As a professor I spend quite some time teaching students. I supervise a good number of master theses. I organize conference. I write scientific articles. I (try to) write for newspapers. I write many, many referee reports. I write recommendation letters for students. As you notice, from time to time I also write blog posts. Most of my time I spend behind a computer screen. Most of my articles see a fair amount of rejections before being accepted in journals. It is at times like these that some positive feedback really elevates the motivation. This just came in my inbox from one of my students this year:

Thank you so much for your lectures, you were such a caring, kind and good teacher to me. I wish you well for the future! 

That made me really happy. This kind of personal feedback, whether it comes from students or other researchers or just anyone out there, just puts a smile on the face. It would be great if people in general were to give treats like that more often.

There are so many claims that Germany’s Energiewende is a true failure. For example, Larry Hamlin wrote that “EU climate alarmist champion Germany has its Energiewende program exposed as a catastrophic failure with enormous costs“. Or, a post on notes that ” Germany is expected to fall short on pretty much all its national and EU emission reduction and clean energy targets for 2020. ” These opinions are strangely all over the internet. I just want them to get the facts straight. And what is better than letting the data talk.

In Figure 1 we see Germany’s renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption and gross electricity consumption from the year 2000 to 2018. The dotted lines show the national targets. As one can see, Germany is in line for achieving both 2020 targets. In fact, the 2020 target for its renewable energy share in gross electricity consumption is already overshot and Germany is well in line to achieve its 2025 target during 2019 or 2020 already.

Figure 1

While it is true that there are costs associated with the Energiewende, it is clearly wrong to speak of Germany falling short of its energy targets. I think that is a point well worth emphasizing and it does show that, whatever Germany is doing, works.

Figure 2

However, as is nearly always true, there is a catch. Renewables in energy consumption is only one of the vital targets helping our planet to become more sustainable. It is not only important that we rely on renewable inputs to meet our consumption needs, but that also our production does not produce unwanted outputs.

The major additional output is, of course, the production of greenhouse gases. As Figure 2 shows, it is true that Germany will fall short of its 2020 targets by maybe 50-70 million tons if current trends continue. Most of this is due to the energy industry, then industry in general and then transport. Under Merkel’s rule the dirty part of the energy industry, especially the coal industry, as well as the dirty part of the transport industry, has seen substantial support. This is the reason for the shortfall in emission reductions. It has nothing to do with the Energiewende per se. It is simply the result of protective policies, based on an old legacy. There is a term for this in academic, it is history dependence.

Let’s see whether the new leaders in Germany will follow Merkel’s path of protecting the coal industry and the old school car industry, or whether there will be a further shift away from dirty energy inputs and from transport relying on combustion. As long as one is not tight to a specific history, then one is also more likely to change the path one treads on.

Subconference in Environmental Economics at the 10th International Research Meeting in Business and Management (#IRMBAM2019).

We warmly invite you to submit your paper for presentation in the Subconference on Environmental Economics, organized by Ingmar Schumacher (IPAG Business School, France), Eric Strobl (University of Bern, Switzerland), and Cees Withagen (IPAG Business School, France and VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands) at the 10th International Research Meeting in Business and Management that will take place on 8-10th July 2019 in Nice, France. We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions on environmental economics and resource and energy economics, with emphasis on climate change economics; green growth; welfare, discounting and sustainable development; uncertainty and irreversibilities in dynamic resource use; the nexus between population, economic growth and the environment; environmental policy; as well as empirical studies that focus on economic aspects of the environment.

The keynote lectures will be held by Carolyn Fischer (Professor of Environmental Economics, Vrije University, The Netherlands), and Antony Millner (Associate Professorial Research Fellow, London School of Economics, United Kingdom).

How to submit?
Submit your papers electronically at
Only papers in English are considered.
Please choose the Topic “Subconference in Environmental Economics”

Important dates
Submission deadline : April 7, 2019
Notification of acceptance/rejection: May 4, 2019
Registration deadline: June 8, 2019
Conference event: July 8-10, 2019


For queries, please contact the organizer at or

Many researchers have recently voiced an increasing resentment towards academic journals. Opinions vary widely, and tend from “they are not necessary anymore”, over “they are clubs and you are either part of these clubs or you don’t publish”, to “I love academic journals”. Economists tend to be particularly troubled with their journals, researchers from medicine seemingly less so. Why is that and what can be done about it?

