Headline: Blog

Im Blog des Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) schreiben Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter aus allen Bereichen des Instituts. Die Themen reichen von Forschungsergebnissen über Veranstaltungsberichte bis hin zu Kommentaren über politische Entwicklungen. Die Autorinnen und Autoren äußern auf dem IASS-Blog ihre persönliche Meinung.

 

Workshop report

The Global South – From conceptualization to action?

On 31 May 2021, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies hosted an event under the title “The Global South: Where and what is it?”. The event was planned and organized by Alexandra Tost, Artur Sgambatti Monteiro, Flávio Lira, Natalia Realpe Carrillo, Pradeep Singh and Achim Maas. This online event was the result of several months of preparation among fellows and researchers at the IASS who had realized the potential for a discussion around this topic.

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World Ocean Day

Why financial regulators need to consider ocean biodiversity

As the largest and most complex ecosystem on the planet, the ocean plays a key role in efforts to address the interrelated challenges of biodiversity collapse and climate change. Despite this, its dynamics have only been inadequately included in financial approaches intended to mitigate them. Financial regulators are increasingly aware of the multiple links between the climate and biodiversity crisis and the financial system and how nature is impacted by financial flows. They now need to fully integrate ocean biodiversity into their approaches.

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The pandemic: An opportunity for transformation?

The response to the coronavirus pandemic has brought about changes that would once have seemed unthinkable. As part of its precautionary measures, the state has been permitted to limit freedoms in order to protect the health of its citizens. The flood of mass tourism has become a trickle and the number of people commuting to work has plummeted. As economies slow, so too do greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, Germany has reached its climate goals for 2020 after all. The pandemic has also seen a surge in solidarity, with citizens helping each other with the shopping, collecting donations for shuttered cinemas and much more. Parliaments have seen bipartisan support for bridging loans, debt moratoriums, and stimulus programmes to keep businesses afloat and support struggling families.

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Methane: A new hope? There is plenty of potential, but ambition is lacking

There is a lot on the international climate policy agenda in 2021. Most importantly, countries will finally have to submit their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The European Green Deal will contribute to this process and will hopefully lead the EU towards a low-carbon economy with new climate protection targets and many other measures. With pressure growing to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil its international commitments, the EU is now examining the options around methane.

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Justice and the Climate Crisis: Germany’s Constitutional Court Rules on Climate Action Legislation

On 29 April 2021, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court handed down a truly historic judgement when a complaint filed by nine young people against the Federal Climate Change Act (2019) (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz – KSG) met with partial success, with the court ruling that some of the provisions of the Act are incompatible with the fundamental rights of youth especially.

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The Aesthetics and Sustainability Fund (FÄN)

Connecting culture and sustainability to foster action

We need other, more sustainable, cross-cutting forms of funding to tap the potential of art and culture, advance society with new ideas, and enable cooperation with science.
The aim of the Fund Aesthetics and Sustainability |FÄN is to close this gap. The FÄN is intended to open up a further space of possibility and expand the artistic radius of action.

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The Information War. Misinformation as a Resource for Political Mobilization

“Stop the steal!”, “Plandemic!”, “Climate hoax” – these three examples are representative of an ominous shift in contemporary politics that has seen misinformation emerge as a key resource for political mobilization. Verifiably false information, held by a group to be valid, has become a linchpin of political debate. Whatever the issue at hand, the strategy is always the same: reliable knowledge is called into question and relativized by the deployment of competing and contrasting narratives. Challenges to the validity of these are subsequently branded as attacks on the freedom of opinion and proof of a “dictatorship of opinion”. Combining social media activism with street protests, this strategy has gained considerable momentum in the last years and an adequate response is yet to be developed.

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A bank for the ocean and a sustainable future

Thirty years ago today, world leaders came together to launch the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a bold initiative to foster change in an economic system that was degrading both the environment and indeed entire societies. Today, with the ocean facing unprecedented threats, a similarly bold initiative is required.

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Is Mitsubishi’s withdrawal from the Vinh Tan coal power plant a signal for Vietnam’s energy transition?

In late February 2021, Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corporation decided to pull out of the Vinh Tan 3 coal-fired power plant project in Vietnam after facing considerable pressure from investors and activists over the company’s fossil fuel investments. This decision follows in the footsteps of HSBC’s withdrawal one year previously. Scheduled to go on-grid in 2024, the 2-gigawatt plant was expected to feature ultra-supercritical technology. This is the first time that Mitsubishi has pulled out of a coal development project. Work on Vinh Tan 3 will now continue under the aegis of China Southern Power Grid, which is also a major investor in the Vinh Tan 1 power plant. However, this outcome will not serve the interests of Vietnam in terms of job creation, air quality, and achieving climate targets.

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The Amazon - From the periphery to the centre of discussions

The behavioural and production patterns of humankind have put the world on a collision course with our planetary boundaries. As global warming leads us towards large-scale disaster, ecosystems are becoming more fragile by the day and social inequality is growing fast. We must urgently move towards a more sustainable and equitable collective existence. This text is about the consequences of current unsustainability, rather than its causes.

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Remembering Paul Crutzen: A Grand Scientist who took on the Grand Challenges of the Anthropocene

Paul Crutzen, who left us last month, on 28 January 2021, aged 87, was certainly one of the most important Earth system scientists of the Anthropocene.
Paul’s work covered a wide range of topics. His earliest work focused on stratospheric ozone chemistry, through which he helped develop an understanding of the potential effects of human activities, including supersonic aircraft, on the Earth’s ozone shield. His work also provided a basis for understanding the Antarctic ozone hole, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, together with Mario Molina and Sherry Rowland.

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Academic statement

Proposals on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and the Environment

Together with an interdisciplinary group of academic experts, we were invited to develop a set of practical proposals to address serious environmental issues raised by the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement (EUMAA). While recognising the broader developmental and human rights context in which EUMAA is taking place, the statement concentrates on five priority issues.

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