Headline: News

Obituary

RIFS Mourns the Loss of Klaus Töpfer

The founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Klaus Töpfer, has died at the age of 85. Following its establishment in 2009, the pioneering institute rose to prominence within the international sustainability research community under his leadership.

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Fellowship

Raving and the Planet: New Podcast Dives Deep Into Sustainable Club Culture

Can dance parties contribute to the transition towards sustainability? What are clubs doing to reduce their emissions? How can a new awareness of our relationship with planet Earth emerge on the dance floor? A new podcast produced by social scientist Kerstin Meißner during a year-long fellowship at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) explores these questions. Three episodes and an interview with Kerstin Meißner are available on most podcast catchers from today.

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Brandenburg

Seddin Declaration for Sustainability and Democracy

Representatives of Brandenburg’s Sustainability Platform presented the Seddin Declaration for Sustainability and Democracy to Minister of the Environment Axel Vogel and Parliamentary President Ulrike Liedtke at parliament today. Signed by 20 organisations and over 380 citizens, the Seddin Declaration highlights the connection between democracy and sustainable development and calls on politicians to establish an enabling environment for pathways towards greater sustainability in Brandenburg. The Seddin Declaration calls on policymakers to put sustainable development at the top of their agenda in the next legislative period.

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Brandenburg

Recommendations for the Transition to Sustainable Land-Use in Brandenburg

Brandenburg Sustainability Advisory Board presented its recommendations for a transition to sustainable land-use to the state government in Potsdam today. Drawn from the recent policy brief "Multiple-benefit Strategies for a Land-Use Transition in Brandenburg", the recommendations promote an approach to land-use management that operates within the planetary boundaries and upholds social standards. State Secretary Friederike Haase, who accepted the recommendations on behalf of the government, stated at the reception: “These recommendations cover a wide range of topics and will provide valuable input for our work. I would like to extend my thanks to the Advisory Board for this contribution.”

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Fellowship

Citizen Objects: Challenging the Authority of Data

Artist and RIFS Fellow Julika Gittner went to London in the 1990s to study art and later architecture. She has taught at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture and History of Art for many years. Julika Gittner joined the RIFS in April. In this interview, she talks about her work and current projects.

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Research stay

RIFS Invites Applications for 2025 Fellowship Programme

Each year around 30 fellows come to the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam to pursue research projects in the field of sustainability. Applications for the 2025 cohort of RIFS Fellows are now open through to 14 July 2024. With the Fellowship, the Institute offers the opportunity to explore innovative ideas in a transdisciplinary research environment.

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Fellowship

Ensuring the Vulnerable Are Heard in International Climate Decision-Making

Nicola Sharman joined RIFS as a Fellow in April 2024. She comes from the University of Eastern Finland, where she is part of the 2035Legitimacy project. Her work focuses on the democratic legitimacy of international climate change law and the exercise of procedural rights within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change from the point of view of those most affected by climate change.

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Arctic

Towards Arctic Research Upholding Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Contemporary Arctic research frequently perpetuates colonial injustices against local Indigenous communities. A team of researchers, including scientists from the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, have published a policy brief with recommendations aimed at upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples and fostering the parity and complementarity of Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, and academic scientific knowledge. The policy brief is a contribution to the International Arctic Science Committee’s multi-year planning process for the Fourth International Conference on Arctic Research Planning.

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Hydrogen

Success of German Hydrogen Strategy Depends on Production Capacities in Partner Countries

Germany aims to become a global leader in hydrogen technologies. In contrast to other countries, its hydrogen strategy places a strong focus on promoting “green hydrogen” based on renewable energies, supported by cooperation with partners in distant regions. While this approach is likely to constrain progress at first, it may be the only way for Germany to achieve its climate targets in the longer run, RIFS researchers argue in a study published in Energy Strategy Reviews. At the same time, this means that the success of Germany’s hydrogen strategy depends on the development of production capacities in partner countries.

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