The UN sustainable development goals were the focus of the Global Soil Week 2017. © IASS/Piero Chiussi
While none of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) focuses specifically on soil protection ...
Sea turtles face many threats in their marine habitat, not least from marine litter ©IASS / Carole Durussel
Sustainability Researchers Table Recommendations for UN Negotiations
What is the role of artistic intervention and aesthetic experience in sustainable development issues? IASS researchers are exploring this question together with a group of young researchers from Valparaíso. © Sonja Linke
How can art help us to find solutions to such pressing global challenges as climate ...
An exchange of ideas at different levels of politics has given new impetus to climate protection. © istock/Cecilie_Arcurs (symbolic image).
International agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement are vitally important for climate ...
On 5–9 June, experts on ocean governance and sustainability from around the world will meet at the United Nations’ Ocean Conference in New York. © istock/Global_Pics
Marine conservation takes centre stage at international UN conference on 5-9 June
Mark Lawrence underscored that outdoor particulate matter causes approximately 4 million premature deaths annually worldwide. © IISD
Reducing emissions of black carbon can reap rewards for both air quality and climate protection.
The Climate Engineering Conference 2017 (CEC17) will be held at the Umweltforum in Berlin from 9 to 12 October 2017.  © istock/rzarek
Climate engineering raises complex questions that go well beyond technical ...
Protecting the world’s oceans can impact positively on other sustainable development goals, such as efforts to reduce poverty. © istock/stock_colors
Interactions between the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals can ...
© istock/idealistock
In the build up to the G20 Summit in Hamburg on 7–8 July 2017, a network of research ...
© istock/denizbayram
Is digitalisation benefiting efforts to protect the environment? How will Industry 4.0 ...
(c) IASS/Rolf Schulten
Potsdam institute emphasises the transformative quality of its studies
Federal Minister for Education and Research Johanna Wanka (third from left) and the co-chairs of the new science platform, Martin Visbeck (DKN Future Earth; left), Patrizia Nanz (IASS) and Dirk Messner (SDSN Germany) hope that the platform will contribute to the implementation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy and the 2030 Agenda. © FONA – Forschung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung
New science platform to support the Sustainable Development Goals of the German Federal ...


The Paris Agreement and Global Climate Policy

Human activities are largely responsible for climate change, which is already having an observable effect on our planet. Particularly emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas have led to an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Key indicators of climate change – including rising average temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels – are expected to have devastating consequences for humans and environments. Tackling the challenge posed by climate change will require a coordinated and global effort. Read More

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


Black Carbon in Europe

Targeting an Air Pollutant and Climate Forcer
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The Uncertain Climate Cost of Natural Gas

Assessment of methane leakage discrepancies in Europe, Russia and the US, and implications for sustainability
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Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for the Oceans

Three key recommen- dations for achieving oceans sustainability.
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Concentrated Solar Power

Facts about concentrated solar power technologies to produce clean energy
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Clean Air for All by 2030?

Three central policy recommen-dations
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Climate engineering: Recasting expertise?

Narrating the future makes it manageable. The stories we tell about emerging sciences and new technologies lay the groundwork for how we govern them.

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Can Russia imagine a post-fossil fuel future?

No post-fossil future is imagined for Russia, least of all by the Russians.

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14.08.2017 to 15.08.2017

Workshop: Towards a Contemplative Commons

Post-capitalism has become the subject of much recent debate ...
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Lesung und Gespräch: Das Risikoparadox

Im Rahmen des Lteraturfestivals LIT:potsdam sprechen Ortwin Renn und Harald Welzer über echte und falsche Gefahren ...
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04.09.2017 to 13.09.2017

Potsdam Summer School

Potsdam Summer School brings together talented early career researchers ...
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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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