Alexander Ochs

Bernie Sanders wants to phase out nuclear power plants. Is that a good idea?

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Mar 282016
 

By Ben Adler

You’ve probably heard that Bernie Sanders has the most impressive climate agenda of any major-party presidential candidate in history. His proposals may be politically unrealistic, but they are bold. If Sanders were president and he had a pliant Congress, his carbon tax and investments in renewables would radically overhaul our energy system for the better. (…)

Some other green groups take a more nuanced approach. NRDC, for example, supports relicensing plants in situations where it’s safer and the plants can’t yet be replaced by renewable energy, and it calls for rejecting those — such as Indian Point in Westchester, N.Y. — that are uniquely dangerous.

Alexander Ochs, senior director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, says we should put a moratorium on new nuclear plant construction and subject existing plants to “the closest safety scrutiny.” In the end, while these policy positions are based on a different analysis than Sanders’, they differ from his in degree more than in kind: they would hasten the natural death of nuclear energy, only more slowly than Sanders would, in the interest of limiting short-term emissions. (…)

Read full article [here].
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Living Planet: Where are we at with renewables? [Radio Interview]

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Mar 112016
 

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The Fukushima disaster convinced the German government under Angela Merkel that nuclear power was not the way to go. The country decided to start phasing out nuclear energy and give financial support to the development of renewable energy technologies. This helped to boost alternative energy production around the globe. So how far have we got in the last five years?

Permalink: http://dw.com/p/1IAQD

Viento y sol, fuentes de energía que amenazan a los apagones dominicanos

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Mar 112016
 
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Worldwatch: pueden suplir toda la energía de necesita el país
| 11 MAR 2016, 12:00 AM ROSALÍA ROMANO
SANTO DOMINGO. Desde parques eólicos, pasando por plantas solares, centrales hidroeléctricas y generadores a partir de la biomasa, las posibilidades de producción de energía renovable en el país son diversas y elevadas. De acuerdo con el informe “Aprovechamiento de los Recursos de Energía Sostenible de la República Dominicana”, publicado en julio del año pasado por el Worldwatch Institute, el país tiene el potencial de revolucionar la manera en que produce y consume electricidad.

En su estudio, el Worldwatch Institute sostiene que que República Dominicana puede lograr hasta un 85% de generación eléctrica renovable para el 2030, con costos de inversión de menos de US$47,000 millones entre los años 2013 y 2030.

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Living Planet: Fukushima – 5 years on [Radio Interview]

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Mar 102016
 

DW.ImageFive years ago, the world was shocked by the news that a massive earthquake had triggered a devastating tsunami along the coast of Japan. Entire villages were destroyed and the nuclear plant at Fukushima went into meltdown. What does the region look like today and where are we at with the push for renewable energy?

Permalink: http://dw.com/p/1IAXb

‘Yes we can’ switch to 100 percent renewable energy

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Mar 042016
 

DW.ImageEuropean Union environment ministers are discussing implementation of the Paris Agreement on Friday (04.03.) A timely transition out of fossil fuels is doable, says Alexander Ochs from Worldwatch. That is, if we act now.

Protest at Eiffel Tower at COP21 in Paris (Photo: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

Can we switch from fossil fuels to renewables in time to keep temperature rise to 2, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius?

Not only can we do a transition to truly sustainable systems – financially, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable – we are in the midst of it. There is no one global trend in that direction, but there are many places, municipalities, provinces, whole countries, regions that are transitioning away from fossil fuels toward renewable ways of producing energy, and smarter ways of consuming energy. So it is absolutely doable.

Can you name some examples?

Alexander Ochs (Photo: Irene Quaile)Ochs says renewables are fast outpacing fossil fuels

Germany has managed over the last two decades to transition away from fossil fuels. We have seen enormous growth rates of renewable electricity production. Or take Denmark, which has always been seen as a renewable energy champion. But it’s not a trend restricted any more to developed countries.

Look at Costa Rica, look at many places on all continents – you find very dramatic examples, transitions away from fossil fuel energy toward sustainable energy sources – not always at the level of nations, but often sub-federal levels like communities or provinces. We have a lot of really great examples now, best practice examples. We really have to learn from experience and share that experience internationally.

