In Focus

National Security Means Addressing the Climate Crisis

When it comes to national security, the climate crisis is just as – if not more – threatening than traditional concerns like conflict and war. How can Germany embrace climate action?

COP27 showed us why tackling climate-related insecurity matters

More than ever before, this year of natural disasters, compounded by wars and a global energy crisis, has brought the security threats that come with climate change to the fore. At COP27 the state of global insecurity was left largely unaddressed within the official negotiations. However, the crucial debates around climate reparations for vulnerable countries have parenthetically strengthened the case for preventive action, which is an important entry-point to tackle climate-related insecurity.

Putting the Spotlight on the Climate-Migration-Nexus

People have migrated in response to changing environmental conditions throughout human history. However, with human mobility (encompassing among others migration, displacement, and relocation) now a growing focus of research, there is increasing recognition that climate change, natural disasters and environmental degradation are important factors in migrants’ decisions and forced realities to leave their homes.

The US and EU must support climate loss and damage action

From unprecedented flooding in Yellowstone National Park to historic wildfires right outside of London, climate change once again directly altered many people’s lives in the United States and Europe this summer. Yet climate change still disproportionately affects vulnerable nations that have contributed least to the problem, a fact made devastatingly clear by the ongoing flooding crises in Pakistan and Sudan, for example, where more than 30 million people have been displaced and where disease and widespread hunger now threaten further losses.

The gateway drug for carnivores

Plant-based meat alternatives cause less damage to the environment and climate. Substitute products can also help convert people who are sceptical of vegetarian food. By Lena Domröse and Ulrike Knörzer

Start thinking today about how to secure hydrogen imports tomorrow

Even under optimistic assumptions, Europe is likely to need significant amounts of imported energy, mostly hydrogen and derivatives, like synthetic fuels and ammonia, to become climate neutral. So now is the time to start thinking about how to secure the EU’s future import needs.

Bringing Plastics into Focus

Finally, states are beginning to negotiate a global agreement on plastics pollution. Plastics pollution occurs at a global scale, so it clearly and urgently requires a global solution. It is an ever-growing problem that embodies the ills of our economic system: Linear production and consumption models based on fossil fueled growth with devastating effects on human health and the environment. A whole lot is at stake in the negotiations. And the time frame is very ambitious. Will states live up to the challenge?

Advancing Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia

Asia’s economies continue to grow, resulting in environmental degradation and pressure on natural resources. The EU’s SWITCH-Asia programme seeks to support sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns. Since 2008, adelphi has played a role in these efforts in various ways.

De-mystifying the groundwater crisis: future-proofing a sustainable groundwater management

Despite its many benefits, the contribution of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) to water security at the global level is still limited. To help reduce risks associated with MAR, adelphi trained stakeholders and accelerated the use of an innovative web-based, real-time monitoring and control system. An insight into adelphi’s work.

Pulling on the same rope: what European climate dialogue can effect on the ground

To achieve their climate goals, many cities look beyond their own horizons and seek exchange in networks. How does this translate into tangible and long-lasting impact? Over three years, adelphi led the cooperation among 34 municipalities within the project Bridging European and Local Climate Action (BEACON). Here are selected impact stories.

Climate change in Germany: urgent action needed at multiple levels

How will climate change affect the environment, our health, everyday lives and economy in Germany? Where can we reduce climate risks through adaptation? And where do we urgently need to do something?

On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, adelphi explored these questions in a research consortium and summarised the results in the Climate Impact and Risk Assessment 2021 (KWRA). KWRA 2021 analyses the connections between the individual effects of climate change in Germany in a comprehensive, detailed manner. The study provides an extensive picture of climate risks and identifies adaptation measures.

The time has come for a global plastic treaty

There are increasing signs that negotiations on a global agreement on plastic pollution will begin in February 2022. In an article published in the journal Science, we and other experts present three key objectives and a number of supporting actions that such an intergovernmental agreement needs to effectively fight the flood of plastic.

Ecosystem Restoration: Bringing nature back without going backwards

The 5th June, World Environment Day, is the official launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This stronger focus on “bringing back what we have lost” reflects expectations from civil society [1] and could indicate the start of a much-needed increase in political ambition to solve the climate and biodiversity crisis.

