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The Environmental Audit Committee in the UK’s House of Commons looked at the governmental structures in place to deal with climate change and found them ineffective. In its new report “Structure of Government and the Challenge of Climate Change“, it recommends that the government create a cross-government Office of Climate Change and Energy and a… » read more

One of the tragedies of our times is that countries which are lifting themselves out of poverty are doing this by making exactly the same mistakes Western economies made in the past. For all the talk in political circles of our current development not being sustainable, nobody really seems to give a shit. Like lemmings… » read more

“Not an environment scare story” is the ironic title of the Independent’s coverage of the fourth Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) assessment published by the United Nations Environment Programme on 25 October. The report makes indeed for some pretty dire reading. Climate change, population explosion, declining availablity of water, biodiversity loss, growing pollution… » read more

Several speakers at the “post-carbon society” conference organised by the Commission’s DG Research on 24 October underlined the need for stronger regulatory action to deal with the twin challenge of climate change and energy security. IEA chief economist Fatih Birol presented “a flavour” of the upcoming World Outlook 2007 (which will be presented in London… » read more

The United States is the country that is always assumed to be the gung-ho cowboy in the world; always ready to pick a fight. It casts a shadow over the fact that every step of the way, European nations such as England, the Netherlands and various Eastern European nations… they too have joined the various… » read more

The United States is the country that is always assumed to be the gung-ho cowboy in the world; always ready to pick a fight.  It casts a shadow over the fact that every step of the way, European nations such as England, the Netherlands and various Eastern European nations… they too have joined the various… » read more

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol might have been useful as a symbol for governments’ commitment to act against global warming but it has failed to reverse the trend or bring greenhouse gas reductions. This is the analysis of two British scientists writing in Nature this week. “Kyoto was always the wrong tool for the nature of… » read more

Jewish Genealogy

A good friend from Chicago is visiting me in Amsterdam. Lately we have frequent conversations about his ancestors, many of whom came from Poland, escaping during world war 2. Many more of them did not escape and were sent to their deaths at concentration camps. As we spoke, I looked over his shoulder at the… » read more

A good friend from Chicago is visiting me in Amsterdam. Lately we have frequent conversations about his ancestors, many of whom came from Poland, escaping during world war 2.  Many more of them did not escape and were sent to their deaths at concentration camps. As we spoke,  I looked over his shoulder at the… » read more

Whither EU-China relations?

The EU-China relationship has entered a worrying period. Beijing needs to take seriously European concerns, particularly when expressed by the EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, who has consistently resisted protectionist pressures and has been seen as friendly disposed towards Beijing. The EU sells more goods to Switzerland than to China. […]

A new report published this Monday morning by the German Energywatch group says global oil production peaked in 2006 and will know a steep decline. It predicts future oil production in 2020 at 58 million barrels per day and in 2030 at 39 million barrels. The world economy now uses about 85 million barrels. The German authors… » read more

The third P, at last

Sustainability reports usually have long chapters on the environmental and economic aspects, but struggle to address the social dimension. Therefore, I was encouraged to read yesterday’s press release that the ‘Commission promotes the social dimension of the Energy Community’. Stop here for the moment, and reflect what defines the social dimension.

Recent cases of insufficient safety of products on the market created turmoil on the ability of the European regulation framework to protect citizens from shortcomings in products. This inevitably goes along with calls for improvements and proposals for measures to achieve that. We strongly believe that better market surveillance is the best way to move… » read more

The German Chancellor’s meeting with the Dalai Lama caused strong negative reactions in Beijing. Why did Merkel hold this meeting? What does it mean for Sino-German relations? The meeting can now be viewed with the warm reception in Washington of the Dalai Lama this week when President Bush presented hm with the Congressional Gold Medal.… » read more

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