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Newsletter - 09/2009
Dear Friends! 02/11/2009
Copenhagen made the difference! At the Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) marked the turning point and eventually agreed upon adequate measures to combat global warming. The industrialised countries acknowledged their main responsibility for climate change and committed to a drastic reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels and to sufficient financial compensation for developing countries. In return, the G77 states committed to take national actions to mitigate climate change.

The text above is unfortunately just an expression of hope. It is written in the spirit of faith in governments and the United Nations that recent scientific warnings about global warming proceeding at an even faster rate than predicted will be taken seriously. Unfortunately the gap is still huge between the scenario outlined above and what official representatives from the industrialised countries think is realistic. To bridge the current action gaps, the World Future Council will continue working directly with policy-makers around the world. Legislative frameworks need to be strengthened internationally through a strong climate agreement as well as nationally and regionally through effective policies. Within the next months, the World Future Council will further strengthen its promotion of renewable energies in the United States and some African countries, expand its policy recommendations on energy efficiency and on the role of cities in combating climate change.

We want to thank all of you who have been participating in this work and who are supporting the WFC also financially. We depend on this support to effectively carry out these activities!

All the best from Hamburg,
Stefan Schurig
WFC Director Climate and Energy

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Notes from the Council

Climate change and the depletion of natural resources are among the mega-trends of global change deeply impacting our lives. Future science can contribute to tackling these mega-trends in a long-term, holistic way as advocated by the World Future Council. Read Prof. Dr. Rolf Kreibich's reflections here.
Learn here about current Councillor activities.
Top upcoming WFC Events
Vandana Shiva in Berlin: “Soil not Oil”
WFC Councillor and Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Vandana Shiva, will present her most recent book “Soil not Oil” in Berlin on November 3rd. Shiva will discuss her book, which is called “Leben ohne Erdöl” in German, with Renate Künast, former German Federal Minister for Agriculture. This event is organised by the publishing house Rotpunktverlag and co-hosted by Brot für die Welt, Heinrich Böll Foundation and the World Future Council.
Details: November 3rd, 7.30pm, Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche, Zossener Str. 65, Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Hans-Peter Dürr at book launch in Hamburg
WFC Councillor, nuclear physicist and philosopher Hans-Peter Dürr will launch his latest book “Warum es ums Ganze geht” at HafenCity InfoCenter at Kesselhaus in Hamburg on November 19th. In this publication Dürr stresses the need for a change in paradigms and answers age-old questions: what do we know, what should we do, and what can we hope for? Details: November 19th, 7pm, HafenCity InfoCenter at Kesselhaus, Am Sandtorkai 30, Hamburg
Discussing supergrids: INSEAD’s 22nd Alumni Sustainability Executive Roundtable
Big scale solar power in Spain
The supergrid: A realistic vision for critical infrastructure enhancing energy security and enabling significant growth in renewables supply? High-level experts from politics, industry and civil society organisations will meet in Fontainebleau (France) on 16th and 17th November to assess this question and debate necessary steps to enhance Europe’s electricity grids as a prerequisite for a much higher share of renewables. WFC Councillor Nick Dunlop and WFC EU Director Dirk Hendricks will be on the panel to analyse the EU’s political and financial frameworks and advocate a practical approach to renewable energy and grids.
Cities and Climate Change: Conference and Commission Meeting
WFC Director of Programmes Herbert Girardet
The WFC Commission on Cities and Climate Change will meet in Hamburg from November 19th to 20th. Discussions will focus on the subject of 100% renewable energy for cities – a respective report will be published shortly. The results of the meeting will be presented to the public on November 20th by Commission members Herbert Girardet (WFC Director of Programmes), Prof. Peter Droege (Director Asia Pacific of the World Council for Renewable Energy), and Henning Thomsen (Practice Manager, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen). They will discuss with Dr. Michael Beckereit (Executive Director of Hamburg Energie).
The discussion at the HafenCity InfoCenter at Kesselhaus will be facilitated by Stefan Schurig, WFC Director Climate and Energy.
Just before the Commission meeting, the City of Hamburg as European Green Capital 2011 invites mayors of the world's big cities and climate experts to the Hamburg City Climate Conference.
The conference features WFC speakers Dr. Eric Martinot, Senior Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies and member of the WFC Cities Commission and Herbert Girardet. As Anja Hajduk, Hamburg Senator for Urban Development and the Environment, says: “On the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Conference, the Hamburg City Climate Conference will be a forum at which cities join forces to agree to share goals and formulate their input for the upcoming conference of nations – in full knowledge of the pivotal role played by cities in the future of our planet.”
To read about all upcoming WFC events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at
Top Recent WFC Events
Promotion of renewable energies in Africa
Prof. Sambo, Nigeria
In sub-Saharan Africa, only ten percent of the population have access to electricity. To change this in a sustainable way, the World Future Council plans to strengthen the promotion of renewable energies in Africa. At a strategy workshop in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the WFC brought together representatives of governments, utilities, business, and civil society. They discussed how political and technical barriers to the expansion of solar, wind and biomass energy can be overcome.
About 30 participants from Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa decided to found the African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA) to work more effectively towards a sustainable energy supply. At the International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC) in Abuja (Nigeria), many participants considered AREA an important step toward more cooperation.
Ansgar Kiene in Abuja
On October 14th, WFC Campaign Manager Ansgar Kiene spoke about "Renewable Energies for Sustainable Development in Africa" at the conference, which focused on legislation and policy requirements to promote renewable energy in Africa. To expand our work in Africa, we depend on donations. We envisage opening an office in Addis Ababa in order to continuously advise the African Union on climate and agricultural policy. If 100 donors give 2000 Euros each, a WFC office in Ethiopia can be opened and run professionally.
Powering a renewable world: WFC book launch in the European Parliament
"A Renewable World" in the European Parliament
As the first event of the new WFC EU lecture series, authors Herbert Girardet and Miguel Mendonça presented their new book “A Renewable World” in the European Parliament in Brussels on 13 October 2009. Members of European Parliament (MEP) Rebecca Harms (Greens), Sirpa Pietikäinen (Christian Democrats) and Vittorio Prodi (Social Democrats) hosted this book launch.
A wide range of participants attended and took part in the debate – including WFC Councillor Hafsat Abiola and WFC Advisor Anthony Simon. The Parliament is now two months into a fresh five year legislative period and much needs to be done to follow up and secure past successes such as the 2008 Renewable Energy Directive. In this urgent context, the authors explored existing opportunities to fight against climate change and put forward concrete recommendations for decision makers. Speakers and participants highlighted the necessity for strong solution-based policies to boost renewables and energy efficiency. Perhaps the biggest challenge, insisted Rebecca Harms and Sirpa Pietikäinen, will be to get broad support from the public.

