In theory everything is clear, the battle lines are drawn: on the one hand, there are those who deny or trivialise the impact of climate change – led by the US President, who constantly criticises and threatens to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. And on the other, there are those doing everything to save the climate – scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs and the many environmental organisations who are raising awareness among the general public and promoting a more resource-friendly approach to energy use. Between the two sides stand the United Nations and a climate agreement, which will once again be the subject of debate in November 2017, when under the presidency of Fiji over 20,000 delegates from 197 nations will come to the table at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in an effort to sustainably reduce harmful greenhouse gases.
So why have we dedicated this issue to clean energy? Because people like energy expert Rainer Schröer are committed to the goal of enabling Chile to potentially generate 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources in the not-too-distant future. Given the rapid developments taking place in the Latin American country, this is by no means as improbable as it sounds, as our report illustrates. Or because, despite many setbacks, Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is seeing ‘unprecedented support’ for the fight against climate change, as she explains in interview. There are still plenty of reasons to continue to invest in environmentally friendly technologies and energy efficiency at the international level, says Espinosa. And there are also people like Imane Lemsafi, who features in our report from Morocco. As a recently trained energy specialist, she is working to help her home country realise its ambitious plans: by 2020 the Government aims to base 42 per cent of its energy production on alternative energy sources.
Is this too fragmented? My personal view is that this combination of small and large-scale initiatives is exactly what is needed given the enormity of the challenge. Every initiative counts. And together they make a coherent whole. For the complex challenges set out by ZEIT editor Christiane Grefe in her essay can only be met by adopting such a diversified approach.