Headline: Completed Projects since 2017

Politicizing the Future

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Nuclear waste, climate change, the coal phaseout: Decisions made today on issues like these can have far-reaching consequences for individuals, societies, and ecosystems in the future. This project explores how contemporary decision-making in politics, society, and the economy can be better aligned with the uncertainties of our future - and asks what measures are needed to achieve this.

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Evaluation of the "Forum Covid-19" Citizens' Assembly in Saxony

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The "Forum Covid-19" Citizens' Assembly brings together 50 randomly selected people in Saxony to discuss their experiences with the pandemic and the government's response. The citizens' assembly will develop its recommendations for policymakers in several meetings between now and spring 2022. The IASS and the nexus Institute are conducting an accompanying evaluation of the Corona Forum.

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Blue Carbon: Coastal and Marine Ecosystems for Climate Mitigation

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Marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes are able to store carbon in their biomass and sediments. Their conservation and restoration can thus make an important contribution to global climate targets and, beyond that, a healthy ocean. IASS researchers have presented recommendations for action concerning how Germany can better exploit the potential of these blue carbon ecosystems for national and global climate goals.

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Analysis and Categorisation of Hazards with High Crisis Potential

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The corona pandemic has revealed the vulnerability and crisis susceptibility of complex societies that are globally highly interdependent and linked with one another. Within the scope of a study carried out by the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, IASS researchers are making an analysis of hazards with high crisis potential.

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Marine Regions Forum

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The state of the ocean urgently requires that protection and sustainable use of marine systems are aligned, suitable measures put in place and all relevant actors engaged. The Marine Regions Forum provides an informal, transdisciplinary, and participatory space at the science-policy interface to enhance ocean action. It facilitates inclusive collaborations within and between regions that could trigger transformative change to address current ocean sustainability challenges such as biodiversity loss, the impacts of the global climate crisis, or marine pollution.

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Support of the BMU in Negotiations for a Global Ocean Biodiversity Treaty

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With Germany holding the Presidency of the EU in July to December 2020, IASS researchers are supporting the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the ongoing negotiations for the development of a new and internationally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the conservation and sustainable use of the marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

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Scoping Study: Monitoring the Global Hydrogen Economy

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In a project financed by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the IASS will develop a concept for a systematic monitoring process for the global hydrogen economy. Insights gathered through such a monitoring exercise are intended to underpin strategic innovation and market support within the framework of the international hydrogen policy of Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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A European Roadmap for Green Hydrogen

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Hydrogen is widely viewed as the energy resource of the future - both in German and European politics. Under current proposals, hydrogen is to be generated using electricity from renewable sources and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. The European Committee of the Regions has decided to contribute an own-initiative opinion to the political debate on the development of the European hydrogen economy. The IASS will play a supporting role in the preparation of this opinion.

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Solar Thermal Power Plants: Generating transformation knowledge with open data (Open CSP)

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Solar thermal power plants are a controllable source of renewable electricity. The development of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies is promising, but their expansion has been overshadowed by solar photovoltaics, which are more affordable but less reliable. This project will collect and publish data relating to CSP projects worldwide with the aim of providing the research and policy community with a detailed, high-quality overview.

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International Ocean Governance Forum

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With IASS support, the European Commission is in the process of developing a new platform for discussion and exchange on international ocean governance: the International Ocean Governance Forum (IOG Forum). Ocean actors and stakeholders are invited to participate in the Forum's online webinars and thematic workshops, targeted online consultations and conferences to develop joint proposals to advance the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. In this way the IOG Forum is contributing to the further development of European Union policy on international ocean governance.

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Considering Methane Emissions in the Modelling of Ozone Concentrations Using Chemical Transport Models

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Methane is a greenhouse gas as well as a precursor to tropospheric ozone, an air pollutant that is harmful to our health and ecosystems. Global methane emissions contribute significantly to background levels of ground-level ozone. This project evaluates and compares the representation of ozone production due to methane in a set of chemical transport models.

