kWh.4 Unit subsidy costs for renewables are expected to decrease as technologies become more efficient and the prices of wholesale electricity and transport fuels rise.5

Globally negotiated efforts to reduce fossil fuel subsidies have been hindered by competing definitions of subsidies. Calculation methods also vary. The common price gap approach to calculating consumption subsidies uses the difference between the observed domestic prices of energy and the world market prices as an estimate of the impacts of a country’s policies on market prices.6 Some oil exporters, however, argue that production cost rather than market price should be used as the baseline.7 The difficulties in accurately measuring data are compounded by the lack of transparency among countries with regard to energy subsidies.8


[For full access to the complete trend and its associated charts, log in to Vital Signs]

United States climate policy: what’s next? epa regulations as an alternative pathway to comprehensive federal action?

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Dec 012011

Camille Serre (Sciences Po), Emmanuel Guérin (IDDRI), Alexander Ochs (Worldwatch) 

Working Paper published by IDDRI, Worldwatch Institute & SciencePo, December 2011,

The United States finds itself in a schizophrenic situation: its domestic climate policy has clearly been in a stalemate since the Congress failed to adopt comprehensive climate and energy legislation in 2010. On the  other hand, U.S. delegates confirmed the target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels at the  Cancún UN climate summit in December 2010. How then will the U.S. fulfill its international obligations without being able to reach a consensus at home? While climate policies at state and regional levels show some encouraging signs, the extent to which the diffusion of climate initiatives across states could gain momentum is still uncertain.

Shifting back from a market-based approach to a command-and-control approach, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations seem to be the only viable improvement at the federal level. The EPA set exante GHG emissions standards for a given pollutant by industry sector, based on available and cost-efficient technologies. And it also provides not directly GHG-related regulations which could indirectly help the U.S. curb its GHG emissions trajectory.

Yet, in a highly politicized context, EPA regulations are only a second best option, which cannot make up for comprehensive Congress-adopted climate policy in the long-run: it is doubtful that they can alone manage to trigger a relevant infrastructure change. Technological and emissions standards are one piece of the required policy mix, and should be backed up by complementary policies. But in the current tense, partisan and unpredictable context, no clear investment signals can be sent to shift to a low-carbon economy.

[Find the whole paper HERE]

Länderperspektive: Die Vereinigten Staaten

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Nov 012011

von Alexander Ochs

aus: Nina  Netzer und Judith Gouverneur (Hrsg.), Zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit – Internationale Perspektiven vor der Weltklimakonferenz in Durban, FES Perspektive, November 2011

1. Zusammenfassung

Viele Beobachter halten eine führende Rolle der USA für notwendig, um dem Klimawandel wirkungsvoll Einhalt gebieten zu können. Schließlich sind die Vereinigten Staaten der weltweit zweitgrößte Emittent von Treibhausgasen (THG), erst kürzlich überholt von China, das mehr als viermal so viele Einwohner hat. Außerdem könnte das Land eine wichtige Rolle als politischer Antreiber und technologischer Pionier spielen. In ihren eigenen Ambitionen im Klimaschutz orientieren sich viele Länder an den USA, oder benutzen die amerikanische Passivität als Vorwand für die eigene Untätigkeit. Zügige und massive globale Emissionsminderungen setzen demnach erhebliche Minderungen seitens der Vereinigten Staaten voraus. Doch die Vereinigten Staaten werden dieser Verantwortung bisher nicht gerecht. Sie galten zu beinahe allen Zeiten und unter allen Regierungen des Landes in den letzten 20 Jahren, seit der Klimawandel zum ersten Mal auf der internationalen politischen Agenda auftauchte, als Bremser internationaler Anstrengungen.

Nachdem es dem US-Kongress Mitte des Jahres 2010 abermals nicht gelungen war, ein umfassendes Klima- und Energiegesetz zu verabschieden,3 waren die Erwartungen an die 16. Konferenz der Vertragsparteien (Conference of the Parties, COP) des Rahmenübereinkommens der Vereinten Nationen über Klimaänderungen (United Nations Framework Convention on Climat Change, UNFCCC) im Dezember des vergangenen Jahres in Cancún eher gering. Dennoch wurden trotz einiger wichtiger Streitfragen, die in den Verhandlungen weitgehend außen vor blieben, Fortschritte erzielt. COP 16 endete mit der Annahme eines Pakets von Beschlüssen mit dem einen Ziel, Anpassungs- und Minderungsmaßnahmen sowohl in den entwickelten Ländern als auch den Entwicklungsländern zu unterstützen.4 Was darf man in Anbetracht der jüngsten Entwicklungen von den Vereinigten Staaten bei der im November/Dezember 2011 anstehenden COP 17 erwarten?

