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” –...
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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...
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Visual scribing meets science

Teilnehmende bei einer “Research-and Draw”-Sitzung am IASS. Quelle: Sabine Soeder

What happens when visual scribing meets science? What happens when the world of images meets the world of words? IASS researchers are currently grappling with these questions. Sabine Soeder, a graphic facilitator and the founder of CoCreativeFlow, has been invited to join the institute as a fellow in the research project “Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy...
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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...
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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...
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Stop shaming geo-engineering researchers!

Environmentalists are often critical of technological fixes to problems caused by technology. But when it comes to geo-engineering, a clear distinction needs to be made between the message and the messenger. Let’s say you don’t exercise enough, eat too much snack food, and get drunk too often. Then your doctor tells you he’s putting you...
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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...
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A Marshall Plan with Africa: Placing Digitalisation in the Service of Sustainable Development

“We need a new pact on the future between Europe and Africa” – this is the central message of the Cornerstones for a Marshall Plan with Africa, a discussion paper published by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on 18 January 2017. The subject of digitalisation looms large in the paper, most...
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Talk, Trust, and Time: Bridging the Gap between Science and Policy

Just two months ago I strolled up to the bank building of the IASS itching to start gaining practical research experience, but with no idea of what to expect. Coming from a background of environmental science and being enrolled in a Master’s program aimed at bridging the gap between science and policy, I was prepared...
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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...
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