Headline: Climate

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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Handbuch Klimaschutz

Knowledge for Action

The precise form a climate-neutral society should take and the pathways that will lead us to that goal are questions not just for scientists and politicians, but for the whole of society. Citizens must be involved in the transition to climate neutrality. A new handbook on climate protection (Handbuch Klimaschutz) condenses the findings of around 300 scientific studies and provides a sound basis for a future citizens' assembly for climate protection.

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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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Political processes

Recommendations for Responding to the Fridays for Future Movement

The level of public concern about climate change has risen significantly in recent years. The Fridays for Future movement enjoys broad political and public support, but this has so far not translated into tangible changes. IASS Fellow Elizabeth Dirth has now developed a resource – the Futuring Tool – and a more comprehensive Policy Brief aimed at decision-makers who want to make climate protection a guiding principle of their work.

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Symposium

One Planet, One Health

In the face of a changing climate and widespread environmental destruction it is difficult to envision a future in which healthy people inhabit a healthy planet. Strategies to safeguard planetary health were the subject of an IASS symposium on the occasion of the inaugural "Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship" on 6 November in Berlin.

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Education

Learning about Carbon: IASS Develops Educational Resource

The “Future Box: Carbon” developed by the IASS in cooperation with Berlin’s Futurium Museum offers school pupils an exciting and hands-on introduction to climate change and raw materials. This learning resource is suitable for use in classes from 8th Grade up and for all school types. The Future Box can be used in different subjects and will help to build awareness of sustainable development issues.

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IASS Policy Brief

Climate Protection and Clean Air: An Integrated Approach

From 23 – 25 September 2019, heads of government from around the world will convene at the United Nations’ General Assembly to discuss efforts to advance climate action and global sustainable development. The summit aims to boost national ambitions to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and will review the implementation of measures relating to the Sustainable Development Goals. The relationship between air pollution and climate change plays an important role in this context, and is the subject of a new IASS Policy Brief titled “A Practical Approach to Integrating Climate and Air Quality Policy”.

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Interview

Tackling Disinformation on Climate Change

To avert devastating climate change impacts, we need to make dramatic lifestyle changes. Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Washington and currently IASS Senior Fellow, explains how better communication can help us succeed in changing course.

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Interview

Climate Action Takes Shape in Israel

David Dunetz has worked for 20 years at the Heschel Center for Sustainability in Tel Aviv, which leads the Israel Climate Forum, a consortium of civil society organizations. As a Visiting Research Fellow at the IASS Potsdam on a joint program with the Israel Public Policy Institute, he is currently researching how civic engagement and participation processes can advance climate policy and democratic innovation.

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Climate Action Plan 2050

IASS Director Ortwin Renn Appointed to Scientific Steering Committee for Climate Action

Germany’s Ministry of the Environment (BMU) and Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have appointed IASS Director Ortwin Renn to the steering committee of the scientific platform for the German Climate Action Plan 2050. The committee, which is composed of up to ten renowned scientists and academics, is tasked with helping the German federal government advance and implement its long-term climate strategy.

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Research Projects Showcased in the Heart of Potsdam

In our daily lives we tend to hurry past construction sites. But the fence surrounding a major building site on Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in Potsdam has been attracting attention following the launch of a hugely interesting open-air exhibition on Saturday, 19 January. The exhibition showcases the range of research projects based in the city and explores its diverse research landscape.

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The IASS at the Katowice Climate Change Conference

The 24th UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) is due to take place in the Polish city of Katowice from 2 to 14 December. At this year’s COP, minds will focus on concrete steps towards implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. A whole host of experts from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) will be there. At the international symposium on “Safeguarding Our Climate, Advancing Our Society”, IASS Scientific Director Patrizia Nanz will speak about the role democratic structures can play in the shift to sustainability. And IASS Scientific Director Mark Lawrence will represent the institute at the High Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition on the margins of the conference.

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Meeting with State Government

A Future Commission for Brandenburg

The Governor of Brandenburg and members of the state government came to the IASS on 12 December to discuss energy policy and climate protection. Together with the directors of the IASS and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), they explored the idea of a Future Commission to ensure that Brandenburg’s energy transition is socially responsible and economically sustainable.