Policies to guarantee healthy food for everyone
Climate change is already severely impacting food security worldwide – floods and droughts lead to hunger crises. This is one reason why one billion people are suffering from hunger today, more than ever before. However, innovative policies can counter this trend: The Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte has introduced a successful food security programme. This policy reduced child mortality by 60% in the last decade and was awarded the 2009 Future Policy Award by the World Future Council.
Ulrike Höfken, Willibald Meyer
Can German cities learn from Belo Horizonte? This question was discussed at a panel discussion in Hamburg on October 28th. Participants Ulrike Höfken (Chair of the German Parliamentary Committee on Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection), Steffen Henssler (Chef and media personality), Ute Hausmann (Executive Director of FIAN Germany), Susann Grünwald-Aschenbrenner (Foundation Mittagskinder), and Willibald Meyer (Mayor of Goldenstedt) agreed that access to healthy and affordable food for all citizens was not guaranteed even in the affluent city of Hamburg. Proposals how to change this included free school meals, following the example of Belo Horizonte. One central outcome of the discussions was that education on food is imperative – and that stigmatization of disadvantaged groups has to be avoided at all costs.
How to measure progress?
Close to 2,000 invited delegates from over 50 countries gathered from October 27th to 30th at the 3rd OECD World Forum on “Statistics, Knowledge and Policy: Charting Progress, Building Visions, Improving Life” in Busan, South Korea to discuss new measures how policies can secure wellbeing for all. A growing movement cutting across all political camps agrees that the state of our world today proves gross domestic product (GDP) as insufficient hallmark for progress.
The OECD Global Project held its third meeting on the topic and launched a new discussion platform for worldwide bottom-up participation. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz presented the report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Progress and Social Performance.
Rae Kwong Chung, Paul Dickinson, Anders Wijkman
Also presenting were WFC Councillors Anders Wijkman and Rae Kwon Chung, as well as Director Future Justice Dr Maja Göpel. Concrete political commitments to foster better information for the public and policy-makers include a OECD roadmap by the end of 2009, a commitment of the European Commission to establish “indicators relevant to the challenges today” by the end of 2010, and a revision of the Human Development Index in 2010.
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. You can read more about ways to support us here.

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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 & Co KG, and our other generous donors.