Potsdam climate expert Hans Joachim Schellnhuber becomes Chief Government Advisor
| F.l.t.r.: Lars Josefsson
(Vattenfall), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Environment
Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (PIK).
Photo: Tim Hasler, WBGU.
Potsdam, 1 December 2006 - From January 2007, Germany will take the reins in international climate and energy policy. The German Government has appointed Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as Chief Government Advisor on Climate and Related Issues during Germany's EU Council Presidency and G8 Presidency. Professor Schellnhuber is the Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and is one of the world's foremost climate experts.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber's appointment as an external government advisor was announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on 1 December. He will advise the German Government on all aspects of climate change and on international climate policy. He is the first scientist to be appointed to the inner circle of government advisors in Germany for this strategically important policy field.
With Hans Joachim Schellnhuber's acceptance of this role, Germany's governing coalition has secured the services of one of the world's most highly regarded scientists, whose international reputation as a researcher and expert is well-established. He is viewed as a pioneer of integrated climate research, which explores all the dimensions of climate change – environmental, social and economic.
As a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) from its inception, Schellnhuber has monitored political negotiating processes, e.g. on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, since 1992. Schellnhuber was one of the first experts to call for climate warming to be kept below two degrees in order to avoid severe social disruption.
"With its dual presidency of the G8 and the EU, Germany bears a major and historic responsibility", says Schellnhuber – for at present, there is still scope to influence the future of our natural life-support systems after 2050.
Schellnhuber pointed out early on that a dual strategy is appropriate to cope with climate change. "The idea is to avoid the uncontrollable and to control the unavoidable", says Schellnhuber. To reduce CO2 emissions in particular, the G8 countries should develop a "road atlas" in which countries identify technical options and institutional parameters for the reconfiguration of energy systems. This would be a first step towards developing an overall picture of the global perspectives for climate protection.
The publication of the British Stern Review, not least, has brought climate change to the forefront of public attention. Schellnhuber and the Potsdam Institute made a major contribution to the production of this report, which made a major impact on the global stage.
In 2004, Schellnhuber was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his contribution to science and UK-German scientific cooperation. The following year, he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, one of the leading science academies in the world.
Born in Ortenburg, Bavaria, in 1950, Professor Schellnhuber became the Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in 1993 and remains its Director today. He holds a Chair at the University of Potsdam and is a Visiting Professor at Oxford University. From 2001 to 2005, he was Research Director at the renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the United Kingdom.
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