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Blog Posts

Climate-Theatre-Disaster

Theatre Makes Complexity of Climate Change Palpable

A long, grotty corridor, bathed in cold neon light. The audience of just ten people is divided into two groups and has to keep the mandatory distance of 1.5 metres while standing in line. You wait and ask yourself what’s going to happen next. This is how a performance of Tornado, a “Climate-Theatre-Disaster”, gets under way at Berlin’s Theaterdiscounter.

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Coronavirus

Where is the policy response to air pollution deaths?

The current death toll from Covid-19 is just over 800,000 people worldwide. This is likely to be a conservative estimate. To provide some perspective, in 2017, around 56 million people died, with the largest cause of death being cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for about 32% of deaths. 4.2 million people die every year as a result of exposure to outdoor air pollution. If we consider the rankings of risk factors for death, air pollution is number 4 on the list. 4!! Why am I suddenly bringing air pollution into this? Initial research has shown that there is a link between air pollution and Covid-19 cases.

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Coronavirus

The “Wicked Problem” of the Covid-19 Pandemic

The current outbreak of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) will affect virtually every person on Earth, either directly or indirectly. Many people will die of the infectious disease caused by this coronavirus (Covid-19), and others will lose people close to them. Many more will suffer other extreme hardships – psychological, social and financial – due to the extensive physical distancing measures that are reducing the spread of the virus. While there may be some perceived “silver linings”, such as temporarily reduced air pollution and CO2 emissions, and for some an opportunity to slow down and contemplate their ways of living, in the balance the effects are already tremendously challenging for the world, and are likely to get much worse before the pandemic is over.

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Video blog

How will the Corona Crisis affect energy policy?

The Europe-wide shutdown is reducing both energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. At first glance, this might seem like good news. But it has also caused CO2 certificates traded under the European Union Emissions Trading System to lose a third of their value since March. Economic activity is expected to be significantly depressed over the coming weeks and months and production capacities underused.

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K3 Kongress

Outrage vs. Empathy – a Culture Clash in Climate Communication?

“We need to start by telling people they are awesome.” This was one of the central messages from climate communications expert George Marshall in his opening keynote at K3: Kongress zu Klimawandel Kommunikation und Gesellschaft, the German-language congress on climate communication that took place this September in Karlsruhe. As in: we have to accept people for who they are, listen to them, and frame climate action in terms that align with their values.

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Giving future generations a say in policy and society

"Future generations" have become an integral part of discussions about sustainability. This stems all the way back to the very definition of sustainable development in the Brundtland Report, but has gained new significance with the explosion of youth environmental movements we’ve seen in recent years. The general public seems to agree that future generations should be taken into account in political decision-making processes: More and more people are understanding that their children’s or their grandchildren’s lives are under threat because of our decisions and lack of action on environmental degradation, climate change, and other sustainability challenges.

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Responding to Fridays for Future and the Youth Movement for Climate Justice

It has been a year since the first day of the very first school strike for climate. The school strike movement that sprung up in its wake has spread to over 1000 cities and countries around the world, with growing numbers of young people attending the weekly protest marches. As the movement enters its second year, it stands at an important turning point: either that there is a slow dismantling by way of red-tape and new rules that will force young people into submission; or societies will seize on the transformational potential of this moment to initiate meaningful responses to youth demands for climate justice.

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Key Takeaways from COP24

The United Nations’ climate talks in Katowice, Poland this past December wrapped up with an agreement on the terms to finalize most of the Paris Rulebook and set the 2015 Paris Agreement into action. While the parties agreed on many important issues, the final text comes up short on several key fronts.

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No Silver Bullet Against Climate Change

The 2018 COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland is over. Looking back at what has been achieved in the three years since the historical Paris Agreement reminds me a bit of the John Lennon lyrics: “So this is Christmas - and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.” While the conference was indeed successful in coming to an agreement over the rule book for how to account for countries upholding their commitments to limiting climate-relevant emissions under the Paris Agreement, there were no real breakthroughs.It is reassuring that the rule book was achieved, despite the considerable resistance from several countries, though it is exactly what was on the plan for this round of negotiations. Thus COP24 was another milestone in the steady progress being made towards implementing measures intended to help us achieve the chief goal of the Paris Agreement: keeping global warming well below 2°C, aiming to limit it to only 1.5°C.

