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Production, distribution and access to food are being redefined by new and ongoing forces. Increased scarcity of natural resources, growing demand for food, changing nature of consumption and climate change are posing serious challenges to ensuring food security for the next decades. Still, we believe that the 9 billion of us in 2050 can be fed provided that we make the right decisions. Cross-sectoral innovation is essential, as well as changes to the current systems for producing, distributing and consuming food. Reforms are also crucial in the areas of agricultural support, food aid, trade liberalisation, support regimes for biofuels and intellectual property rights.
The current recession has bred profound uncertainty, also among economists. While electricity consumption has hitherto been considered a reliable indicator of macroeconomic growth, the example of China shows that what at first glance seems to be an obvious correlation may prove to be fallacious on closer inspection. The already widespread insecurity in this unprecedented crisis thus continues to intensify...
The latest meeting of the heads of state and government of the G8 in L'Aquila not only featured numerous guests (a further 31 countries and ten international organisations). It also resulted in many small steps being taken to advance the cause of global trade, climate protection, energy policy, development aid and other issues. For the past 35 years, the G8’s critics had no problem finding something to ridicule. Objectively speaking, though, Italy hosted probably its best summit ever in the history of the G8. Who would have expected that to happen?...
The US House of Representatives has presented a discussion draft on climate and energy policy. A decision is to be reached by year-end. The core of the new climate policy in the US will be the introduction of an emissions trading system. Greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by more than 80% by the middle of the century. Furthermore, the proposed legislation provides for greater incentives for renewable energies and low-carbon technologies than at present. Congress and the president will still have to resolve several allocation conflicts though to help ensure a successful launch...
Although the global automotive industry is in deep recession it does provide opportunities for innovative companies. For at the same time the automotive industry is set to undergo a revolution – with more vehicles being powered by electrical energy and running on alternative fuels. Carmakers and autoparts suppliers who, despite the poor economic circumstances, succeed in bringing energy-efficient vehicles onto the market that also satisfy customer needs with regard to price, design, comfort, safety and performance will emerge stronger from the crisis over the next few years.
Time and again, talk of green IT is dismissed as hype. This view is due to the fact that the term may easily be misinterpreted. However, regardless of these squabbles, the topics green IT actually addresses are so relevant for society that action has to be taken not only by those in charge of IT, but even more so by company strategists and government decision makers. Even though information technology is not green and never ever will be, green IT is anything but a short-term hype!...
Mechanical engineering is one of the sources of hope for the post-oil era as it opens up the opportunity for the industrialisation of new types of energy. For instance, mechanical engineering provides the basis for photovoltaics, which is granted the largest subsidies among renewables, to become gradually competitive. Furthermore, Germany is the world leader in the wind power sector. If Germany’s global leadership in state-of-the-art energy and environmental technologies finds greater public awareness, mechanical engineering will be an even bigger story.
Climate change harbours opportunities for construction and its ancillary industries because construction work is frequently needed to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings. More weather extremes are also likely to cause greater property damage going forward – and the associated clean-up and repair work, as well as preventive measures, will generate business for the construction industry and building materials suppliers. What is more, in the coming decades Germany’s power plants will require extensive investment. We sketch out three scenarios featuring differing degrees of environmental regulation and estimate the value of construction work occasioned by climate change and environmental policies up to 2030.
To enable the cogeneration of heat and power (CHP) to be a sustainable, growing pillar of Germany’s energy and climate strategy going forward, it is imperative to take the right steps now. These are the aims of the amendments to the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG) at present and to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in 2009. The issues at hand are energy efficiency and related challenges, the increasing decentralisation of our energy supply and ultimately the evolution of the nation’s power plants.
The United States – the world’s No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases for decades – are now debating a major policy shift from indirect approaches in tackling climate change to a cap-and-trade programme which would greatly reduce emissions: the Climate Security Act. If enacted, the world’s largest market for carbon trading would be established. What is more it would turn global climate diplomacy upside down, perhaps even opening up emissions trading across the Atlantic.