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Sustainability Platform BB - Pilot Phase

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The Platform for Sustainability in Brandenburg will serve as a forum for discussion and an effective and inclusive network for the many different sustainability initiatives in the federal state of Brandenburg. It was founded in January 2019 and is funded by Brandenburg's Ministry for Agriculture, the Environment and Climate Protection. The secretariat is based at the IASS. It coordinates the day-to-day work of the Platform, manages the Platform website, and develops innovative networking formats.

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Towards a Contemporary Vision for the Global Seafloor - Implementing the Common Heritage of Mankind

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Interest in the exploitation of deep sea mineral resources located in areas beyond national jurisdiction has grown significantly in recent years. The international debate around deep seabed mining has focused on its technical feasibility, profitability, and potential environmental impacts - rather than the question of whether deep seabed mining should take place at all and which development pathways could otherwise be explored. These questions are the subject of a new study commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation: "Towards a Contemporary Vision for the Global Seafloor - Implementing the Common Heritage of Mankind".

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Market uptake of solar thermal electricity through cooperation (MUSTEC)

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Concentrating solar power (CSP) projects in Southern Europe are capable of supplying dispatchable renewable electricity on demand both to domestic markets and to Central and Northern European countries. But various factors hinder their deployment. The MUSTEC research project proposes policy measures to overcome these obstacles.

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Digital Data as Subject of Transdisciplinary Processes (DiDaT)

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Digitalisation is changing our lives and bringing fundamental change to many domains, including both benefits and unwanted side effects. The challenge for sustainability research is to anticipate and identify the "unintended side effects" of the digital transition and to develop strategies that enable societies to cope with them properly. The DiDaT project will analyse and appraise the vulnerabilities of different stakeholder groups in a transdisciplinary dialogue between science and practice.

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Social Transformation and Policy Advice in Lusatia

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How is life in Lusatia set to change with the end of its coal-mining industry? What opportunities for sustainable social and economic dynamics does this present? And what can be done to ensure that the transformation of the region is democratic and fair? This project investigates processes of change in Lusatia and offers support and guidance to political and civil society actors in this context.

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Exploring the nexus of decentralized renewable energy supply and digital technologies for productive use in Africa

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Access to affordable and clean electricity is a central ingredient for social and economic development in remote rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Digital technologies also play an increasingly important role in facilitating access to education, information, services and new opportunities for income generation. The project will explore the nexus of a decentralized energy supply and the use of digital technologies.

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Plastic: Social Perception and Behaviour Patterns

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Despite the adoption of advanced waste disposal and recycling systems, plastic continues to enter the environment through littering, illegal dumping, and the use of waste-based fertilisers in farming. Researchers at the IASS are studying the issue of plastic pollution and how plastics are purchased, used, and disposed. Their findings will inform the development of proposals for transdisciplinary solutions.

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Geo.X: Impacts of atmospheric blocking on extreme air pollution over Europe

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Due to climate change, the risk of extreme weather events is going to increase considerably in the future. One of the triggers of such events is atmospheric blocking - stationary areas of high pressure. Blocking can also lead to severe air pollution. This project uses statistical methods to assess the influence of blocking on air pollution under climate change.

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Global Sustainability Strategy Forum

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The need for a global transformation towards sustainability is broadly acknowledged in business, politics, and civil society. And yet little progress has been made towards making this goal a reality. What can be done to close the gap between the current reality and the goal of a sustainable future?

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Democratic Anthropocene

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How can we create institutions with the capacity to attune contemporary political time, with its focus on election cycles, to the realities of planetary time and the development of life-sustaining resources over centuries? The project investigates questions such as this. It explores the emergent challenges presented by the Anthropocene and considers how they might be addressed within democratic societies.

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Deep Seabed Mining - Test Mining and Fair Benefit Sharing

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The project analyses the governance framework for potential mining activities in the Area beyond national jurisdiction. In dialogue with stakeholders from the science and policy communities and civil society, IASS researchers are generating independent reports and other input to support the international negotiation process under the umbrella of the International Seabed Authority.