How to measure carbon pricing potential? A framework (not just) for Asia

Global net zero emissions by mid-century – the ambitious but necessary target required to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It forms the backbone of the 2015 Paris Agreement and now also many countries’ climate trajectories, policies and, increasingly, laws. 

Celebrating a true European achievement: the Natura 2000 network of protected sites

With its Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the EU has demonstrated its ambition to address the climate crisis and protect our biodiversity and natural heritage. Such ambition and a clear vision are crucial and the EU has taken an important step in focusing its strategy on “green development” and sustainable use of natural resources. However, especially for biodiversity, it is the practical implementation locally, in EU member states, that will ultimately make the difference for nature and people.

Carbon Pricing and the European Green Deal: What is the deal?

In December 2019, the European Commission launched its masterplan for a sustainable future: the European Green Deal (EUGD). This set of policy initiatives touches upon virtually every part of the bloc’s economy and is Europe’s overarching strategy for long-term prosperity, green growth, and recovery in a post-pandemic world. Its most prominent objective is to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Achieving this goal will require all parts of the Green Deal to come together. But one policy approach will be relevant across the board: putting a robust and just price on carbon emissions.

How emissions trading systems have fared in a pandemic year

The Covid-19 pandemic has left its mark on the year 2020. Its effects on global CO2 emissions have been widely discussed. But how have emissions trading systems fared, both existing and in development? The yearly status report by the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) takes a detailed look.

Supply chain law: What companies need to know

On March 3, 2021, the German federal cabinet passed the draft of a national due diligence law. adelphi played a significant role in the consultation and research on corporate due diligence in supply and value chains. The new law represents a critical first step, and now additional action must follow in order to establish effective corporate due diligence for the long term.

Voluntary offsetting: credits, allowances, or is there room for both?

Have you considered voluntarily offsetting your carbon footprint? If like many individuals and organizations you have, then you are probably aware of emission reduction credits. Recently another option, namely the use of allowances from emissions trading systems, has also attracted attention. A new report by adelphi and Öko Institut commissioned by UBA compares the two options and finds each may have a distinct role to play.

Climate neutral hydrogen from the USA: an alternative to LNG

With the Biden administration, Germany will be able to strengthen its energy transition cooperation with the USA. Based on a new study, Raffaele Piria of adelphi and Kirsten Westphal of the German Institute of International and Security Affairs (SWP) argue in an article for the German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel that green hydrogen offers Germany and the US the opportunity to develop a discourse on transatlantic energy trade that is compatible with their respective climate ambitions.

Living in harmony with nature: What does that mean, and how do we get there?

In the “super year” for biodiversity, countries are set to negotiate a “new deal for nature” in October 2020. Here are biodiversity experts’ three recommendations for a narrative that helps mobilize action on biodiversity.

Wise management of water is key in tackling the climate crisis

Climate change challenges water security – and water security increases climate resilience. The topic of the World Water Day 2020 “Water and Climate Change” aims to highlight the immense impact that climate change will have on the availability of clean water – but also the crucial role that wise water management plays in adapting to and mitigating climate change. adelphi investigates the complex interdependencies between water management and climate change and provides advice for policy-makers and practitioners to enhance climate resilience.

Business and Human Rights

Human rights must also be the business of businesses. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the necessity of systematic risk management that ensures health and workplace protections and makes the danger of infection manageable. Thus, there is an increasing demand for German companies to take responsibility for the state of human rights and environmental standards in their supply chains as well. Collaboration at the industry level offers a lot of potential for increased compliance. A new study analyses which human rights risks warrant attention, what German businesses are already doing to address human rights violations and what challenges they need to overcome.

The Open Society – an Interview with Alexander Carius in polis Magazin

Issues like the climate crisis and the fear of social change are having major effects on our society. There is a growing sentiment of distrust for political institutions. Alexander Carius, Managing Director of Berlin-based think tank adelphi and co-founder of the Open Society Initiative, explores these issues in an interview with the German magazine polis.

‘Digitalization makes electronic waste a hot issue for the whole world’

Tablets, smartphones, TVs – every year, people around the world produce several million tons of electronic waste. ‘International E-Waste Day’ on October 14 draws attention to this enormous amount of waste and the associated pollution. In the following interview, Morton Hemkhaus explains the solutions.

