A successful and eventful year comes to an end. 2019 was a particularly environmentally and climate politically turbulent year – globally as well as in Germany. Time to look back on this inspiring time: We would like to give an outlook on these intense weeks and months:
Elections took place in Europe at the end of May 2019. This was a good time that the Europeanisation of the energy transition no longer has to remain a utopia. It has the potential for a new and realistic vision of progress that can give the "European idea" a future-oriented content.
The goal is clear: by 2050 Europe must be able to manage without fossil and nuclear energy in order to meet its global responsibilities. Available studies for the European Union and individual member states show that this vision is feasible and has many advantages: more jobs, greater security of supply, fewer premature deaths from air pollution, the reduction of resource conflicts, and falling energy costs.
A successful energy transition includes the transformation to a completely decarbonised, atomic energy-free and socially and economically compatible energy system. That's possible: Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, Jana Rasch, and Judith Schröder from the Wuppertal Institute as well as Dr. Daniel Lorberg from the University of Wuppertal in their published Wuppertal Spezial "The Energy Transition in Europe – a vision of progress" prove that this is feasible on the basis of numerous studies and practical examples. The authors take a critical look at the latest developments in European and German energy transition, the existing problem areas and, above all, the opportunities associated with a comprehensive energy transition.
The demonstrations of the Fridays for Future movement around the world also show that something has to be done now. For months, children and young people around the world have been demonstrating for climate protection and calling for a future that is compatible with the climate. The protests and the commitment of the young people were also omnipresent at the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25), which took place in Madrid from 2 to 15 December under the presidency of Chile.
Same as every year, the researchers of the Wuppertal Institute attended the conference and have now summarised the key outcomes of the negotiations. Their initial findings: once again, Madrid demonstrated the limits of consensus-based UN climate conferences. Despite tough negotiations, the decisions to increase ambition hardly went beyond what had already been agreed at Paris' COP in 2015.
The Wuppertal Institute organised a series of side events at COP25 to present its research projects and findings on site and to engage in discussions with delegates and practise partners.
By the way: In January, the scientists of the Wuppertal Institute will release an in-depth analysis of outcomes of COP25. The report will take a close look at the various issues addressed at the conference and at other related topics. Stay tuned: #MakingParisPossible!
Even though this year's COP ended disappointingly after a tough struggle and about 40 hours late, something is happening at least at European level: with the European Green Deal the European Commission decided, that Europe should become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To achieve this, the European Commission presented a very ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.
New research structure and dual scientific leadership
Not only the climate debate kept the Wuppertal Institute busy in 2019. This year, the strategic further development of the Wuppertal Institute's organisational structure was successfully implemented and now consists of four divisions divided into 13 research units, each with a clearly outlined scope, within four divisions. By expanding its scientific leadership, the institute is now taking a further step towards strengthening its management. With the new research structure and dual scientific leadership, the Wuppertal Institute is positioning itself to face the challenges of the years ahead.
From 1 January 2020, Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, up to now the Vice-President of the Wuppertal Institute, will take on its joint scientific management alongside Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind as co-directors of the institute.
We take this swing with us into the upcoming year and wish you happy holiday season and a great New Year! We are looking forward to an inspiring year 2020, in which we will strengthen our topics within the new research structure. For the trust placed in us and the pleasant cooperation, we would like to thank you very much.
Swing with us into the year 2020!
Christin Hasken & Anna Riesenweber