Headline: Environmental and Societal Change - News

IASS Discussion Paper

Preparing for Uncertain Futures in the Russian Arctic

The environment in the Arctic Circle and the Yamal region of Western Siberia is changing rapidly and the outlook for the region’s social, political, economic, and environmental future is clouded in uncertainty. A new IASS Discussion Paper presents the findings of the research project “Yamal 2040: Scenarios for the Russian Arctic”, in which researchers explored different future scenarios in cooperation with local stakeholders.

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We need a binding global agreement on plastics

There are increasing signs that negotiations over a global agreement on plastic pollution will begin in February 2022. In an article co-authored by IASS researcher Sebastian Unger and his team published in the journal “Science”, a team of scientists present the three key objectives and a number of supporting actions for an intergovernmental agreement in order to effectively curb the increasing amount of plastic waste.

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Strengthening Regional Marine Protection Through Dialogues

Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“Life below water”) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses the protection and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources. Conventional approaches to environmental policy and governance are less suited to transboundary systems such as the ocean. A new study by researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) examines the challenges and potentials of collaborative processes at the level of marine regions.

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Policy advice

Recommendations on Polar Research Submitted to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Over 100 experts on the Arctic Region, including researchers from the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, have prepared a concept paper on “Polar Regions in Transition” for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The paper, which presents recommendations on key areas of focus for polar research in the coming years, was presented to the public at an online launch on 19 May 2021.

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Global action plan

Save our oceans to protect our health

The European interdisciplinary collaboration Seas Oceans and Public Health In Europe (SOPHIE) Project has outlined the initial steps that a wide range of organisations could take to work together to protect the largest connected ecosystem on Earth. In a commentary paper published in the American Journal of Public Health the researchers, among them Torsten Thiele of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), call on public health and medical professionals to harness the UN Ocean Decade (2021-2030) as a meaningful catalyst for global change, reminding us that ocean health is intricately linked to human health.

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New mobility in Berlin

Creation of Cycle Lane on Kottbusser Damm Leads to 22% Reduction in Air Pollution

Berlin's Mobility Act aims to strengthen eco-mobility by improving conditions in the city for cyclists, pedestrian traffic, and public transport. How do changes in mobility infrastructure affect air quality? Researchers from the IASS have evaluated the impacts of two trials: a bicycle lane and a community street space. Their measurements show that air pollution decreased significantly during these traffic trials.

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IASS Policy Brief

Deep Seabed Mining Must Benefit All Humankind

As investors set their sights on the mineral resources of the deep seabed, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is developing regulations that will govern their future exploration and possible exploitation. A new IASS Policy Brief, published in cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), presents three recommendations to ensure that future deep seabed mining would be to the common benefit all humankind, as required by international law.

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IASS Study

Recommendations for Regional Action to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution

Millions of tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean every year. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam has investigated the role of regional ocean governance in the fight against marine plastic pollution, highlighting why regional marine governance should be further strengthened as negotiations for a new global agreement continue.

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IOG Forum

EU Platform Develops Recommendations to Improve Marine Conservation

With the support of the IASS, the European Commission and the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy brought together representatives from politics, science, and civil society at a virtual conference over three days in December 2020 to develop recommendations for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans. Developed within the framework of the EU International Ocean Governance Forum (IOG Forum), these recommendations will underpin the pending revision of the European Union's International Ocean Governance Agenda of 2016.

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Air Quality and Climate

More Ambitious Legislation Needed to Protect People, Crops, and Ecosystems

Whether the air that we breathe will be cleaner or dirtier in the future will largely be determined by two key factors: pollutant emissions and climate change. In a new publication, the authors analyze projections of future air quality and compare their various effects on human health, crops, and ecosystems. The research reveals that emissions reductions beyond those required under current legislation will be needed if we wish to see significant improvements. Policymakers should also seek to couple air pollution control and climate policy more effectively.

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Car-free Friedrichstraße: IASS Evaluates Impacts on Air Quality

The Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection in Berlin will close Friedrichstrasse to vehicles for five months. A section of this major thoroughfare is to be transformed into a car-free zone from 29 August. Experts anticipate increases in pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Researchers will study how the closure affects air quality, with scientists from the IASS helping to measure and evaluate its impact on air pollution levels.

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