Headline: Blog

The IASS blog contains contributions from employees in all IASS departments and covers a huge range of themes. In addition to discussing the latest research findings and events, the blog authors comment on political developments.

 

Justice in Sustainability Lecture

What transformative sustainability studies should learn from environmental justice movements

In April’s session of the IASS focal topic “Justice in Sustainability” lecture series, Dr Leah Temper shed light on “just transformations towards sustainability” from the perspectives of those fighting on the ground to achieve them. Her discussion of environmental justice activism took us back to the roots of thinking justice and environmental politics together. Find out in this summary what transformative sustainability studies should learn from environmental justice movements a summary of her lecture. You can also rewatch the lecture and the following Q&A session on the IASS YouTube channel.

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A G7 Climate Club to Booster Transatlantic Relations?

Since January, Germany has held the presidency of the Group of 7 (G7). In line with its own national priorities, the German government announced ambitious climate policy goals for its G7 presidency. They included accelerating the global coal phase-out and enhancing sectoral decarbonization. The G7 presidency also introduced the concept of a G7-based climate club, which represents an opportunity to intensify transatlantic climate and energy relations.

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How can ambitious and just climate action be ensured through the participation of civil society?

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of the Climate Action Network (CAN), held an inspiring lecture on the vital but often downplayed role that civil society can play in ensuring ambitious and just climate action. CAN is a global network of over 1,800 civil society organisations from over 120 countries that are fighting the climate crisis. The lecture took place as part of the monthly IASS Focal Topic Year on “Justice in Sustainability” public lecture series on May 19th, 2022.

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A digitalized economy for a more sustainable future

To take stock of industry’s real-world experience with digitalization to date and the expectations that exist with regard to sustainability impacts, the research group “Digitalisation and Sustainability Transformations” conducted an international study in China, Brazil, and Germany. Their results clearly show that the moderate gains made thanks to digitalization lag far behind the high hopes that many hold for it.

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Climate Justice Through Human Rights: The Carbon Majors Inquiry

While climate change-related disasters are increasing at an alarming rate, concrete action to limit such devastating effects is progressing at a different pace. Instead of addressing the main cause of climate change by curbing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from the production and consumption of fossil fuels, the Carbon Majors – the top producers of crude oil, natural gas, coal, and cement in the world – continue to be largely unregulated. In the Philippines, a landmark inquiry recently found legal grounds to hold corporations accountable.

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Germany’s G7 Presidency

Energy security, high expectations, and a climate club?

In 2022, Germany assumed the presidency of the Group of 7 (G7). Its term got off to an ambitious start but was soon overshadowed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine, the war is having an immense impact on the energy sector and efforts to protect the climate, the extent of which cannot be calculated at present. At the same time, Germany now finds itself caught up in a severe crisis due to its dependence on Russian gas imports.

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The promise of African clean hydrogen exports: potentials and pitfalls

Abundant energy resources in many parts of Africa position the continent as a potential location for the production and export of climate-friendly hydrogen, either based on renewable electricity (green hydrogen) or natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage technologies (blue hydrogen). Green hydrogen is produced via electrolysis by splitting water molecules into their component parts using renewable electricity, while blue hydrogen is produced by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and CO2 – after which the CO2 needs to be captured and stored.

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Stakeholder-based scenario building: How does it work in practice?

Looking at global energy transition processes, we were keen to find out how countries of the Global South fare in their energy transitions and what factors influence these developments. To find out, we did a deep dive into stakeholder-based scenario building and conducted country case studies in four different global regions. What considerations are important when constructing scenarios and what was the role of stakeholders in the process?

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Time is of the essence in the climate crisis – and so is the case for global justice and equity

We will not see quick transformations towards sustainable futures without the consideration of past and present inequalities and injustices. We can tackle the climate crisis much more efficiently and sustainably only if equity and justice are treated as top priorities by all countries at the negotiation table. While we acknowledge that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to today’s complex and diverse challenges, and that the process begins from different starting points, a closer look at the negotiations of the COP26 and ongoing actions around climate change can help us identify locations and processes that promote injustices and inequalities in preparations for the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

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Historical responsibilities of colonialism: Gender justice as a path to climate justice

The notion of development, or what we understand as prosperity, whether of a country, group, or individual, has been shaped throughout history by social constructs that stem from colonialism as an ideology. Colonialism is entrenched in our society as a monocultural form of domination and understanding and shaping the world. Its influence extends to the ways in which we interact with each other and with nature.

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