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Environmental Guidelines for German Arctic Policy: ecologically sustainable activities with high environmental standards in the Arctic

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As a result of the depletion of Arctic sea ice, the geopolitical and geo-economic significance of the Arctic is growing. Building on the German Arctic Policy Guidelines adopted in 2013, this project develops concepts and implementation strategies for an ecologically sustainable German Arctic policy with high environmental standards.

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Development of standardised guidelines for the techno-economic assessment of carbon dioxide conversion processes

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Research on Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) is increasingly becoming important in industry, research, and politics. The result is a greater number of new technologies, for instance to produce chemicals, fuels, and minerals. However, to date there has been no comprehensive and standardised way of assessing these technologies from a technical or economic point of view. This project aims to close that gap by developing guidelines for determining the economic feasibility of emerging CCU technologies.

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Norderstedt City of the Future - Project phase II

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How can motorised traffic be reduced in a prosperous city of 80,000 inhabitants located in a busy metropolitan area? How can public spaces be revitalised? These are the kinds of questions raised by the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals and the pursuit of local sustainability objectives in Norderstedt. IASS researchers are helping the city find effective and practical answers to them.

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Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas (STRONG High Seas)

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The high seas span a vast area and make up nearly two thirds of the world's oceans. Existing governance frameworks do not adequately provide for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity in these areas. This project supports regional and national institutions in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific regions with the task of developing integrated governance approaches.

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Knowledge, Learning and Societal Change Alliance (KLASICA)

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How can collectively produced knowledge help to initiate societal transformations towards sustainable lifestyles? How can mutual learning motivate and guide collective action? The KLASICA project addresses these questions in cooperation with the international Future Earth research initiative.

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Narratives and Images of Sustainability

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What are the principal narratives in the field of sustainable development research? What does the success or failure of political narratives depend on? Researchers in this project explore how and by whom sustainability is 'narrated' and understood and make suggestions for successful narratives. They also examine how art can foster dialogue on sustainability.

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Arctic Impact on Weather and Climate (Blue-Action)

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Climate change is leading to rapid and far-reaching transformations in the Arctic, which is warming at a rate twice the global average. This project analyses how changes to the Arctic climate and a resulting increase in human activities in the region affect the climate and the weather of the entire Northern Hemisphere.

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CO2Min - Mineral Sequestration of CO2

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The natural minerals olivine and basalt are able to bind CO2 over their entire life cycle. However, under natural conditions it can take decades for the minerals to become saturated with the greenhouse gas. How could we harness technology to accelerate the absorption process, thereby contributing to climate protection? What are the potentials and risks of this method for society?

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Kopernikus Project Energy Transition Navigation System (Enavi)

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This project approaches the energy transition as a process of broad societal transformation. It investigates the respective roles of technological, economic, political, and social systems within the energy transition and develops options for their effective integration into the process.

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CO2 Plus - Broadening the Raw Material Base through the Utilisation of CO2

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Options for putting CO2 to good use - for example in the chemical industry and in fuel production or energy storage systems - are currently being investigated across the globe. This project examines the factors that influence the diffusion and acceptance of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technologies and develops information and dialogue formats that support a sustainable and socially responsible implementation process.

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Three-Dimensional Observation of Atmospheric Processes in Cities

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This project monitors air pollution and climate-relevant parameters in Berlin, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. How do the cities compare in terms of concentrations of pollutants? How representative are individual measurements? What are the implications of this for atmospheric modelling? The research team aims to answer these questions and contribute to the development of innovative urban climate models in the process.

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Promoting Acceptance of Renewable Energies

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For a successful energy transition, it is vital that the general population supports the expansion of renewable energies. This project asks whether a more environmentally friendly expansion could lead to greater acceptance of renewable energies.

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Governance and Participation

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This project investigates diverse forms of political and economic participation within the context of socio-ecological transformations like the energy transition, the German environmental movement, and the transformation of agriculture. The project aims to generate a nuanced understanding of the interdependencies of actors and structures experiencing change.