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New Horizons for Public Participation at COP24

Participation played a key role at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice. On the second day of COP24, Sir David Attenborough lent his signature voice to deliver the People’s Address before a full COP plenary. The address consisted of a two-minute video collage of social media video recordings, tweets and posts published under the #TakeYourSeat hashtag in the months prior and addressed to decision-makers at the summit.

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A provocation on the COP23

On the culture of untapped potential

Letzte Woche nahm ich an der UN-Klimakonferenz COP23 in Bonn teil. Abgesehen davon, dass ich im Mai 2017 bei den Verhandlungen zwischen den Konferenzen ein interaktives Side Event moderiert hatte, war das mein erster Besuch bei einer der jährlich stattfindenden COPs des UNFCCC.

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Ways forward for Loss and Damage: An interview with Saleemul Huq

Dr Saleemul Huq is Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh and has participated in the international climate negotiations since their inception in 1992. His current work focuses on the engagement of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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The transatlantic mobility challenge

The annual conference of the parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an important venue for stakeholders to highlight the blind spots of international climate protection efforts. The transport sector was one of them at this year’s COP23 in Bonn, missing from most countries’ climate pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement. In this neglected policy area, Germany and the U.S.

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Building transatlantic common ground in combating global warming

As the world gathered in Bonn for its twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23), the newly published Emissions Gap Report 2017 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) helped to underline the mantra of the conference: all countries need to raise their climate protection efforts quickly and substantially.

The report shows that even if fully implemented, each nation’s current nationally determined commitments (NDCs), laid out by each of the signatories to th

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Is it Still OK to Fly?

Despite the fact that every single plane journey compounds climate change, many people still decide to fly. False incentives are to blame, says Katharina Beyerl.

I was recently asked to answer the question “Is it still OK to fly?” for a TV programme – in just ten sentences.

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Less Diesel, More Cargo Bike Sharing

With one “diesel summit” following swiftly on the heels of another these days, we should not lose sight of the overarching mobility transition project. Cargo bike sharing should be promoted to give city dwellers more alternatives to cars.

Let’s face it; a diesel car will never be clean. At best, it might become less dirty. While technical upgrades to diesel vehicles are essential, on their own they will solve neither the traffic problems in our cities nor the issue of dangerous emissions in the transport sector as a whole.

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Poking holes in our mindsets: impressions from the Potsdam Summer School 2017

As an unprecedented weather event unfolded last week across the Atlantic Ocean, affecting Gulf Coast states and major cities in the United States as well as island communities throughout the Caribbean, over 40 young professionals and graduate students from over 30 countries gathered at the IASS to discuss “Human Environments in a Changing World” – the topic of the fourth Potsdam Summer School.

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Stop the blame game: Russia is waking up to climate change

During my last visit to Russia I was watching Russian TV – an awful source of propaganda and misinformation, according to many. To my surprise, one of the federal (i.e. government-controlled) channels was reporting about climate change in a primetime slot. To my further surprise, the program didn’t rehash the usual conspiracy theories about what a fraud global warming is, invented by western politicians with the goal of harming Russia. No, it was a rather good report, which explained the correlation between climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

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No More Perks for Diesel

To improve air quality in the long term diesel vehicles must be subject to the same emissions standards as other vehicles and the tax advantages that diesel enjoys must be abolished.

At the recent ‘Diesel Summit’ in Berlin, politicians, car manufacturers and others met to discuss possible ways out of the current diesel mess. The measures on the table include banning diesel vehicles from cities, introducing a ‘blaue Plakette’, and retrofitting older models. But none of these will suffice.

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Renewable Energy in Africa: China is Indispensable

Without China, little can change in Africa. This is why Germany should work closely with Beijing on the issue of investments in climate-friendly infrastructure in Africa.

Following the USA’s announcement of its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the international community is facing the first serious crisis of global climate policy since the breakthrough in 2015. Initially, this may not have much impact on reducing emissions in the USA itself.

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Can Russia imagine a post-fossil fuel future?

No post-fossil future is imagined for Russia, least of all by the Russians. The kleptocrats flee the country and stash their bounty in safe havens, countries with confidential banking, enough rule of law to avoid the confiscation of their spoils, and pliable politicians to provide protection. The export of capital and the purchase of expensive houses and other assets outside Russia reveal that large parts of its ‘economic elite’ do not think they will stay in power for long.

