Headline: News

RIFS Discussion Paper

A “Deadline” Expires at the International Seabed Authority

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has convened in Jamaica for its annual meeting, which will include crunch talks on proposals to allow deep-seabed mining following the expiry of a two-year deadline to finalize regulations governing the removal of minerals from the international seafloor. RIFS researcher Pradeep Singh examines the legal context of this turning point in the history of the ISA in a new discussion paper – “A ‘deadline’ expires: Quo vadis, International Seabed Authority?” – presented to delegates in Kingston.

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Data Analysis

Digital-Intensive Industries Not Always More Resilient

It is widely assumed that digitalisation improves the capacity of companies and sectors to cope with crises. But is it the case that digital intensive sectors proved more resilient during the Covid-19 crisis? Researchers from the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) investigated this by analysing data relating to various socio-economic indicators pre- and post-crisis. Their findings are surprising: In some cases, less digital-intensive industries were actually more resilient. Pandemic-related assistance provided by the German government is one possible explanation for this.

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Art Fellowship

A Different Look at the Arctic

Conceptual artist Swaantje Güntzel is often asked: “Can’t you do something nice for a change?”. As she commences her year-long fellowship at RIFS, Güntzel is careful not to make any promises about her future work. And while the title of her project puts this question front and centre, she is not offering any answers. One thing is certain: her work will engage with a region that is especially important for sustainable development.

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Heat-Ozone Extremes Affect Mortality

Cities in the Global South are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. Rising temperatures are worsening the effects of ozone pollution, for example. Like many other cities in the Global South, Santiago de Chile is highly segregated along socio-economic lines. RIFS scientist Tabish Ansari and a team of researchers have examined and compared the effects of heatwaves and ozone episodes in different areas of the city.

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Support for Climate Action Greater Than Often Assumed

Hot on the heels of the pandemic came the energy crisis – has this experience led to a shift in public opinion on climate action in Germany? Broadly speaking, support for ambitious climate policy remains strong, however many citizens are concerned that policymakers lack the political will and that the burdens of the transformation are not being shared equitably. But it seems that many people underestimate the willingness of their fellow citizens to embrace change. This is the conclusion of the 2023 Social Sustainability Barometer, an annual representative survey of over 6,500 people across Germany on the energy and transport transitions, conducted as part of the Ariadne project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Policy Brief to the EU Commission

Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research

More inclusive, equal and just ways in which Arctic research is conducted and research programs and funding processes are conceived, these are some of the main goals of the Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research. On 19 June 2023, a group of non-Indigenous and Indigenous rights holders and engaged scholars, from RIFS and several other organisations across Europe and the Arctic, presented the Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research to the public. The publication addresses the greatest challenges, needs and potentials of Decolonial Arctic Research over the next ten years.

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Doris Fuchs Appointed Director at the Research Institute for Sustainability

Doris Fuchs will assume office as Director at the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS) on 1 October 2023. The political scientist will form a dual leadership team with the atmospheric scientist and long-time Director Mark Lawrence. She aims to strengthen the transdisciplinary research profile of RIFS and expand it to include questions on the political economy of sustainable consumption.

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How can transboundary emissions be regulated?

Nino Jordan is a visiting fellow specializing in environmental policy and governance at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS). During his Klaus Töpfer Fellowship at RIFS he will conduct research on "International Policy Learning for Rapid Evaluation, Adaptation, and Diffusion of Embodied Emission Standards." In this interview, he explains his approach and the importance of networking.

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Sustainable Nightlife: How clubs contribute to social transformation

Clubs consume a lot of electricity, popular DJs live a jetset life. But there are growing efforts in the club scene to protect the climate, for example with green energy and mobility. In addition to ecological sustainability, social sustainability plays an important role, with club managers and ravers taking a stand against racism, violence against LGBT people and other forms of oppression. At RIFS, social scientist Kerstin Meißner will take stock of sustainability efforts in club culture during a one-year fellowship.

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