[zum Volltext]

Value of Fossil Fuel Subsidies Declines; National Bans Emerging

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May 012011

 By Alexander Ochs and Annette Knödler  |  Vital Signs, May 11, 2011

Gobal fossil fuel consumption subsidies fell to $312 billion in 2009 from $558 billion in 2008, a decline of 44.1 percent.[i] The reduction is due primarily to changes in international energy prices as well as in domestic pricing policies and demand, rather than because the subsidies themselves were curtailed. The number also does not include fossil fuel production subsidies that aim at fostering domestic supply, which are estimated at an additional $100 billion globally per year.[ii]

Fossil fuel consumption subsidies include public aid that directly or indirectly lowers the price for consumers below market price. The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines energy subsidies as “any government action directed primarily at the energy sector that lowers the cost of energy production, raises the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers.”[i] Common means of subsidizing energy include trade instruments, regulations, tax breaks, credits, direct financial transfers like grants to producers or consumers, and energy-related services provided by the government, such as investments in energy infrastructure or public research.[ii] Many observers believe that fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out because they reduce the competitiveness and use of cleaner, alternative energy sources .

Please find the full article [here].

Mapping the future: Why bidding farewell to fossil fuels is in our interest – and how it can be done

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Dec 082010

Developing efficient, sustainable energy systems based on renewable energy and smart grid technology is not only an environmental necessity: it is a social and economic imperative. We rely on fossil fuels for more than 85 per cent of all energy we use and pay a high price for our dependency, on all fronts. An overhaul of the way we produce, transport, store, and consume energy is underway and an improved energy world is emerging, slowly. Intelligent policies based on concise roadmaps will get us there faster.

cover_ClimateAction_2010People around the world are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels, melting glaciers, storms, droughts, and floods – these natural processes, artificially intensified by global warming, will affect agriculture, fishing, transportation, and tourism to an ever greater degree. Changing ecosystems and landscapes, biodiversity losses, the surge of tropical diseases, and food and water shortages will lead to economic and welfare losses on an unprecedented scale should climate change remain largely unabated as it is today.

The cost of fossil fuels is unjustifiable

Even if we take climate change, which has been called this century’s greatest challenge, off the table for a moment, transitioning our energy systems is a socioeconomic imperative. For a host of reasons, our reliance on fossil fuels comes at an unjustifiably high cost to our economies. First, the burning of coal and petroleum pollutes our air and water. China, for example, estimates that addressing its pollution and pollution-related health problems swallows up to 10 per cent of its total annual GDP. Imagine if the country could put these huge resources into addressing pressing social needs!

[Please find the full article here. It has been published in UNEP’s Climate Action 2010 book; please find the whole book here.]

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in China: Current Status and Prospects for 2020

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Oct 202010

Over the past few years, China has emerged as a global leader in clean energy, topping the world in production of compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar water heaters, solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, and wind turbines. The remarkable rise of China’s clean energy sector reflects a strong and growing commitment by the government to diversify its energy economy, reduce environmental problems, and stave off massive increases in energy imports. Around the world, governments and industries now find themselves struggling to keep pace with the new pacesetter in global clean energy development.


Chinese efforts to develop renewable energy technologies have accelerated in recent years as the government has recognized energy as a strategic sector. China has adopted a host of new policies and regulations aimed at encouraging energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy deployment. Taking lessons from its own experience as well as the experiences of countries around the world, China has built its clean energy sector in synergy with its unique economic system and institutions of governance. At a time when many countries still struggle with the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, the Chinese government has used its strong financial position to direct tens of billions of dollars into clean energy— increasing the lead that Chinese companies have in many sectors.

Among other initiatives, the Chinese government has taken strong action to promote renewable energy, establish national energy conservation targets, and delegate energysaving responsibilities to regions. Key legislative actions include the national Renewable Energy Law, which entered into force in January 2006, the national Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy, launched in September 2007, and the Medium and Long-Term Energy Conservation Plan, launched in November 2004.

