Ortwin Renn © acatech
Ortwin Renn, Professor of Environmental Sociology and Technology Assessment at the University of ...
Integrating an increasing amount of renewable energy into the power supply is a challenge...
How did growth make it into the papers? In his book, IASS fellow Ferdinand Knauß critically examines a key concept in politics and journalism. © istock/ kutaytanir
Among politicians and journalists, economic growth tends to be considered a prerequisite for...
Reducing air pollution can combat climate change, save lives, and help achieve sustainable...
IASS researchers discuss questions of land use at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris. From left to right – Hannah Janetschek, Anne Flohr, Keerthi Kiran Bandru, Larissa Stiem, Ivonne Lobos Alva and Girum Getachew Alemu. © IASS/Carolin Sperk
The role of healthy soils in climate protection and food security is a major...
Soil protection in Ethiopia and worldwide was the topic of the first Ethiopian Soil Week...
Field margins foster biodiversity. © istock/Hramovnick
It sounds paradoxical: while prices for agricultural products are falling and farmland is ...
Klaus Töpfer with Johanna Wanka (Federal Minister for Education and Research) and Adnan Z. Amin (General Director of IRENA) (c) IASS/David Ausserhofer
Today’s major challenges such as climate change or growing numbers of refugees can only...
Solid black carbon is a by-product of methane cracking. © KIT
IASS and KIT develop a method to produce hydrogen from methane.
Welgegund measurement station
Black carbon is an air pollutant that is harmful to human health and also contributes...


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

An important crossroads: at the end of September the UN member states voted on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to initiate a global transformation towards sustainability. The Sustainable Development Goals are more extensive than their precursor, the eight Millennium Development Goals, which have often been criticised for not giving enough attention to the ecological dimensions of sustainability, or for considering it only in isolation. The primary goal remains the eradication of poverty. Read More

CO₂: From Waste to Feedstock

Economic activities and consumer behaviour in developed countries are currently based mainly on the use of fossil-based raw materials, whose emissions are largely responsible for anthropogenic climate change. In efforts to reduce human effects on the climate, the avoidance of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is and remains the most important measure. But viewing the greenhouse gas CO2 as a source of carbon can also make sense. In recent years scientists have been investigating so-called Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies. The aim of these technologies is to re-cycle the CO2 contained in emissions as a feedstock for industrial processes. This captured CO2 could replace fossil-based carbon as a component of materials and energy carriers, thereby creating a carbon cycle. Read More

Sustainable Arctic Futures: A Regional and Global Challenge

Temperatures in the Arctic are currently rising twice as fast as in most other regions on the planet, a phenomenon most strikingly evidenced by the decreasing extent and volume of Arctic sea ice over the last decades. The processes currently under way in the Arctic are embedded in climate, economic, legal and social systems and processes that reach far beyond the Arctic Circle.

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Air Pollution and Climate Change

Air pollution and climate change are closely related. The main sources of CO2 emissions – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – are not only key drivers of climate change, but also major sources of air pollutants. Furthermore, many air pollutants that are harmful to human health and ecosystems also contribute to climate change by affecting the amount of incoming sunlight that is reflected or absorbed by the atmosphere, with some pollutants warming and others cooling the Earth. These so-called short-lived climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs) include methane, black carbon, ground-level ozone, and sulfate aerosols. They have significant impacts on the climate. Read More

Climate Engineering

While there is still hope that risks from climate change can be limited by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, there is also a perception that ‘time is running out’. This perception of a looming watershed has given rise to calls for research on intentional, large-scale interventions into the climate system, referred to as either ‘climate engineering’ or ‘geoengineering’. Both terms describe a diverse and largely hypothetical array of methods for manipulating the global climate in order to moderate or forestall some of the numerous impacts of climate change. Read More


In the coming decades, the development of renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and solar will play a major role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and making our energy system more sustainable. But the places where RES are available or would be most efficient are often located far away from the densely populated and industrial areas where the energy is needed: on the open sea in the case of wind and in sunnier climes in the case of solar. This means that the construction of new power lines needs to go hand in hand with RES development. In Germany for instance, expanding the electrical grid has become a crucial precondition for the success of the Energiewende. Read More


Superconducting Electric Lines

A promising option for future electricity grids?
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Ground-Level Ozone - a Neglected Problem

Recommen-dations for politicians and policy-makers
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The Potential of Multi-Level Global Climate Governance

This IASS Policy Brief explores the architecture of global climate governance.
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The Innovation Fund as a Complementary Financing Model for Renewables

A proposal for a more broad-based financing of the Energiewende
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Shale Gas and Fracking in Europe

A comprehensive overview of the main concepts and issues associated with shale gas and fracking.
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The History, Impact and Limits of Economic Expertise

A close examination of the historical emergence of economic expertise
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Pitching Soil amidst Umpah Bands and Food Tourists at the International Green Week

Now that the International Year of Soils (IYOS) has passed, it is a good opportunity to take stock on the state of soil awareness.

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Should We Print Money to Make the World More Sustainable?

Over a leisurely Sunday family dinner, when the conversation turns to putting the world to rights, your niece or second cousin may have asked you the following question: Why not simply create mone

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24.02.2016 to 25.02.2016

Workshop: Smart Energy Systems

Smart energy systems will play a crucial role in reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions ...
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Workshop: Methane Emissions in Europe

Over the past years, European countries and in particular Germany have taken important steps ...
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07.02.2016 to 09.02.2016

IASS-KLASICA Workshop on Collective Behaviour Change for Sustainable Futures

The IASS is hosting a Knowledge, Learning, and Societal Change International ...
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Better Save Soil

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Let's Talk About Soil - English

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Outlaws in Air City (Fast Forward Science 2014)

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Engineering the climate?

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