Rhein on Energy and Climate

The EU is about to legislate ambitious targets for CO2 emissions from the power and automobile industries. The power sector will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent before 2020, and automobile manufacturers will have to streamline their car fleets so that the average car will not emit more than 120 g of CO2… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

With 7 percent annual GDP rise Ukraine has been one of the fastest growing economies in Europe during the last few years. Now these positive developments have come under threat. The economy shows severe signs of stress. Inflation has reached 26 percent in March 2008, higher than anywhere else in Europe. The current account deficit… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

More than any country in the MED, Syria remains a harsh authoritarian regime. The hopes for an opening under the “young Assad” have long been dashed. Syria is a police state with severe repression of all those who dare to challenge the undisputed political and economic power of the wide Assad clan. It is much… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

Turkish Uncertainties

As a true transition country Turkey is full of puzzles. Its elitist secular bourgeoisie, including the military, blocks internal reforms and is lukewarm about an eventual EU membership. It defends its privileged place in Turkish society. The more religious middle class is the driving force behind overdue political and social changes, which an Islamic party… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

The leading Norwegian manufacturer of photovoltaic cells and panels expects PV power generation costs to decline to only 8 cents/kWh as of 2010, provided installations benefit from at least 1800 hours/year of sunshine. That is the case in the countries around the Mediterranean, the southern parts of the USA, India, China, Australia and many other… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

Six years ago biofuels became “en vogue”. Europeans and, even more so, Americans considered them as a welcome complement to fossil fuels and an antedote to global warming. The EU fixed 5.75 percent for 2010 and 10 percent for 2020 as the share of biofuels in EU gasoline supply. These days are gone. Today biofuels… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

It is almost a year since President Sarkozy has launched his idea for a “Mediterranean Union” uniting all riparian countries in a more intensive form of cooperation than the Barcelona process between the EU and its neighbours in the MED. Today, nothing is left of his initial idea. The name has changed into “Union for… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

Phoning from the Skies?

Viviane Reding, the Commissioner in charge of communications, has had another brilliant idea. She wants to enable all air passengers to use their cell-phones and e-mails from the skies and has persuaded the Commission to create an appropriate legal framework. She expects airlines to avail themselves of opening, as they will not want to run… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein

The Environmental Committee of the International Maritime Organisation has taken a long overdue decision, which will put an end to virtually all sulfur dioxide emissions from shipping. With more than 20 years delay the shipping industry thus follows the example of electricity generation that had to eliminate sulfur emissions under heavy pressure from citizens in… » read more

Posted by Eberhard Rhein