Headline: News 2023

RIFS Policy Brief

The Silver Bullet Fallacy of “Net Zero”

A new RIFS Policy Brief warns that the promise of future technologies for the abatement and removal of carbon dioxide is being used to justify inaction on reducing fossil fuels, even though this is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. Ahead of COP28 in Dubai, the authors urge policymakers to face up to the inescapable reality that achieving the goal of “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will require deep and rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and that this in turn means nearly completely phasing out fossil fuels.

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No Significant Link Between Industry 4.0 and Energy Consumption Or Energy Intensity

To what extent does the digitalisation of industrial and manufacturing processes (Industry 4.0) improve energy efficiency and thus reduce energy intensity? A team from the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) analysed developments across ten industrial manufacturing sectors in China between 2006 and 2019. Their findings show that contrary to the claims of many policymakers and industry associations, digitalisation may not automatically lead to anticipated energy savings in manufacturing and industry in China.

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Climate Finance

Green Climate Fund Fails to Strengthen Private Sector Engagement

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest dedicated multilateral climate fund, and aims to support climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries. Mobilizing financial resources from the private sector is an important priority for the donor countries backing the GCF. However, so far the GCF has underperformed in this respect. According to a new study by Thomas Kalinowski (Ewha Womans University, Seoul, and Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam) this is due to numerous shortcomings in the GCF’s strategy.

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Marine Regions Forum 2023

Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination to Advance Ocean Governance

Hosted in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region by the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Seychelles, the Marine Regions Forum 2023 convened under the theme, “Navigating ocean sustainability in the WIO and beyond.” The three-day conference was co-hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Seychelles and brought together experts from the WIO and other marine regions to strengthen cooperation and coordination for marine governance in the WIO region and beyond by sharing knowledge and best practices.

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Klaus Töpfer: Building Bridges for Sustainable Development for All

Sustainable Development: A Challenge for All Humankind" - was the title of an event held on 7 November 2023 to celebrate the 85th birthday and achievements of Prof. Dr Klaus Töpfer. The event was organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS - formerly IASS) and the foundation Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit, which is affiliated with the NGO Germanwatch. In this report, Klaus Milke, Chair of the Board of Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit, shares his impressions of the evening.

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Multimodal Research - Straddling Science, Design and Art

Michaela Büsse is a fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS). Her work casts a spotlight on socio-material transformations in the context of speculative urbanism, the energy transition, and climate change. In this interview, she explains her current research on visionary energy islands and talks about her forthcoming event at Berlin Science Week on 3 November: "Building (with) Nature".

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FG Forum for the Future

Cooperation for the Heat Transition

The recently launched third cycle of the Franco-German Forum for the Future – “Plan, Refurbish, Reduce” – will explore projects working to promote the heat transition in towns in Germany and France. In this work cycle, which runs through to late 2024, the project will develop recommendations for action that will shape national policies in both countries. Cooperation between the new participating towns, cities, and districts kicked off with a meeting in Berlin on 18-19 October 2023.

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Berlin Science Week

From Millinery to Natural Building to Podcasts

This year’s Berlin Science Week (1-10 November 2023) will once again showcase the sciences across a host of events, promoting discussion of recent research and its findings. The ten-day festival is expected to attract over 20,000 visitors and will feature presentations from around 500 speakers, supported by some 150 organisations. RIFS researchers and fellows will also participate in this inspiring dialogue between science and society, art and research. An overview.

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Europe Is Not Making Sufficient Use of Its Hydrogen Potential

To reach climate neutrality, Europe’s industry will need large quantities of carbon-neutral hydrogen in the future. Many European countries, including Germany, are planning large investments to develop and ramp up the hydrogen industry needed for this. Within the HyPat research project, a new study by RIFS Potsdam, Fraunhofer ISI and the German Energy Agency (dena) makes five recommendations to the EU and the Member States.

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