Germany’s vulnerability to climate change: heavy rain in focus

Extreme weather events will continue to increase in Germany. How vulnerable we are depends on a variety of factors, and vulnerability assessments help to explore these factors. Urban areas, for example, are especially affected by heavy rainfall. In new research, adelphi examines the current state of heavy rain preparedness in Germany and formulates recommendations for adaptation strategies – strategies relevant to individual citizens as well as the public and private sectors.

‘We need to talk about more than just nightmare scenarios’

Do the AfD, FPÖ and other right-wing parties deny climate change? How do you convince voters to do something about global warming? Alexander Carius from the Berlin think tank adelphi responds in an interview with Oliver Das Gupta (Süddeutsche Zeitung - SZ).

"The circular economy is still in its infancy"

With Global Recycling Day, the world marks the significance of the circular economy for a sustainable future. Where do we currently stand in the transformation? In an interview, Morton Hemkhaus explains where we've made progress and what problems remain to be solved.

„International climate policy has once again gotten away with it“

Almost 200 states have agreed on measures to limit global warming in Katowice, Poland, after a two-week marathon of negotiations. The state representatives participating at the Conference of the Parties (COP24) agreed on a 156-page rulebook on Saturday night, listing measures and controls to limit the global rise in average temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius.

Paris is working! Good news from the climate policy implementation area

A climate policy year full of negotiations is entering its final spurt. The finish line is marked by the Paris rulebook, the contours of which are still blurred even after a week of final negotiations at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

Right-wing populism and climate policy in Europe

In a current study adelphi is investigating how right-wing populist parties in Europe behave in the field of climate change.

Rerouting taxes to price carbon in a socially and ecologically just manner

With its mixed record, Germany is no longer at the forefront of climate policy. What is missing above all is a clear price tag on carbon emissions that encourages climate-friendly behaviour among consumers and manufacturers. By Constanze Haug, Johannes Ackva, Toby Bernstein, Alexander Eden and Andreas Schneller.

Landkreise – die stillen Helden des Wandels

Standen bislang vor allem Städte im Fokus der Klimaschutzpolitik Deutschlands, so wird zunehmend das Handlungspotenzial von Landkreisen erkannt. Sie bieten den Schlüssel zur regionalen Ebene im Klimaschutz und erweisen sich bei näherer Betrachtung als wahre Helden des Wandels.

"The costs of the status quo of water management in Central Asia are very significant"

The costs of the status quo of water management in Central Asia are very significant, and every country in the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – loses out from lack of cooperation over water. In an interview with NEXUS, Benjamin Pohl describes how much better Central Asia could do through closer water cooperation.

Planetary Security Conference ends with 6 recommendations for action

This year’s Planetary Security Conference set a concrete agenda for action on climate and security with the launch of The Hague Declaration. The six-point plan, which has been signed by almost 80 high profile experts in the field, from ministers to ambassadors, mayors, generals and academics, seeks to move the agenda from knowledge to action.

Digital change must be designed sustainably

Self-driving cars, robots performing surgeries, algorithms issuing verdicts — all of this is to become possible through the increasing connectivity of our world. Digital change permeates and transforms our society. How we understand and shape this change will have a significant impact on how we will evolve as a society and whether we will be able to deal with the great environmental and development challenges of our time.

Lake Chad Risk Assessment Project

The Lake Chad Basin is currently suffering one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises with approximately 10.7 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The Lake Chad Risk Assessment Project is a concerted effort to address critical knowledge gaps on climate and fragility risks in the region.

Four ways to help save the planet with more sustainable supply chains

With globalization under attack now more than ever, companies — supported by governments, consumers, and civil society — need to show in a convincing manner that they can manage their supply chains in an effective way and act like responsible global citizens, writes Daniel Weiss in his blog post for Devex.

Why wastewater? Don’t let it go down the drain!

This year’s theme for World Water Day is wastewater – and rightly so: globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused, entailing major health risks and causing significant environmental pollution. Elsa Semmling points out three insights that could improve the situation in developing countries.

