Headline: News 2024

#FactoryWisskomm Fellowship

New Podcast: Science and Politics in Conversation

Good policy builds on a broad foundation of knowledge. A new podcast from the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) brings policymakers and researchers together to talk about the findings of science and how they can be used to support decision-making.

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#PTDW 2024

Play with Science and Embrace a More Sustainable Lifestyle

The 11th annual Potsdam Science Day will take place on Saturday, 4 May 2024. This year the event will be held on the GFZ Campus on Telegrafenberg. The Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) will be hosting a booth on site, where visitors can play a climate game developed by the European research project 1.5-Degree Lifestyles and learn about how making changes to different everyday activities can reduce our impact on the climate.

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Road Safety

Large Majority in Favour of Maintaining 30 km/h Zone on Leipziger Straße

In a survey conducted by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) in June and July 2023, around 80 per cent of the 64 cyclists surveyed stated that a speed limit of 30 km/h should be maintained on Leipziger Straße in the central Mitte district of Berlin. Pedestrians surveyed expressed similar views. There is also strong support for the creation of a bike lane that is physically separated from motorised traffic.

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Sustainable Brandenburg

Cooperation, Participation, and Trust Essential to Achieving Sustainability

With a string of elections looming that will see some four billion people worldwide go to the polls in 2024, Brandenburg Sustainability Platform met for its fifth plenary session on the shores of Lake Seddin south of Potsdam. The event attracted over 90 participants, who took part in discussions, workshops and a so-called “market of opportunities”, with a further 50 people following online.

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Reassessing the Coal Commission

Germany’s Coal Exit: New Strategies for Structural Change Needed

Affected communities in former lignite-mining regions are critical of the work of Germany’s Coal Commission. With the phase-out still unfolding, a new study shows that further efforts and new strategies must be developed to ensure local communities are more closely involved. More public participation, more cooperation between stakeholders, and conflict mediation are all needed, the study reveals.

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Democracy

Increasing Participation in the Energy Transition: Making Community Energy Cooperatives More Diverse

Germany plans to meet 80% of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Following the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act in 2023, community energy cooperatives are set to become important drivers of a participatory energy transition. However, research shows that some population groups do not participate in or benefit equally from existing community energy projects. If community energy is to become a broad foundation of the energy transition, political actors must do more to improve diversity and gender equality within community energy projects and ensure that they become more responsive to members' preferences.

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Energy transition

Europeans Want Decentralized Power Generation and Low Prices

Although a majority of Europeans support the energy transition in principle, local opposition to necessary infrastructure projects is on the rise. What could be done to smooth the future growth of renewables in Europe? In a new study, researchers have identified the preferences of citizens in Denmark, Germany, Poland and Portugal. In all four countries, citizens expressed a clear preference for low electricity prices, less dependence on electricity imports, and favour solar power. Crucially, the study revealed that respondents were also willing to compromise and were prepared to accept trade-offs if these enabled them to secure more preferred qualities in the energy system.

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Book section

Tackling Climate Change and Uncertainty in Risk Governance

Experts from politics, business, science and civil society can and should be involved in efforts to identify, analyse, and reduce risks relating to climate change. Prof. Ortwin Renn outlines the four stages of the risk governance framework developed by the International Risk Council’s (IRGC): from a pre-assessment and appraisal of risks and concerns, through to the evaluation and the implementation of risk governance.

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