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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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10 Years of Geoengineering Research: Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Earth‘s Future

2016 marks the tenth anniversary of Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen’s seminal 2006 contribution on geoengineering, “Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: A contribution to resolve a policy dilemma?”. In his essay, noting that attempts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming had been “grossly unsuccessful”, Crutzen suggested that actively injecting sulfur particles into...
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Social Benefits of Renewable Energies

Energiegenossenschaft Starkenburg

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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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...
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“Well below 2°C” – A First Response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

“This Agreement (…) aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change (…) including by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (…)” Even this short excerpt from Article 2 of the newly adopted Paris Agreement reveals much about the outcome of the 21st...
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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...
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