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Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region

13/12/2017 - Brandenburg´s prime minister Dietmar Woidke and other members of the federal state government have convened with the heads of Potsdam´s climate research institutions. At the meeting at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the focus was on the energy policy of Brandenburg, especially in regard to coal mining in the Lausitz region. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, proposed a future commission for Brandenburg. Experts could develop recommendations to generate new opportunities for the Lausitz region together with the people who live here.
Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region

PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber at a meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister at the IASS Potsdam (Photo: IASS/

“We talked about questions that need scientific backing,” Woidke said at the press conference following the top level meeting. The balance between climate protection and the economy was important, and the big challenge was to decouple CO2 emissions and economic growth. In comparison to some states in West Germany, Brandenburg had reduced its emissions significantly and greatly expanded renewable energy. Generally, the focus shouldn´t lay on power generation only, but countrywide on the emissions of greenhouse gases, for instance from the transport sector.

The scientific director of the host IASS, Ortwin Renn, reviewed the meeting positively. “Our research is not only on transformation processes, but for these processes, to shape them,” he said. “By that we are partners of politics, not its enemies.” During times of change it was important not to act over people´s heads, but together with them. Patrizia Nanz, the scientific director of IASS, emphasized: “You shouldn´t oppose jobs on the one hand and climate protection on the other. The future of work is what this is all about.” Marc Lawrence, the managing director of IASS, also participated in the meeting.

„ We need to develop a positive narrative for the region,” Schellnhuber said. He saw great opportunities for the Lausitz region and the whole state in the transformation towards renewable energy use from wind and solar. “I am saying this as a Brandenburg patriot,” Schellnhuber added. The talks with the federal government had been “ very constructive and very candid”. Schellnhuber invited Woidke for the next meeting between politics and science to take place at PIK.

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