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The unique planning history of Vienna’s Donauinsel

As Vienna’s Donauinsel (Danube Island) celebrates its 25th birthday this year, the Architekturzentrum Wien recently devoted an evening to its planning history, featuring an interesting talk by Harald Erber in which he talked about August Zottl’s (and his son Hermann Zottl’s) vision behind the island as well as alternative proposals and current development scenarios. The…

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Sustainable cities need integrated urban planning & energy planning

Earlier this month, I visited the Zero Emissions Cities Conference in Vienna’s City Hall which tried to answer the question how tomorrow’s smart cities can significantly reduce their carbon emissions. It offered general insights as well as presentations of specific technologies like building-integrated photovoltaics, small-scale urban wind power, LED lighting systems or thermal energy storage.…

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The same old shale gas story

As expected, Daniel Yergin’s public talk on “Future Energy” yesterday at Vienna’s new University of Economics and Business Administration was centered around the US shale gas revolution. The Pulitzer-prize winning author, energy advisor to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama and fossil fuel advocate didn’t surprise the audience with his controversial viewpoint: Renewables aren’t competitive without…

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World Energy Outlook 2013: The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly

Yesterday, the International Energy Agency released its highly-anticipated World Energy Outlook 2013. As expected in my previous blogpost, the report heralds the medium-term end of the US shale gas boom but also serves as a warning that continuing with business-as-usual energy policies will put us on a path to devastating climate change. But first things…

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“The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness.”

Like many other people I don’t expect much from the current UN COP19 Climate Talks in Warsaw, mainly because of all the disappointments of previous COPs, the big focus on COP20 in Lima and COP21 in Paris and a host country that is hungry for coal. Like many other people, I am also putting more…

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Before IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2013: Shale gas is not an option

As the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2013 will be released today, I’d like to take a look back at last week’s panel discussion “Energy future at the crossroads” in Vienna. Ingmar Höbarth, Managing Director of the Austrian Klimafonds, first talked about the global energy and climate framework and its political and economic implications: To keep…

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Austria’s huge energy, climate and environmental challenges

This year, Greenpeace Austria celebrates its 30th birthday (me too). To celebrate this anniversary, Greenpeace hosted a discussion on future challenges for Austria’s energy, climate and environmental policy in the Austrian Parliament where its CEO Alexander Egit once again put the main challenges for our new government into a nutshell. At the end of the…

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TEDx Vienna “Unlimited”: How far can you go?

It’s particularly difficult to blog about TED events as it’s almost impossible to capture the diversity and awesomeness of 17 talks in one blogpost. So, I’d like to talk about three personal take-aways from yesterday’s inspiring TEDx Vienna “Unlimited” which aimed at exploring the limits of life, science, society and inventions and attracted a record…

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