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Presentation next week: Energizing successful economies: How renewables are outperforming fossil fuels

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Feb 122016
 

COP21, INDCs and Future Implementation Tools

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Feb 052016
 

Presentation at GECCO-IUCN-USAID webinar on Gender equality & mitigation: COP21 implications for implementing mitigation activities, 5 Feb 2015

Recording of the Webinar is available [here].

Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables

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Jan 292016
 

By Zadie Neufvillelogo-IPS

KINGSTON, Jan 18 2016 (IPS) – By year’s end, Jamaica will add 115 mega watts (MW) of renewable capacity to the power grid, in its quest to reduce energy costs and diversify the energy mix in electricity generation to 30 per cent by 2030. With 90 per cent of its electricity coming from fossil fuels, the government is committed to reducing the country’s carbon emissions by increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewables from 9 per cent now, to 15 per cent by 2020. (…)

WorldWatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica 2013 stated that increasing the number of households using solar water heaters, could save an additional 75 to 100 GWh of electricity per year. It concluded that there was a need to create a “smooth transition” to a sustainable and economically viable energy system. (…)

Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy confirmed the report’s findings, noting that Jamaica’s “entire electricity demand could be met with renewable resources” from solar and wind energy. The public sector has already begun its own programme of retrofitting and energy reduction strategies that is said to be saving millions of dollar in expenditure at government agencies and institutions.

Worldwatch noted that investments of roughly 6 billion dollars could increase the contribution of renewables to Jamaica’s electricity production to 93 per cent by 2030, while significantly slashing energy costs. So armed with feasibility studies that points to the possibility for hydropower development along six rivers, Robinson is setting his sights on the road ahead, and another 26MW of power in the very near future.

Find full article here: Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables _ Inter Press Service

Presenting on “After Paris: the climate’s changing, can the world?” at Rachel Carson Center Today

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Jan 262016
 

Interview: Alexander Ochs Discusses the Transition to a Clean Global Economy

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Jan 142016
 

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By Ethan Goffman, http://earthtalk.org/interview-alexander-ochs/

For the past 15 years, Alexander Ochs has been an important figure in international efforts to fight climate change and develop green energy, working with United Nations and other international agencies. Among many endeavors, he is President of theForum for Atlantic Climate and Energy Talks, is Founding Chair of the LEDS-GP Energy Working Group, and is an adviser to the German Government’s International Climate Initiative. Ochs’ academic career is also distinguished; he teaches at Johns Hopkins University and has co-edited three books and published dozens of research articles. As Senior Director of Climate and Energy at the Worldwatch Institute, Ochs has developed a series of sustainable energy roadmaps and implementation plans that are helping bring clean energy to Central America and the Caribbean, with plans to expand to new regions. Ochs also participated in the Paris climate summit. EarthTalk’s Ethan Goffman interviewed him via Skype in his Berlin, Germany office…

 

Or read the full transcript below…

EarthTalk: You’ve worked at the Worldwatch Institute on a series of sustainable energy roadmaps to help countries transition to a clean economy. Why are such roadmaps necessary?

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Tips for living green in 2016

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Jan 112016
 

January 10th 2016 NationalObserver_160111

In December global leaders met in Paris to hammer out an agreement to try and hold global warming to a 1.5 Celsius degree rise in temperature. But while we hold our elected officials responsible for greenhouse gas emission reductions, what can we and what do we do ourselves to contribute to that goal? National Observer asked a number of experts for tips on how you can reduce your personal carbon footprint. (…)

Alexander Ochs, senior director of climate and energy for Worldwatch Institute, questions the ideal of the typical North American, two-garage home with a large lawn. “Is it really worth the two hours commute you do every day to get to your workplace?” he rhetorically asks. Continue reading »

Advancing Low Carbon Development in the West African Region

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Dec 092015
 

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COP 21 Panel, 8 December 2015, African Pavilion. Presented by: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). This panel discussed advancing low carbon development in West Africa and was moderated by Youba Sokona, Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, South Centre.

Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy, Worldwatch Institute, said there will be no sustainable economic growth or social development if Africa’s main energy source is fossil fuels. He said centralized fossil fuel based energy systems are not going to solve the problem of climate change or increase access to energy because they are too expensive, and he therefore recommended decentralized systems and renewable energy. He said Africa is not starting from scratch and that there have already been some “enormous advances” in technology and policy development.

