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About this book

Experts from business, academia, governmental agencies and non-profit think tanks to form a transnational and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the combined challenges of environmental sustainability and energy security in the United States and Germany.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Introduction: Environmental Sustainability in Transatlantic and Multidisciplinary Perspective

Introduction: Environmental Sustainability in Transatlantic and Multidisciplinary Perspective

Abstract
Building a sustainable society is a major challenge of the 21st century. Striving to become the world’s first major renewable energy economy by 2050, Germany is widely considered a global front-runner in environmental policy and practice. Requiring large investments in green technologies, as well as in new power lines and energy storage systems, the German shift from fossil fuels and nuclear power towards renewables amounts to a veritable ‘energy revolution’. What are the challenges and opportunities of this transition toward a more sustainable future? How did Europe’s largest economy come to embrace an energy challenge that has been compared to the first landing on the moon? And most importantly, is the German experience transferable to other industrialized nations such as the United States?
Manuela Achilles, Dana Elzey

Broader Contexts of Sustainable Development

Frontmatter

1. Putting a Price on the Plant: Economic Valuation of Nature’s Services

Abstract
Artificial trees. What will they think of next?
Mark White

2. International Trade and the Environment: Does Globalization Create Havens of Pollution?

Abstract
The day was 30 November 1999. Thousands of protesters gathered in Seattle for a massive anti-globalization demonstration. The National Guard was called in to contain the masses and so was the riot police. The protest would turn out to be one of the most significant in the United States since the civil rights marches of the 1960s. The protesters formed a loose coalition of national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with the environment and consumer protection, of labor unions such as the American labor movement represented by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and of religious and other groups. The protesters were marching toward the Washington State Convention and Trade Center where the third ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was held. On the WTO’s agenda was a new round of international trade negotiations that would include trade liberalizations in agriculture and services as well as questions of intellectual property rights protection. The anti-globalization protests quickly overshadowed the official negotiations and made clear the need for a broader public debate about globalization and its effects. The Seattle protests focused the world’s attention on many questions that, at least in the United States, had been lingering since the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) negotiations of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which aimed to liberalize trade and investment between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Peter Debaere

3. New Directions in Green City Building

Abstract
The year 2008 witnessed a remarkable event: for the first time in the globe’s history more humans lived in cities than that haven’t. It is a truism now to describe planet Earth as the urban planet, but the realities of that fact have not sunken in and the fields of urban planning and design have not kept up with the special urban challenges we are facing today. There is much to do, many pressures and problems to face in navigating this global urban transition, and an ever greater need to re-imagine what cities are or could be, and to muster the creative new thinking and practice that is emerging. The trends are daunting: By 2070 some 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Innovation, resilience and sustainability can guide this new global urbanism, and there are many new ideas and emerging examples that will help show the way.
Timothy Beatley

Germany’s Energy Revolution

Frontmatter

4. The German Green Party: From a Broad Social Movement to a Volkspartei

Abstract
The history of the German Green Party is one of profound and frequent change. It is also a story of remarkable achievement. Compared to its sister parties in other European countries and beyond, the German Green Party has been the most successful in terms of both elections and government participation. The Greens have been able to pass important pieces of legislation, thus shaping and driving Germany’s relatively progressive environmental, energy and climate policies. Looking back at their history, it is clear just how far the Greens have come. Despite facing profound challenges such as the loss of their political mandate in the first post-unification federal election in 1990, the Greens evolved from a heterogeneous political group into a goal-oriented, professional party capable of forming governments with different political partners at both the regional and federal level.1
Arne Jungjohann

5. Germany’s Ecological Tax Reform: A Retrospective

Abstract
After months of heated political debate, the German government adopted a new Energy Concept in September 2010, setting out a broad framework for federal energy policy until 2050. Elaborated by the ruling center-right coalition, this document aims at turning Germany into one of the ‘most energy-efficient and greenest economies in the world while enjoying competitive energy prices and a high level of prosperity’.1 In line with a campaign pledge set out in the government’s coalition agreement, the Energy Concept defines ambitious objectives for the medium and longer term.2 Energy pricing through taxes and charges has traditionally held a prominent position in the German energy policy mix, and will also be central to achieving the targets adopted with the new Energy Concept.
Michael Mehling

6. ‘Nuclear Power? No, Thank You!’: Germany’s Energy Revolution Post-Fukushima

Abstract
When on 11 March 2011 the 9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and resultant tsunami crippled the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, thus sending several reactors into core meltdown, the German outcry against nuclear energy was almost unanimous. On Saturday, March 12, some 60,000 people demonstrated against the continued operation of one of the country’s oldest nuclear power stations by forming a 45-kilometer human chain from the power plant to the regional capital. Two days later, more than 100,000 demonstrators took to the streets in 400 towns and cities across the nation. Faced with the rising public pressure, the federal government shut down the country’s seven oldest reactors and imposed a technical audit on all nuclear power plants. In addition, the cabinet appointed an independent ethics committee on the safety of the nation’s energy future.1 Upon completion of the review process, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on May 30 that Germany would phase-out nuclear power by 2022. Parliament passed the respective bill with an overwhelming majority on 8 July 2011. A heated public debate had come to an end: nuclear power was done for and over with.
Manuela Achilles

