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Newsletter - 1/2010
Dear Friends! 03/02/2010
The beginning of 2010 was challenging! The Copenhagen Climate conference marked a huge failure in the history of international climate negotiations. As if that weren’t enough: In early January the IPCC had to put out a statement admitting that their prediction that big parts of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was erroneous. In fact, it is great news that the suspected negative impacts for hundreds of thousands of people will be greatly deferred or may actually never occur if we manage to stop the melting of the glaciers. However, the IPCC error is misused by climate sceptics as “proof” that the climate change threat is not real.

This of course is far from the truth. The pace of the meltdown still remains the same. Many recent scientific reports suggest that the general IPCC predictions about the speed and consequences of global warming are far too optimistic. In fact, global warming is accelerating and the international response is totally inadequate.

Fortunately, there is more to stopping climate change than UN negotiations and international agreements. National efforts are equally important. The WFC therefore has always devoted most of its resources to working with national parliaments and policymakers. The results of our work are remarkable and an affirmation of this strategy.

In 2010, the WFC will be intensifying its work on climate yet again. For example: In order to assist African countries to develop a sustainable energy sector we will soon open a new office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. And, depending on further funding, various Parliamentary Hearings and workshops on Renewable Energy will take place this year as well.

With best regards from Hamburg,
Stefan Schurig
WFC Director Climate & Energy

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The illustrated WFC book „A Renewable World“ shows that it is possible to build a just and sustainable world. You can now download the chapters for free.
Spreading Good Policies: Focus on Energy Work in the USA
Apart from China, the USA is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. In order to avoid climate change from becoming catastrophic, Americans will have to reduce their emissions massively – by reducing energy consumption as well as by scaling up renewable energy production.
That the uptake of renewable energy can be boosted by political instruments has been proven by the success of Feed-In Tariffs in countries such as Germany and Spain. By increasing the share of renewable energy to 15 % with the help of a Feed-In Tariff, Germany has not only greatly reduced its emissions but also created nearly 200.000 jobs.
In order to achieve the same in the US, the World Future Council actively advocates the introduction of Feed-In Tariffs on the city, state and federal level. The movement is gaining momentum with the states of Vermont and Washington and the cities of Sacramento (California) and Gainesville (Florida) already having introduced Feed-In Tariffs.
This year, the WFC plans to intensify and expand its work in the US, convincing state and federal policy-makers of the need to speed up renewable energy uptake.
Donate online and help us to help the US to reduce their emissions!
Upcoming WFC events in February
Panel Series in EU-Parliament looks into sustainability concepts
EU sustainability concepts were put to the test in the first session of a joint panel series of the WFC and Bertelsmann Stiftung in Brussels on January 13th. The second panel discussion, which looks at sustainable development indicators for economies, will take place on February 3rd.
Panellists include WFC Councillor and former member of European Parliament Anders Wijkman. The results of this evening will give direction to the third event on February 23rd, where panellists will suggest the frame for a future EU Sustainable Development Strategy. Detailed information to the events can be found here.
FIT-Workshops in Michigan and Massachussets
The WFC will hold two workshops in the US, providing political decision-makers and employees of the energy sector with the opportunity to become familiar with Feed-In Tariffs. Bernard Chabot, expert in energy economics, will point out details to be considered when regulating tariffs for different types of renewable energies. The two events in Lansing (Michigan), and Boston (Massachussets), which are held in cooperation with Sierra Club and Meister Consultants Group, will be followed by similar training sessions across North America.
WFC Events in December and January
IMF takes up WFC suggestion
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn took up a World Future Council proposal for financing the fight against climate change. He suggested the creation of new Special Drawing Rights for IMF members. In Copenhagen the World Future Council had introduced this approach for "Breaking the Funding Deadlock" and discussed it with the special representative of the IMF to the UN. Read the WFC’s press release.
"Powering the Green Economy" – Book launch
On the evening of January 21st, WFC research manager Miguel Mendonça presented his most recent book on Feed-In Tariffs in Washington, DC. "Powering the Green Economy" analyses the structuring of Feed-In Tariffs and points out what technical conditions have to be met for their implementation and how they affect society.
Renewable Energy briefing in Washington
The WFC and Congressman Jay Inslee organised a briefing on renewable energy policy in Washington, DC, on January 21st. In a packed briefing room speakers discussed current and proposed policies, best policy practices and market experience. Congressman Inslee explained his plan to re-introduce the federal Feed-In Tariff bill with a new section on federal financing for municipal Feed-In Tariff projects.
What happened in Copenhagen?
Climate, financing renewables, bio-sequestration: Find out about the World Future Council's press conference and side events at COP 15 in Copenhagen.
Read more about WFC's current events.
Councillor Activities
Anders Wijkman honoured by EREF
WFC Councillor Anders Wijkman was honoured as “outstanding European” by the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF) for his exceptional work in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In an interview Wijkman commented: "The next challenge is to get the same progress in developing countries. Today two billion people lack access to modern energies but now there are alternatives."
Ashok Koshla and Wangari Maathai part of "Earth Keepers"
In his short documentary "Earth Keepers", the Canadian eco-activist Mikael Rioux gives voice to seven visionaries, among them WFC Councillor Ashok Koshla and WFC Honorary Councillor Wangari Maathai. In just two minutes the film illustrates a number of urgent problems and gives food for thought.
IZT develops scenarios for integrated sustainability policies
The Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT), directed by WFC Councillor Rolf Kreibich, was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety to draft a scenario for the differentiation and development of an integrated sustainability policy. As a result, the ministry’s stakeholders shall be better linked and hitherto separated thematic fields shall be integrated. The topic of the scenario is “Sustainable City 2030”.
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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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.