Germany’s Role in Climate Policy

A short history of climate action in Europe’s economic powerhouse

We need to understand the history of climate action as we plan for the future. In terms of climate leadership, Americans tend to think of California. At the global level, however, Germany has its own claim to a leadership role, particularly in its early support for renewable energy. It has helped to shape EU climate …


“What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Using current climate policies to address future political barriers to more stringent policy

Countries around the world are struggling with the political and policy challenges of developing effective tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize their economies.  (See coverage here for Canada, and here for Australia.)   Moreover, even these policy proposals are as of yet inadequate to accomplish the goals of limiting climate change to below two …


Germany-California Climate Cooperation?

Lecture By Winfried Kretschmann, Baden-Württemberg Minister-President, tonight at UC Berkeley, could be a start

Germany and California represent two global leaders when it comes to addressing climate change. For example, Germany has been on a renewable energy spree, despite its relatively minimal solar insolation, while California has committed to reducing greenhouse gases and incubating emerging clean technology industries, like energy storage, electric vehicles, and renewables. But at the sub-national …


Ten Energy Stories to Watch in 2014

What will shake the energy world this year?

In our energy law classes at Cal, we like to start the day by talking about Energy in the News. The media never fails us. Every day, there are multiple energy-related stories of significance touching on resource development, new technologies, policy shifts, jobs, regional politics, prices, international relations, or the environment. Once you start looking …


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Coal

Coal is in the news these days.  Coal is, of course one of the most abundant fossil fuels in the world.  It is also one of the dirtiest, both from a conventional air pollution standpoint and from a climate change perspective.  Conventional coal-fired power plants emit, for example, about double the carbon dioxide that combined …


Cheap Solar Provides Some Reason for Climate Optimism

Solar energy is getting really cheap.  And that fact could alter the landscape of energy production and the course of climate change in ways we can only begin to imagine today. One of the conundrums of climate change  is trying to predict the future.  This difficulty in prediction may be especially true with respect to …