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Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECREEE, outlined that of the 334 million people in the ECOWAS region only 42% have access to energy and that the energy used mostly comes from fossil fuels and biomass. He said the ECOWAS Energy Strategy for 2030 aims to provide 100% of the region’s population with access to clean cooking energy by 2030 and increase the share of renewable energy in the overall electricity mix to 35% by 2020. He noted another aim to improve the electrification rate from 34% to 88%, an increase equivalent to 60 million households gaining access to electricity between 2015 and 2030. Continue reading »

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: THE UNITED STATES FINALLY SHOWS LEADERSHIP IN THE CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

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Dec 052015
 

Alexander Ochs, published as Worldwatch Institute blog

Many of us still remember the images from the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, which was launched as “Hopenhagen” with great expectations and concluded in the “Flopenhagen” fiasco: the disappointment of freezing environmentalists lining up in front of the Bella Convention Center; the desperate faces of exhausted negotiators; the Danish sherpas trying to argue small successes in the summit’s failure.

But America’s political superstars would not succeed if they didn’t manage to emerge as winners, even in moments of defeat. U.S. president Barack Obama somehow thwarted the image of Europeans marked by the poor results of months of negotiations. Obama flew in to Copenhagen by helicopter, cut through the icy Scandinavian winds toward the conference venue, and assembled those around him whom he decided were the chosen few.

It is this other image that we conjure up when remembering Copenhagen: the U.S. president, with his sleeves rolled up, surrounded by the representatives of Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. The message: “We saved what could be saved.” But to anyone familiar enough with the negotiations to look behind the façade, this image actually showed those who had sabotaged the ambitious plans of Europeans and their coalition of “more willing but less mighty.” The picture was deceptive: What was rescued was not the climate, the environment, or sustainable development, but a minimal consensus to continue talking. After that, the world became relatively silent on climate diplomacy. But the talking did continue, and it led to much more progress than could have been expected shortly after Copenhagen.

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Paris ist eine gewaltige Chance

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Dec 012015
 

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Von Alexander Ochs

  • Am Ende des Klimagipfels von Paris könnte eine tatsächlich historische, die Welt verändernde Einigung stehen.

Manchem Beobachter sind heute noch die Bilder von Kopenhagen präsent, vom Klimagipfel 2009, der als “Hopenhagen” mit so großen Erwartungen gestartet war und im Fiasko von “Flopenhagen” endete: Die Enttäuschung der Umweltaktivisten, die Erklärungsversuche der dänischen Verhandlungsleitung, die leeren Gesichter der erschöpften Verhandler. Doch US-Präsident Barack Obama schaffte es, im Moment der Niederlage als Sieger dazustehen. Er vermittelte dieses andere Bild von Kopenhagen, auf dem die Europäer nicht auftauchen: Obama, mit hochgekrempelten Ärmeln. Die Message: Hier wurde gerettet, was zu retten war. Gerettet wurde nicht das Klima, sondern lediglich ein Minimalkonsens. Danach wurde es für Jahre wieder deutlich stiller um die Klimadiplomatie.

Bis jetzt. Der Klimagipfel in Paris ist keiner der Zwischenjahre, in denen nur vorbereitet und debattiert wird – er ist wieder einer der Wichtigen, “a big one”, so wie Rio 1992, Kyoto 1997 und Kopenhagen 2009. Aber diesmal deutet vieles darauf hin, dass am Ende tatsächlich ein Sieg für alle stehen könnte; dass sich die Regierungen aller Staaten auf weitreichende Maßnahmen zum Klimaschutz werden einigen können. Am Ende des Klimagipfels von Paris, am 12. oder 13. Dezember 2015, könnte eine tatsächlich historische, die Welt verändernde Einigung stehen; eine Einigung darüber, wie Staaten wirtschaften, wie sie Energie produzieren und nutzen, wie sie mit ihren Wäldern umgehen, wie sie sich für Umweltveränderungen wappnen; und noch weitergehend, wie sie bei alledem miteinander umgehen. Continue reading »

FOLLOW WORLDWATCH AT UN CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS

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Nov 302015
 

COP21.logoWorldwatch will contribute to the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) starting in Paris, France today by advising governmental delegations, participating in high-level consultations, and speaking at conferences for the general public. We invite you to follow these events as they unfold, either with us in Paris or through our blog and Twitter account.