The economic era of fossil energy will end, and petro-states will decline with it.

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Climate Policy under Donald Trump: What is to Become of America’s Energy Transition?

Clean energy was a key climate policy instrument during the Obama presidency. Obama also understood the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and comparatively low-emission natural gas as a driver of economic growth (Obama, 2017). Donald Trump has set out his energy policy in the America First Energy Plan – a strategy paper that stretches to about half an A4 page. It focuses on the promotion of fossil fuels with the aim of promoting economic growth and making the country energy independent (The White House, 2017a) .

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How Long Is Now? Reflections on Berlin, Deep Time and Planetary Futures

Walking westwards along Oranienburger Strasse in Berlin-Mitte, the building-high mural How Long Is Now dominates the horizon, eclipsing nearby landmarks. It is, as I learned, a now legendary artwork adorning the derelict art centre Kunsthaus Tacheles (‘straight talking’ in Yiddish). The building embodies what is true for the city as a whole, at least as it is initially experienced by an outsider: wearing on its sleeve a succession of external and internal revolutionary changes.

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Strengthening the G20 sustainable energy agenda – the way forward

The 2017 G20 summit takes place in the country that has won international recognition for its “Energiewende” – a fundamental transformation of its energy system. This provides an important window of opportunity for strengthening the G20 agenda on sustainable energy. The world’s overall energy supply is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which undermines climate protection objectives and the resilience of financial markets.

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Donald Trump and the Future of Climate Protection

On 20 January 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the forty-fifth president of the United States. His previous announcements on energy policy mark a clear departure from the climate policy ambitions of his predecessor, Barack Obama. But what exactly should we expect from Trump’s climate and energy policies? Will he really be able to overturn the climate policies adopted by the US under the Obama Administration?

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A Milestone for Climate Protection: Paris Agreement Enters into Force

The Paris Agreement, the new international climate treaty, enters into force today on 4 November 2016. This rapid entry into force, occurring within a year of its adoption, is unusual for an international climate treaty: to date, 97 Parties have ratified the Paris Agreement. Together they are responsible for around 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement, negotiated just ten months ago, enters into force ahead of the UN Marrakech Climate Change Conference, which begins on 7 November.

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Cycle or Walk to IASS Challenge

Happy and motivated people, a sunny day, delicious homemade pastries, a short opening speech, and there we were—ready to launch our first Cycle or Walk to IASS Challenge on this morning of 27 June 2016! Our goal?

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Those arrogant Energiewende folks

Germany’s energy transition, its Energiewende, is the backdrop for Juli Zeh’s novel Unterleuten. The title has multiple meanings. First, Unterleuten is the name of a small rural town where citizens learn one day that a wind farm is to be built in their midst.

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Mitigating Climate Change, Brick by Brick

Nearly one year ago, in December 2015, 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, a global, legally binding treaty for keeping global climate change “well below 2°C”, pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Preparations are underway for this year’s UN Climate Conference, COP22, which will take place from 7-18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco. Thanks to a recent surge in ratifications, the Paris Agreement stands a high chance of entering into force this year.

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“An enriching session”: Potsdam Summer School Participants and Local Students Discuss Climate Change

“Be unique, make a change” was one of the take-home messages from Potsdam secondary school students, who, together with young professionals attending the Potsdam Summer School, worked on the interpretation of a metaphor story about a giant frog originating from the culture of Australian Aborigines. Storytelling, lively discussions, and great views of Potsdam at sunset have been part of an event organized by the IASS in the framework of the 2016 Potsdam Summer School at the Bildungsforum Potsdam.

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Finding the Piece That’s Been Missing in Climate Science Education

A guest scholar at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, Drew Bush is completing a doctoral dissertation in the Department of Geography and School of Environment at McGill University in Montreal. His research examines how inquiry-based teaching using a climate model developed by the Goddard Institute impacts student learning of climate change science.

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Can the G20 Summit Give New Impetus to a Global Energy Transition?

On 4 and 5 September the next G20 Summit will take place in Hangzhou, China. While the G20 was initially created as a forum for discussion and collaboration to prevent financial crises, in the last several years the promotion of a sustainable energy supply has been added to the agenda. Some important first steps have already been made, but they are far from sufficient to bring about a global energy transition.

