The log and the flame: what fire can teach us about the transformation towards sustainability

The “Green Me Global Festival for Sustainability” is an annual event hosted at different locations around the world. Recent iterations of the festival have explored the elements earth, water and air across film screenings, discussions, and other initiatives. Researchers from the IASS have contributed to a number of these events over the years. The eleventh...
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Marine Conservation: We Must Protect High Seas from Overexploitation

Meeresforscher und Naturschützer fordern ein umfassendes und rechtlich verbindliches Abkommen, um die empfindlichen Ökosysteme in der Hochsee besser zu schützen.

Negotiations on a conservation agreement for the high seas are currently under way at the United Nations in New York. This agreement has to be ambitious if it is to protect our oceans from profiteers. After more than a decade of heated debate, the United Nations have begun to negotiate a new agreement on the...
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Interpreting, Evaluating, Building Bridges: The Role of Sustainability Research in the Digital Revolution

In recent months, the increased use of digital technologies throughout society – a development commonly referred to as ‘digitalisation’ – has figured prominently in public debate. Countless articles and op-eds on the digital revolution have been published since the beginning of the year: In an interview for the online edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Armin...
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The Social and Economic Co-Benefits of Renewable Energies

In the fight against climate change, it’s vital that developing and emerging nations also abandon their fossil fuels, which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. The co-benefits of renewable energy policies can become a decisive argument for structural change. Last week, Tagesspiegel Background reported on a study of investment and jobs in the German...
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Planned Commission Masks Bad Leadership

Header image: Lignite mining in Brandenburg. istock/delectus

Major societal reforms call for strong political leadership, viable ideas, and political majorities. Yet in the implementation of Germany’s Energiewende, the centrepiece of efforts to achieve its climate protection goals, alarm bells are sounding in all three areas, notes Daniela Setton. The results of exploratory talks to form a new ‘grand coalition’ between the conservative...
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Talanoa as Expectation Management – or Raising the Bar while Jumping

Fijian Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khayium during a Talanoa at COP23. © BMUB/ Christian Büchter

Both sustainability ambitions and obstacles are growing exponentially. This begs for the kind of expectation management arguably performed by the IASS Potsdam and other organizations, for instance the Future Earth network. In addressing the advisory role of science in sustainability, Future Earth is building advisory capacities and raising expectations at the same time. These expectations...
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20 years after the Kyoto Protocol: Are we ‘on track’ with the Paris Agreement and the COP23?

Foto oben: Auckland, 28. November 2015: Tausende Menschen demonstrierten in Neuseeland für den Klimaschutz. © istock/chameleonseye

On 11 December 1997, the world’s first internationally binding climate agreement was adopted: the Kyoto Protocol. It obligated 37 industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions individually. On average, the much celebrated agreement required a roughly 5 percent emissions reduction for industrialized countries relative to 1990. Germany even agreed to a target of 21...
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The Role of Germany in the Future of Renewable Energies

Germany is widely regarded as an international frontrunner in the global energy transition. Efforts to promote renewable energy have played a key role in lowering the cost of wind and solar power and contributed significantly to the growth of these technologies around the world. Germany’s energy transition policy is held up as a model abroad...
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The transatlantic mobility challenge

Woman charging Electric Car on Paris Street, there are a lot of places for charging electric cars in Paris, as those cars becoming more and more popular.

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...
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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...
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