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An Assessment of the Impact of Black Carbon on Air Quality and Climate in the Kathmandu Valley and Surrounding Area - A Model Study (BERLiKUM)

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Parts of Nepal are among the most heavily polluted areas in the world. In a model study, this project assesses the impact of black carbon on air quality and the regional climate. Researchers are also engaging with local scientists and experts to identify which measures to reduce emissions lead to improvements in air quality.

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Implementing the Paris Agreement - Overcoming Barriers and Identifying Drivers for Effective Climate Governance

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The Paris Climate Agreement has been in force since November 2016. The countries that have adopted the agreement must now develop a regulatory regime for its implementation, deliver on their proposed commitments, and develop these further as the process progresses. This project analyses the main barriers to and drivers of implementation and examines the courses of action open to different actors.

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Ecological Safeguards for Deep Seabed Mining

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The deep seabed is the least understood ecosystem on Earth and is known to contain mineral resources in some areas. Their extraction presents significant technical challenges and is not as yet financially viable. Environmental reviews have shown that deep seabed mining could result in irreversible harms on a large scale. Efforts continue to promote the development of deep seabed mining despite low commodity prices and the resulting uncertainty around its economic benefits. At present, the extraction of mineral resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction is not the subject of a comprehensive legal framework. The project Ecological Guardrails for Deep Seabed Mining evaluates potential environmental impacts and advises the German Federal Environment Agency on the development of environmental standards to safeguard the sustainability of deep seabed mining under the supervision of the International Seabed Authority.

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Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security

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Limited access to financing, insecure land tenure, and insufficient agricultural services – the factors that constrain the uptake of sustainable land management techniques by farmers in developing countries are well known. But how can smallholder farmers in developing countries be best supported in their efforts to manage their lands sustainably? The project Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security aims to address this question. Working alongside diverse stakeholders and local populations, researchers are developing new approaches to facilitate the uptake of sustainable land management techniques. This project partners with organisations on the ground in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and India.

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Global Soil Week

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This annual event draws attention to the poor state of soils around the world. A vital resource, soils underpin human and ecosystem health and are not renewable within human time frames. Soils form the basis for more than 95 per cent of all food produced worldwide and are an enormous source of biodiversity. Despite this, billions of tonnes of soil are lost to erosion or are sealed over every year. Famine and growing conflicts over land use are just some of the consequences. The Global Soil Week brings together policymakers and stakeholders from the private sector, science, and civil society to develop strategies and measures that support sustainable soil management. A particular emphasis is placed on the roles of states, government agencies, and local authorities in responsible land governance.

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Arctic Ocean Ecosystems - Applied Technology, Biological Interactions and Consequences in an Era of Abrupt Climate Change (ArcticABC)

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How will the decline in Arctic sea ice affect fish stocks in this region? What are the likely consequences of this development for the regulation of Arctic fisheries? Contributing to the IASS project Global Change and Arctic Sustainable Transformations, this project will examine the stakes of Arctic and non-Arctic actors in Arctic fisheries and assess the existing Arctic fisheries governance framework as to its appropriateness for peaceful and environmentally sustainable management. The project aims to create a better understanding of global-local interconnections between stakeholders within and beyond the Arctic region in the area of fisheries and to identify deficits in the governance of Arctic fisheries.

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Norderstedt City of the Future - Project phase I

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How can motorised traffic be reduced in a prosperous city of 80,000 inhabitants located in a busy metropolitan area? How can public spaces be revitalised? These are the kinds of questions raised by the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals and the pursuit of local sustainability objectives in Norderstedt. IASS researchers are helping the city find effective and practical answers to them.

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AGORA – Acting Together Now for Pro-poor Strategies against Soil and Land Degradation

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Swathes of valuable farming land are lost each year to the effects of land degradation, erosion, and soil salinity. Sixty-seven per cent of all arable land in Africa is currently endangered. What could be done to halt or even reverse this trend? What steps could be taken to improve the livelihoods of impoverished rural populations? These questions are the focus of the research project AGORA – Acting Together Now for Pro-Poor Strategies Against Soil and Land Degradation. This joint research effort brings stakeholders from the fields of science, policymaking, and civil society together with local populations to develop strategies for sustainable land use and management.

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