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Newsletter - 04/2009
Dear Friends! May 5th, 2009
Cities are the world’s primary contributors to greenhouse gas emissions – and yet they will be the first to suffer from the consequences of climate change, such as storms and rising sea levels. In its second meeting from April 16-17, the WFC’s Expert Commission on Cities and Climate Change discussed wide ranging possible solutions to this problem. The Commission has set a clear goal for itself: to find ways to enable cities to run on 100% renewable energy supplies. As a first step we are compiling a dossier on towns and cities that are already well on their way to achieving this objective.

Sustainable urban development is a hot issue – this became clear in a panel discussion in Hamburg on April 17th. Over 100 people came to participate in a dialogue with leading experts, among them Cities Commission members Prof. Peter Droege and Prof. Dr. Dieter Läpple.

As it does each month, this newsletter reports about the WFC’s recent
and upcoming activities. But for more detailed information about our activities over the last year you can now consult the 2008 Annual Report. It is available online hereand print versions can be ordered from the WFC Head Office. In addition, our 'Fact Sheets' provide information about individual WFC projects – they can be accessed here.

With best regards from the Board of Directors and Secretariat,

Herbert Girardet
WFC Director of Programmes

Commission Briefs >
Upcoming Events >
Recent Events >
Donor Information >
Media >


Councillor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger

Read more about Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger’s involvement in the WFC’s Future Justice work here.

Commission Briefs
Future Finance
On April 17th, GLS Bank hosted a round table discussion on the topic of 'future finance' in Bochum, Germany. Several European ethical banks participated and learned more about the Future Finance Expert Commission and its current projects and perspectives. An evening event was held for the WFC to present itself to GLS clients. More than 80 people turned up for the presentation and to discuss the WFC’s finance work.

At the annual conference of the international social finance association (INAISE) from April 22nd to 25th in Luxembourg, Commission Coordinator Stefan Biskamp had the opportunity to present the Future Finance Commission’s proposals to leading social banks. Members of the sector fully support the WFC approach focusing on eliminating perverse incentives in the financial system. This will decrease speculation without creating monster bureaucracies controlling the financial industry. Concerning customer education, mandatory warnings should be attached to speculative, risky or dangerous bank products. Taking heed from the food and tobacco industry, products should be classified transparently. As with the Fair Trade system, decent and fair financial products and investments should be labeled accordingly. You can see Stefan Biskamp’s presentation here and the Future Finance position paper by Jakob von Uexkull here.
Climate and Energy
The WFC’s Brussels office is currently preparing a report about the possibilities for enhancing Europe’s electricity grid networks. Why? The European Union has set itself the ambitious target of increasing the share of renewable energies to 20% of the total energy mix by 2020, yet current electricity transmission grids just aren’t powerful enough to handle increased loads. One answer is a “supergrid” of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power lines, which would rapidly and efficiently transfer electricity from dedicated renewable production zones to large consumer areas.
Cities and Climate Change
The WFC Expert Commission Cities and Climate Change held its second meeting from April 16th to 17th in Hamburg. It adopted an Action Plan for sustainable urban development. The document calls on national and local governments to develop road maps for a 100% renewable energy supply. The Cities Commission identified two main causes for the slow progress in switching to renewable energies: National governments fail to see the urgency of the issue and local governments do not have the power to act in energy matters. Consequently city governments tend to set the wrong financial priorities.
From left to right: Christian Maaß, Prof. Dr. Dieter Läpple, Stefan Schurig, Prof. Peter Droege , Prof. Herbert Girardet
As Commission member Nicholas You, Head of Strategic Planning at UN Habitat, says: “Renewable energies and energy efficiency measures are no luxury, but a survival strategy. The power of city governments has to be adapted to the challenges of climate change.”
Following the Commission meeting, the WFC organised a public panel discussion on sustainable cities. Panel members Prof. Peter Droege (Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy), Prof. Herbert Girardet (WFC Co-Founder), Christian Maaß (Council of State of the Department for Urban Development and Environment, Hamburg), and Prof. Dr. Dieter Läpple (Advisor of the Urban Age Network) discussed best policies for sustainable city development and Hamburg’s potential pioneer role as a green city.
In January, the WFC had the opportunity of co-organising an international youth forum on Education for Sustainable Development. The young people’s appeals were presented at the recent UNESCO World Conference, taking place in Bonn from March 31st to April 2nd. Hamburg, as an official City of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, invited World Conference delegates to the historic City Hall. On April 3rd, World Conference participants met members of the "Hamburg Learns Sustainability" initiative.
UNESCO delegates on tour with the WFC
In the afternoon, the World Future Council took delegates on a boat trip through the harbour where WFC Councillor Count Hans-Christof von Sponeck, Development Director Alexandra Wandel and Campaign Manager Ansgar Kiene presented them with an update on the WFC’s work.
Ansgar Kiene also participated in a panel discussion on climate change, organised by the City of Hamburg for young people interested in voluntary environmental work. On March 28th, a whole day of workshops, lectures and discussions provided participants with information on nature conservation, meteorology, and the social aspects of climate change among other topics.
To learn about all current councillor activities, click here.
Top upcoming WFC Events
Solar houses in Freiburg, Germany
May 15-16, 2009:
Meeting of the Climate and Energy Commission

