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The traditional, global power plant order is in a state of flux for a myriad of reasons. There is no doubt that in the days following Fukushima it was premature to predict a rapid end to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Over the next 20 years the newly erupted gas vs. coal contest in the electricity market will not produce a single “global winner”. Whereas in the US gas continues to assert its dominance, in Asia coal remains the no. 1 source of energy. The power generation landscape is becoming more colourful: while Germany is banking on renewables, France is sticking with nuclear power generation and other nations retain their preference for coal. The continuing increase in the thirst for electricity over the next 20 years provides sufficient scope for the coexistence of the most diverse power generation alternatives.
The EU is poised to make decisions on the level of CO2 emissions from new passenger cars. The target for 2020 of lowering average CO2 emissions to 95 g/km is ambitious, but not out of reach. The target value already requires significant electrification of the drivetrain in the luxury segment in particular. Given the uncertainties surrounding technological progress and how costs of say e-mobility will develop, it is risky to set more ambitious limits for 2025 already today. Generous super-credit weightings would help accelerate the market penetration of low-carbon propulsion technologies.
The former Portuguese colony has developed from an agriculture-based economy into one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s main oil and mineral producers and its third largest economy, with strong growth potential. Relative political stability after a 27-year civil war ending in 2002, high foreign investment (current FDI inflows are estimated at USD 15 bn) and strong government spending have propelled Angola onto a robust growth path: annual real GDP growth has averaged 11% over the past decade, it is estimated at over 8% in 2012 and around 7% in upcoming years. The government has embarked on a series of reforms towards economic diversification and more inclusive growth
The energy turnaround can only be implemented if companies and households use energy more efficiently. This is the political consensus. In the framework of the energy turnaround, there are concrete targets: for example, energy consumption is to be reduced by 50% by 2050. Politicians are seeking to reduce energy consumption in the transport sector by 40% and primary energy consumption in buildings by 80% until 2050. The refurbishment rate of existing building stock is to be raised from currently below 1% to 2% per year. These are ambitious targets.
Is there a global rush for farmland? Which countries are of interest, to whom, and what are the main drivers? Can it contribute to food security? What are consequences for host countries? We discuss in this paper risks and opportunities associated with foreign investment in farmland as well as ways forward - at a time when there is a strong case for private investment in agriculture.
Germany's energy turnaround targets objectives that far exceed its legislated, accelerated exit from nuclear power generation. The turnaround will pave the way for municipalities and municipal utilities to enter new spheres of activity in terms of energy provision, the heating market and the transport sector. Considering the immense investment required it becomes obvious that the municipalities' and utilities' budget constraints are the biggest bottleneck for the regionally essential energy turnaround. Therefore, when decisions are made on resource allocation the crucial issue should be which measures do the most to implement the revised energy policy as a whole. In this context it has to be borne in mind that ecological, economic and social objectives are not compatible with one another per se.
German feed-in tariffs (FITs) for the generation of electricity from renewable sources, under the Act on Granting Priority to Renewable Energy Sources (“the EEG”), are entering their third phase of existence. In Phase One (2000-2009) German policy focused overwhelmingly on scaling up domestic renewable electricity generation; during this period, degressions in FIT rates were modest and adjustments to the EEG occurred at regular intervals...
Corn, wheat and soybean prices skyrocketed in June-July although they have slightly decreased in the past few weeks. In July, the cereals price index of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) went up 17% to reach 260 points, close to the record high of 274 points reached in spring 2008 (the peak in April 2011 was 265). The overall food price index climbed 6% in July to reach 213 points, still far from the peak of 238 reached in February 2011.
Some food prices are on the rise again, especially soybeans and meat. The FAO food price index increased in the first quarter of 2012. While it decreased slightly in April, it is now only 7% lower than the peak of 2011. There are key factors exerting pressures in both directions. Higher oil prices, adverse weather conditions and strong demand from Asia have pushed global food prices up. However strong production outlooks – driven by increased plantings and bumper crops – act in the opposite direction. Africa remains vulnerable. Food prices have sharply risen in the last months in some Asian countries but Africa is the main region of concern, especially the Horn of Africa. A new food crisis is emerging in the Sahel region, with multiple causes including drought, chronic poverty and conflict.