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Sustainability Research in a Sustainable Workplace

Scientists working at the IASS address diverse topics across the field of sustainability research. But how sustainable is our institute? In the summer of 2014 staff at the IASS launched an initiative to seek answers to this question. Our goal is to promote sustainability at the institute and minimise its ecological footprint. We aim to reduce emissions, improve resource efficiency at the institute, and make sustainability a part of our everyday professional practice.

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The High Seas as Global Commons

It is Easter Monday and I am at the United Nations in New York in a full room of representatives from member states and organisations. An Easter chocolate bunny proudly stands on the European Union’s desk and provides for jovial talks before the meeting is officially opened by the Chair, His Excellency Mr Eden Charles from Trinidad and Tobago.

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Renewable Energy Act: Switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions marginalises energy cooperatives

With the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act (2014), Germany prepared the ground for the replacement of feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which provided grid operators with a set fee for every kilowatt-hour of wind energy or solar power, to an auction-based system in accordance with the requirements of the European Commission. This system has been tested in a series of pilot auctions for solar (PV) parks.

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Focus on Fulfilling the Climate Agreement instead of Lowering Power Prices: a Comment on the Debate about the “EEG Fund”

Once again, the political discussion is focusing on a state fund to finance renewables in Germany instead of using a surcharge on power consumption. This time, Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer is calling for it. At first glance, it seems to be a good idea." For a long time, Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) provided renewable technologies with support similar to that given to other technologies, such as nuclear power, by means of taxes.

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Social Benefits of Renewable Energies

Boosted by impressive technological innovation and cost reductions, renewable energy in a growing number of countries is now primarily considered for its social and economic benefits. Among these benefits are opportunities for local value creation, for responding to growing energy demands and for reducing conflicts over scarce water, which are aggravated by fossil power generation.

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Climate Migration post-Paris

In the aftermath of COP21 in December 2015, when the world celebrated the adoption of a new climate treaty, several commentators and academics asked an all important question: what about climate migrants? Many articles have since sprung up analysing whether and how climate migration has been addressed by the Paris Agreement.

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The CO2 Economy – The Transformation of Carbon Dioxide from a Liability to an Asset

Carbon Capture and Utilisation or Recycling (CCU or CCR) and related technologies could play an important role in a future sustainable and diversified energy supply with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CCU entails capturing CO2 from large emitters like coal-fired power plants and re-utilising it to manufacture useful products; as such, CCU represents an alternative to Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS).

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Impressions from a first-timer at COP21

When I told friends and co-workers that I would be attending the COP21 climate summit, the first response I got was usually “cool!” followed by “so what are you actually going to do there??” Well, I knew what I would be doing there: for months now, I have been working on behalf of the IASS with partners from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to organize two side events on the connection between climate change and air quality in order to highlight how better air quality can have benefits for climate, health, and development.

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International Energy Policy: Shifting Towards Renewables

While the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is now established as a global voice for renewable energies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is coming under increased pressure to modernise.

On 11 November 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented the World Energy Outlook 2015 in Berlin. From the speech of the new IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, it was clear that the IEA is under pressure to modernise.

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The Arctic Circle - A Report from Reykjavik

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Reykjavik to attend Arctic Circle 2015, a large gathering bringing together scientists, policy makers, civil society, intergovernmental organisations and industry representatives (the accompanying short film provides a snapshot of the event).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDkhMU78niQ

The gathering is the brainchild of the Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and aims to serve as a platform to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the in

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Governing the Climate in Cities

Urban areas account for more than 70% of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. If the top 50 emitting cities were a single country, its emissions would rank third globally, behind China and the United States. In addition to playing a major role in rising atmospheric CO2 and global warming, cities are also heat islands. A heat island is formed on the one hand from waste heat emitted from cars, poorly insulated buildings and industrial plants, and on the other from heat stored and reradiated from the artificial surfaces that cover our cities.

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A Science Perspective on the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

When I initially heard about the VW scandal, it was secondhand and I hadn’t read any of the news yet, I didn’t have any of the facts. But I remember thinking (and saying), I don’t know what the big deal is about, everyone knows those chassis dynamometer tests they use for estimating emissions don’t get anywhere close to the real-world emission values. Then I read about it and saw what all the fuss was about – 35 times higher than the US limit value?! And cheating software to pass the test?!