Although per capita energy use in China remains below the international average, it is growing very rapidly, spurred recently by the infrastructure-intensive government stimulus program launched in late 2008. Even with efficiency advances, demand for energy is expected to continue to rise in the coming decades. Chinese energy consumption is currently dominated by coal, and the major energy-consuming sector is industry. Improving the efficiency of energy use and enhancing energy conservation will be critical to ease energy supply constraints, boost energy security, reduce environmental pollution, “green” the economy, and tackle the climate challenge.

[Please find more on this Worldwatch report 181 which I co-authored with a group of Chinese and US experts, here]

Low Carbon Development in India: Challenges and Opportunities

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Sep 132010

Discussion paper by Shakuntala Makhijani and Alexander Ochs

In preparation for its September 13, 2010 workshop bringing together leaders in Indian low carbon development, Worldwatch conducted interviews with twenty top experts in the field to gain a sense of the current state of thinking and frame the debate for the event. The set of questions were aiming at insights from ten issue areas: challenges to low carbon growth, whether low carbon development is in India’s interest, emissions pathways, the National Solar Mission, the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, policies for sustainable business models, opportunities in infrastructure, technology and IPR, international competitiveness and finally international leadership. For better illustration of the arguments given, we added a table on future emission scenarios as well as a summary of the government’s National Action Plan on Climate Change to this document.

Download the full paper [HERE}.

Implications of a Low-Carbon Energy Transition for U.S. National Security

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Aug 302010
Yttrium, a rare earth element
Yttrium, a rare earth element
Climate change and the secure supply of energy are among the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. The problem is immense: While global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still on the rise, they will have to be halved by the middle of this century in order to prevent the most dangerous effects of global warming. And while energy-related emissions are already responsible for the largest share of GHG emissions, global energy demand is estimated to rise by 50 percent or more between now and 2030.

Climate change and energy security can be seen as Siamese twins insofar as they can only be sustained with concern for one another: 80 percent of global energy supply is produced from fossil fuels which, in the United States, Europe, Japan and other important U.S. ally countries, are increasingly imported and therefore are at the core of their increasing energy dependence. The burning of fossil fuels also emits CO2, and energy-related CO2 emissions are responsible for about 60 percent of man-made climate change.

The security impacts of climate change and our dependence of fossil fuels have been much debated. It is in the national interest of the United States to address both issues vigorously. There has been little academic and political discussion, however, about the security impacts of a transition of our economy to one that is built on a low-carbon energy foundation. What are the foreseeable material input demands and what human capacities are needed for such a transition? This paper addresses these questions under a particular scenario in which the United States commits to GHG reductions as party to an international climate change agreement.

 [Please find the full version of this draft policy paper here. Comments are highly appreciated]

Glacial Melt and Ocean Warming Drive Sea Level Upward

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Jul 232010

in Vital Signs, 22 July 2010vitalsigns-logo

The average sea level around the world has risen a total of 222 millimeters (mm) since 1875, which means an annual rate of 1.7 mm.1 (See Figure 1.) Yet at the end of this long period, from 1993 to 2009, the sea level rose 3.0 mm per year—a much faster rate.2 An estimated 30 percent of the sea level increase since 1993 is a result of warmer ocean temperatures that cause the water to expand (thermal expansion).3 Another 55 percent of the increase results from the melting of land-based ice, mainly from glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.4 (Sea ice that melts does not contribute to sea level rise, as the volume remains constant.)5 The other 15 percent of the rise is due to changes in terrestrial freshwater dynamics, such as wetland drainage and lowered water tables.6

Ocean warming and land-based ice melt have happened in tandem with other climatic changes during the last century. These changes include rising atmospheric temperatures, acidification of ocean waters, and changes in seasonal water cycles—all of which are linked to a dramatic increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Prior to the industrial revolution, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide—a major greenhouse gas—was steady at around 280 parts per million (ppm).7 Since then, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes have boosted this concentration to over 385 ppm, nearly a 38-percent increase.8

The world’s oceans absorb 80–90 percent of the excess solar radiation trapped on Earth by greenhouse gases.9 But because the ocean’s mass is so much greater than the atmosphere’s, the oceans warm at a slower rate. From 1969 to 2009, atmospheric temperatures rose 0.36 degrees Celsius while the temperature in the upper ocean (the area down to 700 meters) rose 0.17 degrees.10 (See Figure 2.)

