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What we work on

Transformative Sustainability Research

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) conducts research with the goal of identifying, advancing, and guiding transformation processes towards sustainable societies. Its research practice is transdisciplinary, transformative, and co-creative. The institute cooperates with partners in academia, political institutions, administrations, civil society, and the business community to understand sustainability challenges and generate potential solutions.

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News

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Climate Geoengineering Cannot Save the Paris Agreement

In order to avert the worst consequences of climate change, the Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and, if possible, to 1.5°C. But this goal will only be achieved if the signatory states reduce their emissions considerably more than they have pledged so far under the agreement. Could climate geoengineering be a Plan B if they fail to deliver? A team of authors led by IASS Scientific Director Mark Lawrence argue in an article just published in Nature Communications that the proposed technologies cannot be relied on to rescue the Paris Agreement and the 2°C goal.

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Potsdam Summer School 2018

Bright Young Things to Discuss the “Skin of the Earth”

The fifth Potsdam Summer School is devoted to “The Skin of our Planet – the Earth’s Surface System”. It will take place from 10 to 19 September 2018 at three different venues: the Albert Einstein Science Park on the Telegrafenberg, the University of Potsdam, and the IASS. Outstanding young researchers and early-career professionals from 36 different countries will converge on Potsdam to discuss very topical questions, exchange ideas, and forge international partnerships.

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Understanding the Arctic: New Textbook on Arctic Politics

The new textbook “Internationale Politik und Governance in der Arktis” offers a vivid and detailed overview of the actors, events, and processes that have shaped the governance of the Arctic Region. The textbook was written by IASS researcher Kathrin Stephen, Sebastian Knecht from Freie Universität Berlin and Golo M. Bartsch from the European External Action Service (Brussels).

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Dossiers

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Contributing to the Sustainable Development of Arctic Regions

Sustainable Arctic Futures: A Regional and Global Challenge Dossier

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. At the end of summer 2012, the extent of Arctic sea ice was the lowest since satellite measurements began: a mere 3.41 million km2, which is 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average. Since then, summertime sea ice in the Arctic has remained at a historically very low level. 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.

Links between greenhouse gases, climate change and air quality

Air Pollution and Climate Change Dossier

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.