Energy efficiency financing in Europe on test

A year ago, adelphi and its partner started to support local banks across the EU through capacity building measures within the scope of the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency programme. Now it's time for the project team to share experiences made and to reflect on the challenges of energy efficiency finance in Europe.

Negotiating the future of international chemicals governance beyond 2020

250 delegates are discussing the future United Nations framework to deal with hazardous chemicals and waste in Brasilia. Nils Simon (adelphi) spoke to stakeholders about why we need an enhanced framework and how it should look like.

Integrating Climate & Water Diplomacy For Rivers

The Mekong River is vital, serving more than 66 million people. As the changing climate is likely to intensify water-related challenges in the river basin, more time and resources are needed to support adaptation. But instead the Mekong River Commission (MRC) is seeing funding cuts. Sabine Blumstein shares three reasons for more climate diplomacy in her recent article for China Water Risk

We need a global treaty on plastics. Here’s what it should look like.

There is a strong economic argument for taking on the plastics challenge: Not only are environmental and health damages of untreated plastic pollution extremely costly, there is also huge savings potential, writes Nils Simon in an article for ensia

Paris oblige: Germany must lead the G20 on climate and energy policy

With Donald Trump threatening to back away from climate action, Germany needs to save the Paris momentum. A clear roadmap must thus be developed for turning away from fossil fuels and creating an equivalent renewable energy substitute, write Lina Li, Julia Melnikova and Dennis Tänzler in a recent blog post for Thomson Reuters News.

China in international climate politics: a U-turn?

China is deeply engaged in shaping the international climate regime, and is engaging in domestic climate actions and an energy transformation. However, even the most optimistic observers would call Paris just a first step. In this regards, China still has a lot more homework to do, says Lina Li (adelphi) in her blog article for the IPG Journal.

Climate policy outside the comfort zone

As long as international climate negotiations did not move forward, they served as a convenient alibi for insufficient climate change mitigation. Now there's no longer any excuse for the international community's inaction, note Dennis Tänzler and Rocio Garcia in advance of the climate conference in Marrakesh (COP22).

Habitat III in Quito – where the future of cities will be decided

In 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. This enormous growth means that the equivalent of a new city for one million people will have to be built every week. How this extraordinary social and ecological challenge can be met will be discussed at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) from 17th to 20th October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.

Why urban planners make a difference in achieving social cohesion in times of diversity

Cities are not only growing in population, but also becoming increasingly diverse and ethnically heterogeneous. Franziska Schreiber explains the pivotal role of urban planners in fostering social cohesion and advancing sustainable urban development.

What country do we want to be?

The refugee issue and the threat of terrorism both raise the same question. A nationwide debate was set off on the 27th November 2015 that is seeking answers in all the larger cities in Germany.

The Paris Agreement - Climate Diplomacy as a Learning Process

The new global pact to fight climate change has the potential to be a global solidarity contract for the 21st century. This will occur if the demands to promote decarbonisation and strengthening of resilience are pursued equally, immediately and systematically during implementation.

adelphi at COP21: Join us in Paris!

From 30 November to 11 December 2015, adelphi's experts on carbon markets, climate diplomacy, climate finance, local climate action and more were in Paris for all of the COP21 discussions, including several key events.

Climate risks and fragility

When climate change exacerbates conflicts and crises, resilience must be the compass for foreign policy. A report to the G7 Member States identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks and recommends concrete actions to address them.

Vulnerability and Adaptation

Flooding, storms, droughts, heat waves – all are clear forewarnings of the possible effects of climate change. It is apparent that emerging economies and developing countries are worst affected. Yet industrialised nations increasingly need to adapt to changing climatic conditions

Water Diplomacy

Water diplomacy is crucial for preventing conflict and harnessing the benefits of cooperative water management. On Sept 3 2014, adelphi released an expert report at the World Water Week on how to enhance hydro-diplomacy.

Sustainability Entrepreneurship

Sustainability entrepreneurship contributes to solving social and environmental problems, particularly in emerging and developing countries. adelphi supports the development of sustainable business models.

Efficient and economic energy usage

Growing demand for energy has led to increasing prices. To expand the range of fossil fuels by alternative energy sources will take time and money. Improving energy efficiency, on the other hand, is a faster and cost-efficient solution.