“The Paris climate summit has all the ingredients to make history: an almost universal understanding of the urgency to act, an agreement on the final document within reach, and governments worldwide determined to act,” says Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy and Worldwatch’s head of delegation.

“A quarter century after the world embarked on protecting the atmosphere, we are closer than ever to making real change happen. Paris can alter the way we generate and consume energy; manufacture goods; produce our food and treat our forests and peatlands; run our transport systems; respond to the ecosystem changes already underway; and, maybe most importantly, work together across borders when confronted with problems of global scale,” says Ochs. “Let’s seize this opportunity!”

Worldwatch will be among the international civil society organizations at the COP21 that will lead in debates and discussions about solutions to climate change. Check out our event lineup below and keep an eye on this critical moment.

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What to expect after the Paris climate talks: A quick survey

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Nov 272015
 

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Claudia Delpero
Road To Paris – Science for Smart Policy

 

From 30 November to 11 December, representatives of over 190 countries gather in Paris to reach a global agreement on how to deal with climate change after the expiry of Kyoto Protocol. The talks take place in a city that has been shaken by the Nov 13 terrorist attacks, under a state of emergency, and high security detail for a COP. (…)

We asked experts from a variety of sectors what they expected to see after COP21. We’ll continue to update this from the conference in the next two weeks. (…)

Alexander Ochs, Director Climate and Energy Program, Worldwatch Institute. Washington – Berlin:

“We will continue helping individual countries and municipalities transform their energy systems, including in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Why the focus on developing countries? Because this is where the development needs are the strongest and the pressure not to embark on a development path dependent on fossil fuels is the greatest. In Haiti, for example, 10% of Gross Domestic Product is squandered on fossil fuels while two thirds of the populations still do not have reliable energy access. In at least four out of five countries worldwide there is now a clear economic argument to move from conventional fuels to renewables and to boost efficiency. There are challenges also in North America and Europe, but the most suffering from today’s unjust, unaffordable, and unsustainable energy system is in the regions less developed.”

Full text [here]

Against the Odds, Caribbean Doubles Down for 1.5 Degree Deal in Paris

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Nov 242015
 

By Zadie Neufville

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 23 2015 (IPS) – Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy. (…)

While agreeing that PetroCaribe could be a disincentive for investments in domestic renewable energy, Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at WorldWatch Institute noted, “Caribbean governments are increasingly aware of the enormous financial, environmental and social costs associated with continued dependence on fossil fuels.” (…)

“Even if the problem of global warming did not exist, and the burning of fossil fuels did not result in extensive local air and water pollution, CARICOM would still have to mandate to transition away from these fuels as swiftly as possible for reasons of social opportunity, economic competitiveness and national security, ”said Ochs, one of the authors of the new Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, launched on October 28. (…)

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CARICOM Celebrates Energy Week, Energy Centre Inauguration

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Nov 142015
 

IISD Reporting Service, 14 NovemberCARICOM.logo

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) hosted the fifth CARICOM Energy Week (CEW) under the theme ‘EmPOWERING Our Sustainable Development.’ The annual awareness-raising event highlights the importance of energy for economic development in the region. To mark CEW, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was inaugurated, and a baseline report for the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) was released.

CEW was held 8-14 November 2015, with CARICOM member States hosting events, such as panel discussions, site visits to renewable energy projects, the Electric Mobility Show and Conference, and activities with local schools. The Week also featured contests, such as a radio pop quiz with prizes, kilo-walk, energy app competition, video competition, and photo and art competition.

In conjunction with the Centre’s inauguration, the Worldwatch Institute launched the C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment, which analyzes the region’s current energy policy framework, evaluates renewable energy and energy efficiency potential, and suggests regional short-, medium- and long-term targets for the energy sector. Among the recommended targets are achieving 48% of electricity generation from renewable energy by 2027 and a 33% reduction in the region’s energy intensity.

[Full article here]