Stiftung Mercator and PIK initiate new institute with EUR 17m budget
Discussing the future of climate science: Bernhard Lorentz, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Ottmar Edenhofer. Photo: David Ausserhofer/Stiftung Mercator
- Interdisciplinary research on the relationship between sustainability and economic growth
- Novel combination of research and policy advice
- Financing of EUR 17m for eight years provided by Stiftung Mercator
The global economy is growing and global resource consumption is on the rise. The atmosphere’s capacity for storing greenhouse gases is being filled. Food and resource prices are rising. The world is facing new scarcities – this is also a major topic of the Durban climate talks. These natural boundaries may heavily impact the development of the future global economy. To ensure global prosperity in the 21st century and beyond and reduce poverty worldwide, a technical, social and political transition to the sustainable management of global commons is required. The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) has the goal of exploring solution strategies with political and economic decision-makers and other social groups. It aims at generating ‘maps of knowledge’ on consistent and viable options for avoiding dangerous climate change and on achieving sustainable economic growth. This includes analysing the risks and uncertainties of various courses of action and evaluating these in the light of different sets of values.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Lorentz, President of Stiftung Mercator, describes the approach of the new institute: “Avoiding dangerous climate change is a central goal of Stiftung Mercator. By founding the Mercator Institute we intend to forge new paths in the compatibility of economic growth and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and fill a gap in the international research landscape. With this new venture, Stiftung Mercator is taking its support of exchange between climate science and climate policy in a new direction. We hope that our greater freedom as a private foundation will aid us in this goal.”
“In light of the global challenges facing our current model of growth and governance, we require new forms of cooperation between industry, policy-makers and society,” says Prof. Dr. Edenhofer, Deputy Director of the PIK and designated Director of the MCC. “To achieve sustainable use of global commons, thus maintaining economic growth and prosperity in the long term, policy-makers, society and industry must enter into an ongoing dialogue about goals and policy measures that remains open to the constant additions and changes to what we know.”
"The IPCC has demonstrated, in the climate-change context, the immense value of assessment reports that summarize the topical scientific evidence and provide crucial orientation for decision makers,” explained Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “By further advancing and broadening the assessment approach to super-complex issues, the MCC will become an intellectual reference point for the global transition to sustainability."
Four research groups will work at the MCC on selected topics such as resources and international trade, economic growth, and infrastructure and transport. In addition, a group for assessments and scientific policy advice will initiate assessment reports on selected topics. These reports, summarising the current state of knowledge for society and policy-makers, will be completed in collaboration with other renowned international sustainability institutes. The MCC is due to be founded by the first quarter of 2012 as a limited-liability, non-profit organisation located in Berlin. Administrative and research positions will be filled over the course of 2012.