No beach holiday: climate researchers meet up-and-coming scientists at summer school in Potsdam

07/06/2012 - Some of the world’s spearheading climate scientists will convene in Potsdam to contribute their knowledge to young, international up-and-coming researchers and practitioners beginning on July 8th. Over the following two weeks, instead of heading to the beaches they will focus on confronting the risks of climate warming in the face of uncertainties and extreme events. This is the “Global Sustainability Summer School 2012” (GSSS), an intensive professional development course for specialists, organized jointly between the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) in New Mexico. The GSSS is made possible by the generous support of the Robert Bosch Foundation.
No beach holiday: climate researchers meet up-and-coming scientists at summer school in Potsdam
Satellite image of tropical storm hitting the coast of Oman. Extreme events, climate change and uncertainties are issues of the Global Sustainability Summer School. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

The 35 participants, coming from universities, government institutions and associations in countries such as Great Britain, India, Iran, China and Mexico, have already distinguished themselves through demonstrated excellence in their respective fields.

Progressive climate change can cause extreme events such as heat waves and floods to occur more frequently and/or more intensely. These risks, complex systems and the management of uncertainties comprise the topics taken up by renowned climate researchers like Ken Caldeira of Stanford University, Elke Weber from Columbia University and Bill Clark from Harvard University, in their lectures to the GSSS participants. In addition, German experts like Peter Höppe of the world’s largest reinsurance firm Munich Re will lend their insights to the intensive summer course.

At the core of the tightly-packed program lie the lectures given by directors from the two Potsdam institutes. For PIK, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will speak on the great transformation to sustainability and Ottmar Edenhofer about managing global common-pool resources, such as the atmosphere. From the IASS, Klaus Töpfer will talk about the German Energiewende, and Mark Lawrence about geo-engineering – the deliberate, large-scale interference in the Earth's climate system. Seminars on computer simulation of the climate system, strategy-plan games and an acting workshop are also on the program.

An open-podium discussion on the topic of “Geo-engineering – blessing or curse?” is one of the GSSS’ highlights, featuring the speakers Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Mark Lawrence, Ken Caldeira and philosophy professor Konrad Ott of the University of Greifswald on July 11th at 20:00 o'clock in the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin. You may register for the podium discussion at: or

Weblink to the Global Sustainability Summer School:

For further information please contact:

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Press office / Jonas Viering
Phone: +49 (0)331 288 25 07

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Press & Communications / Madelon Fleminger
Telefon: +49 (0)331 28822 341