[Read the rest of the article in Vital Signs]

Towards a Global Green Recovery – Supporting Green Technology Markets

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Sep 212009

Two major global challenges – the financial crisis and climate change – make it urgent to rally the world behind the idea of a “green new deal” or a “global green recovery.” The financial crisis puts renewable energy projects and business at particular risk. The recession has caused a drop in energy and carbon prices that reduces the market competitiveness of clean technologies. In addition, the tightening credit markets mean that cleantech initiatives, which frequently face high capital costs and higher risk premiums, are struggling to find the necessary funding.

The risk of stagnation is especially disruptive to the cleantech industry as it comes on the heels of a rapid growth period prior to the financial crisis. In Germany, the cleantech sector grew 27% between 2005 and 2007, employed almost 1.8 million people, and now accounts for more than 5% of industrial production. From 2002 to 2007, global new investment in sustainable energy grew nearly 16-fold, from an annual US$7.1 billion to US$112.6 billion. The financial crisis created a severe investment shock in the cleantech sector, with new-investment levels in the first quarter of 2009 just under half what they were one year earlier.

This is absolutely the wrong time for a lull in cleantech investment. The International Energy Agency estimates that about 540 billion US dollars must be invested annually in renewable energy and energy efficiency if climate change is to be maintained at or below a 2°C increase in global average temperature. A significant expansion in investment will be required to reach these levels, with about 80% of the investment needed in just three key sectors: electrical power, transportation and buildings.

Several proven policies for expanding cleantech investment already exist, including feed-in tariffs, risk-mitigation policies, green-procurement policies, and government R&D spending, to name just a few. The key challenge for policy makers in trying to support the establishment of clean-technology markets is how to accelerate the implementation of these measures by obtaining the necessary funding and spending public monies wisely in a way that leverages the private sectors’ capability to shoulder the bulk of the needed investment.

To help G20 nations overcome these challenges, the German Federal Foreign Office asked Atlantic Initiative – a think tank on international politics and globalization based in Berlin and Washington, DC – to develop specific and actionable policy recommendations on how to provide effective international support to green technology markets and push the issue in the G20 framework. It was suggested that Germany, the UK and the US should be the main targets of these recommendations as they are well positioned to take a joint leadership role in setting the right incentives for a global green recovery and future growth path building on the idea of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge and taking into account London’s role as the G20 host. I was a co-author of the report. Please find it here.

Towards a Global Green Recovery – Supporting Green Technology Markets

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Aug 262009

Atlantic_CommunityAtlantic Task Force recommendations to the Policy Planning Staff of the German Federal Foreign Office

26 August 2009

Final Report

Prepared by the Atlantic Initiative, Berlin

Authors: Jan-Friedrich Kallmorgen, Aaron Best, Alexander Ochs

Please find the full report [here].

Europa Riding the Hegemon? Transatlantic Climate Policy

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Jul 282008

Alexander Ochs & Detlef F. Sprinz

Prominent and committed supporters of friendly transatlantic relations have identified climate change as the most important global problem in this century. To counteract major impacts of climate change requires cooperation among the major emitters of so-called greenhouse gases or agreement on compensation for impacts. Since 2001, the U.S. has abandoned the international treaty architecture of the Kyoto Protocol which is presumed to be a first step in the direction of limiting global climate change. Since much of the rest of the world – but not all – countries have subscribed to the architecture of the Kyoto Protocol, a major rift has arisen between Europe and the U.S. with the former being a fervent defender of the architecture and the latter designating it as unworkable and against its interests. In this article, we will investigate the history of transatlantic climate policy and relations, the major items of contention, as well as options for a rapprochement on global climate change.