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Friday the 15th of March 2019 marked a new beginning, or so they say. Kids all around the world took the future in their own hands and marched onwards in a desperate attempt to make their voices heard. “The future is ours, don’t take it away from us,” they shouted. “Time to wake up,” was written in big print. “We have no planet B,” was a common reminder. The enthusiasm was really overwhelming. Nobody expected close to 10,000 students demonstrating in Luxembourg alone. Hundreds of thousands of German students marched the streets, the biggest number of young kids demonstrating since the sixties. Even the politicians came to show, one would guess, their support. In France,  a sizable number of the gilet jaune, for some reason, joined the Friday strikes. What next? An assessment and suggestions.

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This Friday, the 15th of March 2019, the students across world are going on a strike. The goal is to wake up their politicians to the tasks ahead: we aren’t doing enough for our future, our world’s sustainability is not ensured, the climate is changing and we are simply not putting in enough effort to sufficiently minimize that change.

In my opinion, this grassroot movement, where our young kids are finally taking interest in something else but Fortnite, namely to secure their own future, could be a game changer. In order to support this movement, I was invited yesterday to one of the schools in Luxembourg, Lycee Technique Joseph Bech in Grevenmacher, and spent two hours presenting the climate change problem, why actions are too limited, what can and should be done, and why it is of utmost importance to especially strike in countries such as Luxembourg, and I took some time to discuss with the students. On Thursday I will do the same in Fieldgen, another school in the city of Luxembourg. So far the response has been very encouraging and the students are now far more motivated to go out and take their future in their own hands. Thus, I can only motivate everyone out there to explain their students the reasons for the strike, and the need of going out to show that even if the politicians don’t think this is an important enough problem, the young generation knows it is one.

According to the latest scientific research, the current climate action of all countries combined would imply a warming of around 3.4°C (above the pre-industrial level) by the end of the century. However, 1.5°C warming is what is currently considered to be a safe, acceptable level of warming. Without a significant change in the politicians’ attitude towards climate change and without a substantial change in their willingness to act, we are likely to see temperature increases that lead to unforeseeable consequences for life on planet Earth.

I can only reiterate a quote that has been attributed to the Dalai Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in the same room with a mosquito.” Thus, students across the world, do not believe you are too small to make a change. Go and be that mosquito in the eyes of your politicians.


There are a couple of conferences that you should definitely try to attend if you are an environmental economist.

Firstly, there is EAERE in Manchester, UK, 26-29 June 2019. That’s going to be the place to be if you want to meet everyone in environmental economics and drink good UK beer before Brexit destroys that opportunity.

Then you should go to ISEFI in Paris, France, 23-24 May 2019, which, apart from blatant advertising as I am one of the co-organizers, is also a great event if you are into finance, energy, and environmental economics. Plus you get the added value of a lovely weekend in Paris, and who could say no to that. Submit your papers asap.

Then there is IRMBAM held in Nice, France, 8-10 July 2019. If you are an environmental economist, send your papers to the sub-conference in environmental economics. I am a co-organizer of that together with Cees Withagen and Eric Strobl. Nice, needless to say, is nice. If you are drawn between the PET conference and our sub-conference at IRMBAM, then that’s already a mistake. Keynote speakers in our subconference are Carolyn Fischer and Anthony Millner. Submit asap.

Then there is the LEEPin2019: LEEP Institute’s Meeting of International Excellence in Environmental and Resource Economics, 24-25 June 2019, at the University of Exeter, which promises to be an excellent conference. It’s just preceeding EAERE, so you can basically city-hop from one great event to the next. Reduces shoe leather costs and minimizes your carbon footprint.

Then you should attend the environmental economics workshop in St Petersburg, May 31 – June 1, 2019, which is the 5th International Workshop on Economic Growth, Environment and Natural Resources. Unfortunately submissions are closed but you can still attend. I am also one of the co-organizers, and judging by the papers we selected this is going to be a classy event!

In addition there is FAERE held in Rennes, France, 29-30 August 2019. It’s the conference of the French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. If you are into environmental economists, surprise surprise, or cathedrals, that’s the place to be at the end of August.

Now that you are up to date, carpe diem!


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