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A Black Future for Coal

King Coal – as the most widespread and cheapest fossil energy source is often called – is entering a crucial, maybe definitive, phase. Indeed, worldwide coal consumption has decreased significantly in recent years due to a growing hostility to the generation of electricity using unsustainable coal.

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The Theory and Practice of Disaster Risk Reduction: Q&A with Nina Köksalan

The second international Potsdam Summer School drew to a close on 23 September. Over 10 days, 40 participants from various fields and 28 different countries discussed this year’s Summer School theme, “Facing Natural Hazards”, with renowned scientists from Potsdam-based research institutes and international experts. One of those participants was Nina Köksalan. Nina studied geography, art history, philosophy and sociology and has been working for three and a half years at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome.

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The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris: Q&A with Rómulo Acurio Traverso

Rómulo Fernando Acurio Traverso is the Deputy Representative of Peru for Climate Change. In this function, he played a central role in the previous United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conferences and is currently preparing the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris this year, where 96 countries will come together to seek a deal to limit emissions to less than 2˚C above pre-industrial levels.

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A Watershed Year for Climate Protection

It was one of the most important messages to emerge from the 2014 climate negotiations in Lima: beyond the discussions of goals and time frames, we mustn’t forget to take action. When climate negotiations take place once again at the end of this year in Paris, they should serve above all to give an emphatic boost to processes towards sustainable development and globally effective climate protection. In the fight against climate change, verifiable paths need to be identified and embarked upon in a concerted way.

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Reforming the International Monetary System to Save the Climate

What does reforming the international monetary system have to do with saving the climate? As it happens quite a bit, says Robert Wade, Professor for Political Economy and Development at the London School of Economics. At a guest lecture at the IASS on 15 June, he described a number of proposals for reducing macroeconomic imbalances and strengthening the resilience of the international financial system.

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Fostering Synergies to Tackle Arctic Sustainability Challenges

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2015 in Toyama, Japan, organised by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Science Council of Japan. The event brought together nearly 700 international scientists, students, policy makers, research managers, Indigenous Peoples, and other key players with the goal of “developing, prioritizing and coordinating plans for future Arctic research”.

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Energy Transition in France: Following in Germany’s Footsteps?

Recently, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was equipped with two small vertical wind turbines, which, while they spawned many news articles, have a generation capacity that is rather symbolic. In the same week, the French Parliament debated and voted on an extensive new bill laying out the country’s plans for transforming its energy supply and curbing GHG emissions.

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The Solar Price Revolution

A silent revolution is under way. In November, Dubai announced the construction of a solar energy park that will produce electricity for less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour – undercutting the cost of the alternative investment option, a gas or coal-fired power plant.

The plant – which is expected to be operational in 2017 – is yet another harbinger of a future in which renewable energy crowds out conventional fossil fuels.

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Choosing the Right Trees for Urban Greening

Many cities are currently creating more green spaces and planting trees. The growing momentum to increase the amount of green space in urban areas, seen, for example, in various ‘Million Tree’ campaigns, brings many benefits to urbanites. A reduction in summer temperatures, additional recreational opportunities, and storm-water control are among the motivations behind such programmes.

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Q&A with Guy Brasseur: Communicating Science

How can ordinary people be familiarised with science? Few other researchers have devoted as much attention to this question as the Belgian atmospheric scientist Guy Brasseur. From 2009 to 2014, he was head of the Climate Service Center (CSC) in Hamburg, whose task is to communicate the latest climate research findings to politicians, scientists, and business people. Before he joined the Climate Service Center, Guy Brasseur headed the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

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Climate Action Programme – On the Need for ‘Structural’ Change

Part 1 of a blog series on climate protection and structural change through participation by Katleen de Flander and Ina Richter

In recent weeks, the issue of climate protection has been high on the national and international political agenda. At international level, participants at the UN Climate Conference in Lima last week laid the foundations for a global climate agreement that is due to be concluded next year in Paris.

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Clean Up Our Skies: On a New Commentary Piece in “Nature”

This December, the 20th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) will be held in Lima, Peru. There climate change negotiations will focus on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the long-lived greenhouse gas primarily responsible for anthropogenic climate change. However, on the short-term, air pollutants that also have an influence on climate, known as short-lived climate forcing pollutants (SLCPs) should also be addressed.

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Research Groups

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