From May 15 to 16, the WFC Expert Commission for Climate and Energy will meet in London. Topics to be discussed include the upcoming UNFCCC climate conference in Copenhagen, WFC efforts towards renewable energy uptake in Africa, and “financial crisis meets climate crisis”. WFC Chair Bianca Jagger and Councillors C.S Kiang, Tony Colman, Anders Wijkman, Nicholas Dunlop, and Kaarin Taipale have confirmed their participation.
May 11-20, 2009:
Councillor Frances Moore Lappé on book tour in Germany and Austria

Something not to miss: Frances Moore Lappé will present her newest book in seven German cities and in Salzburg/Austria. “Getting a Grip. Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad” is already on the New York Times "List of books that the US president should read". Read more here.
May 17-22, 2009:
Solar Fact Finding Mission to Spain

In cooperation with the American Solar Association SEPA the WFC has invited executives from US utilities to a Solar Fact Finding Mission in Spain. Participants will learn about the effects of feed-in tariffs and get to survey high-end solar power plants. Read more here.
May 20-24, 2009:
WFC at German Protestant Kirchentag

The WFC, including Councillors Vandana Shiva and Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger and Honorary Councillor Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker, will take part in several events at this year’s German Protestant Kirchentag in Bremen. 100,000 full-time visitors are expected to join the “festival of faith“, where a variety of topics ranging from inter-religious dialogue to civil engagement and prospects for change on a global scale are going to be discussed. Read more here.
WFC Councillor Vandana Shiva will speak at several Kirchentag events
Councillor C.G. Weeramantry will hold the keynote speech on May 28
May 28-29, 2009:
WFC at International Legal Symposium

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) will hold a legal symposium on Treaty Regimes in Practice:
Domestic Implementation of International Law on Sustainable Development
from May 28 to 29. CISDL Director and WFC Councillor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, WFC Chair Bianca Jagger, WFC Councillor C.G. Weeramantry and Campaign Manager Maja Göpel will participate. The WFC will host an official evening reception on May 28th, where the work of the Expert Commission on Future Justice and the new website are going to be presented to leading experts in sustainability law.
To read about all upcoming WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at
Top WFC Events in April
From left to right: Ambassador Boomgarden, MP Colin Challen, Lord Nick Stern
Towards a Global Green Recovery – Launch of new report by Lord Stern in German Embassy with Bianca Jagger
On March 30th, WFC Chair Bianca Jagger was invited as a special guest to the launch of Lord Stern's new report setting out recommendations to the G20 summit. Underscoring the WFC’s own demands, the report “Towards a Global Green Recovery” argues that a high proportion of the global economic recovery package should be directed at assisting a transition to a low carbon economy through green infrastructure, R&D, renewable energy and efficiency measures. In her response statement, Bianca Jagger welcomed the study, but pointed out that the underlying stabilisation targets have to be even more ambitious.
The report can be accessed here.
World Future Council informs US State Legislators about Feed-in Tariffs
As part of its renewable energy campaign in the United States, the World Future Council intensified its efforts to promote Feed-in Tariffs as the best policy option that supports the rapid and cost-effective deployment of renewable energy on the state level. Read more about events in Michigan, Oregon and Washington State here and see Policy Officer Bianca Barth’s presentation in Michigan here.
From left to right: Toby Couture, Dr. Subhendu Guha, Paul Gipe
International Conference on Cleaner Fossil Fuels
On April 6 and 7, WFC Policy Officer Ansgar Kiene participated in a conference on “Cleaner Fossil Fuels” in Abuja, Nigeria.
Speaking on the opening panel, Ansgar Kiene highlighted the need and opportunities for renewable energies in Africa – and the fact that fossil fuels can never be clean.
Promoting renewable energies in Lebanon
On April 27, WFC Climate and Energy Director Stefan Schurig spoke at the American University of Beirut (AUB). "Renewable energy makes a country safer because it makes it independent of others," Schurig said. He argued that investing in renewable energy would not only enhance energy security, but would also lead to more jobs and a better and healthier environment. Read an article about Stefan Schurig’s speech in the Daily Star here.
To read about all recent WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at
How to support us
To successfully continue its work, the World Future Council depends on partners and people willing to support its projects. If you are interested, please contact the World Future Council’s Director of Donor Relations, Lars Knöpke. You can read more about ways to support us here.

We are grateful for donations to:
World Future Council, GLS Bank, Acc. No.: 200 900 4000, Sort Code: 430 609 67
IBAN: DE70 4306 0967 2009 0040 00; BIC (SWIFT-Code): GENODEM1GLS
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Contact: World Future Council, P.O. Box 11 01 53, D-20401 Hamburg, Germany, Phone: +49 (0)40-30 70 914-0

The WFC gratefully acknowledges funding from the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr. Michael Otto/otto GmbH and Co. KG, and our other generous donors.