Headline: IASS Blog November 2022

The blog of the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) contains contributions from employees in all RIFS departments and covers a huge range of themes. In addition to discussing the latest research findings and events, the blog authors comment on political developments.

 

Excursion to Feldheim

A Renewables Frontrunner in Brandenburg

We like to think of Germany as a trailblazer in the transition to a sustainable energy system. But the energy crises unleashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have highlighted the shortcomings in Germany’s energy policy. The truth is that when it comes to the energy transition, successive governments have dragged their heels and wasted precious time. Undaunted by this, many towns and villages have taken things into their own hands and created carbon-neutral energy and heating systems that power their communities and more.

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Berlin Science Week

Haptic Hortus in Berlin

Plenty of people talk to their plants. But what about touching them? Tracing the veins on their leaves, caressing their stems, holding them, moving them? And what about the many ways that plants - from trees to shrubs to water lilies and flowers - touch us? At the recent Berlin Science Week, IASS fellow, anthropologist and artist Susanne Schmitt teamed up with community gardeners Prinzessinnengärten and natural building lab Dis+Ko to create a unique space: Haptic Hortus.

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Friedrichstrasse

Lessons for participatory urban planning

Seit 2020 ist ein Abschnitt der Friedrichstraße für Menschen zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad geöffnet und für dem Autoverkehr geschlossen. Das Berliner Verwaltungsgericht hat im Oktober verkündet, dass auf diesen circa 500 Metern der Friedrichstraße wieder Autos fahren sollen. Jenseits des Juristischen Streits dreht sich die Debatte darum, ob der Einzelhandel leidet, wenn Kunden nicht mit dem Auto kommen können. Aber diese Debatte greift zu kurz.

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Ocean Governance

Germany Calls for Precautionary Pause on Deep Sea Mining

Negotiations to regulate deep seabed mining are entering a critical phase with some states pushing back against the rush to mine the ocean floor. Germany has called for a precautionary pause on seabed mining. The Ocean Governance team at the IASS is supporting the development of high environmental standards to protect the ocean from harm that could be caused by seabed mining.

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Discussing future hydrogen geographies in Europe: a conversation that is overdue

The transition to renewable energy in Europe has evolved dynamically since the turn of the century. The share of renewable energy in the European Union more than doubled between 2004 and 2022. Nevertheless, renewable energy represents only 22 percent of overall energy consumption and 37 percent of electricity generation in the EU. In other words, Europe still has a long way to go, even when it comes to the relatively easy task of converting its electricity production to renewables.

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Energy transitions

The Politics of Just Transitions: Definitions Matter

Just Energy Transition Partnerships represent a novel approach to financing the energy transitions in emerging economies. Spurred by the announcement of the Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa at COP26, a host of other countries have since expressed interest in their own JETPs. Nonetheless, while COP27 may witness the announcement of several new JETPs, these partnerships will likely vary in scope, size, and ambition. This is especially true for “just transition” policies, which have real-world consequences for the inhabitants of recipient nations.

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