2008 Book Chapter in Hegemony Constrained: Evasion, Modification, and Resistance to American Foreign Policy, edited by D. B. Bobrow

2005 Ridgway Center Working Paper

Overcoming the Lethargy: Climate Change, Energy Security, and the Case for a Third Industrial Revolution

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Jul 112008

Climate change and the secure supply of energy are among the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. The problem is immense: While global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are currently rising faster than at any given time before, they will have to be halved by the middle of this century in order to prevent the most dangerous effects of global warming. And while energy-related emissions are already responsible for the largest share of GHG emissions, global energy demand is estimated to rise by 50 percent or more between now and 2030. The key problem we are facing is that our economic system, as it has developed since the second industrial revolution, is fundamentally built on the consumption of fossil fuels. If we do not succeed in altering the ways we produce and use energy, we risk running into a catastrophe open-eyed. AICGS Policy Report #34

From Mars and Venus Down to Earth: Understanding the Transatlantic Climate Divide

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Jun 252008

Josh Busby & Alexander Ochs

We examine the sources of the transatlantic climate divide between the US and Europe. First, we take up the proposition that differences in the material conditions of the US and Europe are responsible for the dustup over global warming. We argue that relative power positions do not determine a nation’s choice of broad climate policy approaches. Moreover, we emphasize that mitigating climate change will ultimately require wrenching policy adjustments for both the US and Europe. While there may be short-run differences in cost profiles, these should not pose such a hindrance that careful policy design cannot overcome them. Next, we evaluate the claim that a difference in values or culture is responsible for the rift. A highly oversimplified version of the argument holds that Europeans just care about climate change more than the Americans. We find evidence for this to be mixed. We suggest that differences between the US and Europe derive not so much from material interests or cultural values but from different political systems that shape the interests and values that have influence on policy. America’s political system permits certain interests—namely climate skeptics and business interests—to exercise veto power over external environmental commitments. European decision makers, by contrast, face environmental movements more capable of exercising influence over electoral politics. The interaction of the two systems internationally has hobbled global climate policy cooperation. Negotiations are complicated by inadequate sensitivity to each other’s internal political conditions. Better understanding of each other’s domestic politics and more careful institutional design of climate change policies may yet overcome these obstacles. 2005 SAIS-BROOKINGS BOOK CHAPTER

Auf der Suche nach neuen Verbündeten: Neue Führungsmächte als Partner deutscher Klimapolitik

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May 092008

Die wissenschaftliche Beweislage zum Klimawandel ist erdrückend. Erste Auswirkungen sind weltweit spürbar. Dass der Mensch die Hauptschuld an der Klimaveränderung trägt, steht dabei außer Frage. Die Verbrennung fossiler Energien, die Abholzung großer Waldgebiete sowie bestimmte landwirtschaftliche und industrielle Verfahren setzen Emissionen frei, die den natürlichen Treibhauseffekt der Erde immer weiter verstärken. Gelingt es nicht, die großen Volkswirtschaften zu reformieren – und dazu ist in den Worten des Bundesumweltministers nicht weniger nötig als eine „dritte industrielle Revolution“ – drohen im besten Fall unwirtlichere Lebensbedingungen, im schlimmsten eine Katastrophe kaum mehr kontrollierbaren Ausmaßes. Für die Problembekämpfung wird neben den Großemittenten des Nordens das Verhalten einiger zentraler Akteure der südlichen Erdhalbkugel maßgeblich sein: Bekommen China, Indien und Mexiko ihre explosionsartig steigenden Emissionen in den Griff? Wird der Waldschutz in Brasilien und Indonesien seinen notwendigen Beitrag zum globalen Klimaschutz leisten? Können Südafrika und Südkorea ihre fast vollständig auf fossilen Trägern basierende Energiegewinnung reformieren? Und wird die Blockademacht Australien künftig den ihr angemessenen Verantwortungsteil leisten? Die Bundesrepublik hat sich in den letzten Jahren als Lokomotive der internationalen Klimadiplomatie etabliert. Ein klimapolitischer Dialog Deutschlands mit wirtschaftlich und politisch aufstrebenden Staaten des Südens wäre einer Fortsetzung dieser Führungsrolle in einem immer wichtiger werdenden Politikfeld und damit der Profilbildung als Weltordnungspolitik mitgestaltende Mittelmacht äußerst dienlich. Im Erfolgsfall – wenn es also gelingt, neue Nord-Süd-Koalitionen im Klimabereich zu schmieden – könnte ein lang ersehnter Durchbruch in der globalen Klimagovernance gelingen.

BUCHKAPITEL in Günther Maihold/Stefan Mair (Hg.), Kooperation Deutschlands mit Führungsmächten des Südens, SWP/Nomos: September 2008