Development within the “Bigger Picture”: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus

by Maria Wirth The most efficient greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures may not come only from the energy sector. The extraction, treatment and transport of water, for example, accounts for 8% of worldwide energy generation, according to UN-Water. As population growth and climate change are exacerbating resource scarcity, scientists, infrastructure managers and the private sector…

Energy Harvesting: A Wireless New World

by Victoria Haykin In April, the world looked on once again as its leaders convened in New York City for the historic signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, adopted in Paris during the 21st Conference of the Parties. Nevertheless, many questions regarding the Agreement’s implementation remain unanswered, and critics, such as leading climate scientists James…

The Third Machine Age – Beyond General Intelligence

by Klara Melbinger From the invention of the simple Spinning Jenny to Amazon’s launch of the Echo, humankind has oscillated between the virtue and the vice of machines. The Second Machine Age created “smart technology” consisting of iPhones, 3D printers and smart sleeping systems. AI, the art of engineering intelligent rather than smart machines, could…

From Fixed Feed-in-Tariffs to a Power Exchange Market: Advancing or Deterring Investment in Renewables?

by Maria Wirth The popular Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system in place in several countries in the European Union enabled renewable energies to cover 48% of the EU power mix in 2015. Intended as a temporary measure, the tariffs are subject to continuous degression. Amid cases of disproportional cuts, investors are threatening to turn away from renewable…

ETIAtalks Season Review: Topics in Sustainable Agriculture

by Maria Wirth & Victoria Haykin ETIAtalks is an annual series of panel discussions organized by students of the Environmental Technologies and International Affairs (ETIA) programme offered conjointly by the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology. Panel topics explore environmental issues, and how these interconnect with society, politics, international relations and…

Global Renewable Energy Boost Not Moving Fast Enough

by Maria Wirth As the private sector pushes cost reduction and storage technology, renewable energy sources are increasingly competitive and clean electricity market prices are striking record lows. Particularly developing economies are rapidly expanding their capacities, largely driven by solar and wind. But when compared to fossil fuel installations, impressions quickly darken. The Green Energy…