7. Ambitions and Realities of the German Energy Revolution

Abstract
Germany has taken center stage in the global endeavor for clean energy, rendering the country to face a litmus test for effective decarbonization policies. More than any other highly developed industrial nation, Germany has ambitiously attempted to answer three of the 21st century’s defining questions. First, what should power a world confronted by climate change if energy must be clean, affordable, reliable, and publically accepted? Second, what should produce electricity if coal is too dirty, nuclear too dangerous, gas too expensive or unsecure, and renewables too costly or insufficient? In addressing the above questions, a third emerges: can Germany — and other countries — reconcile ecology with commerce while maintaining an innovative three-trillion-dollar, industrial-based economy?
Brian Marrs

Transatlantic Cooperation at the Macro and Micro Levels

Frontmatter

8. The Transatlantic Climate Bridge: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract
The concept of a ‘Transatlantic Climate Bridge’ spanning the geographical divide between Germany, the United States and Canada was born out of the German government’s desire to add a new layer to the transatlantic dialogue. The aim of this German climate initiative, launched in 2008, was to foster on-going transatlantic cooperation and partnerships in the climate and energy arena on all levels. The idea was born at a time of growing concern in Europe about rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions and the desire to cooperate with the United States as a partner in the fight against climate change.
Anja Kueppers-McKinnon, Georg Maue, Carmen Krista

9. Formalizing the Transfer and Application of Environmental Policies and Lessons from Germany to the United States: The Case of Northern Virginia

Abstract
American environmental and energy policy has tended to be insular and introspective, lacking a global perspective that is suitably tuned to regularly finding, understanding and applying lessons from pioneering countries such as Germany to the United States. It is rare to find a city, county or state agency engaged in the regular pursuit of international best practices. It is equally rare to see national urban, energy, environmental, or planning organizations engaged in formal searches, reviews and applications of lessons from abroad for application in the United States. Much of this is because most international urban environmental and energy work in the United States takes place within one of two contexts. The first context is one in which the United States exports policies, ideas and technologies to developing countries. The other context is ‘soft diplomacy’ and the accidental contexts of random ‘social exchanges’ that lack formal problem-focused, goal-oriented searches and applications of technical or policy innovations in the United States from abroad (Dolowitz and Medearis 2009).
Dale Medearis

10. Cultivating the Cross-Cultural Engineer: Key Insights

Abstract
The central thesis of this chapter is that intensive, short-term study abroad programs, designed for engineering students can provide significant benefits for professional development. Among the most important of these is the recognition that engineering is fundamentally a cultural activity. How engineers are educated and trained, the professional practice of engineering and the engineering design process are all culturally mediated. This leads to increased emphasis on intercultural awareness and enhancement of specific skills essential for professional engineers in a globalized environment. These skills are brought strongly into play for engineers engaged in open-ended problem solving (design thinking) in a diverse, multicultural team setting. Study abroad programs for engineers and other professionals can be made more effective in developing these skills by directly engaging participants in cross-cultural design thinking.
Dana Elzey, Kerstin Steitz

11. Designing for the Anthropocene: The Duisburg Rhine Park

Abstract
How can we construct a socially and ecologically sound world which we are increasingly responsible for shaping ourselves? How can the profession of landscape architecture help to mediate the process of modernization and urbanization? This chapter elaborates on a proposal for the adaptive reuse of a brownfield site. The strategy discussed here suggests a holistic design approach to deal with contaminated post-industrial sites in a productive and pragmatic way. Instead of neglecting and covering the industrial remains, the management of the industrial heritage and contaminated ground is understood as a challenging design opportunity. The clean-up and redesign of the site is discussed in the context of a critical revision of the meaning and identity, both past and present, of post-industrial landscapes.
Jörg Sieweke

12. Eco-Revelatory Design: An Approach You Can Bank On

Abstract
In 1998, Landscape Journal published a special issue entitled Eco-Revelatory Design: Nature Constructed/Nature Revealed. This issue showcased conceptual projects in the fields of landscape architecture, planning and land management projects that shared the common objective of using artistic design interventions to bring transparency to a site’s natural and/or constructed systems. Embracing a multidisciplinary approach, the exhibits ‘revealed and interpreted ecological (and engineering) phenomena, processes and relationships’ through symbolic expressions and aesthetic applications to the site (Helphand and Melnick, 1998, p. x).
Eugene Ryang

Conclusion and Outlook

Abstract
The challenges we face in environmental degradation, climate change, and resource exhaustion are monumental, existential and collective. They are hard because they are emerging on an unprecedented scale, occur slowly and fitfully, and cannot be addressed by any one answer. In other words, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution — each society’s response must emerge from and be tailored to fit its unique historical, cultural and political context. At the same time no single nation, no matter how bold and far reaching its response, can envision and build the sustainable societies of the future on its own. It will take international cooperation and coordination, free of the trappings of self-centered diplomacy and the tendencies to let others bear the burden of change while doing nothing, to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources and ecosystems for the generations to come.
Manuela Achilles, Dana Elzey

Backmatter

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