Two research group leaders of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) have been appointed professors. Matthias Kalkuhl, aged 32, will be Professor on Climate Change, Development and Economic Growth at the University of Potsdam, and Christian Flachsland, aged 35, will be Assistant Professor for Climate and Energy Governance at The Hertie School of Governance. The appointments constitute the main components of cooperations between these universities and the MCC.
The appointments of by now three out of seven MCC group leaders as professors at various universities result from the Institute’s strategy to apply an interdisciplinary approach to exploring topics such as economic growth, sustainability and governance in the context of climate change. With this commitment to providing future decision-makers with a first-class academic education, the MCC is building its expertise in sustainability research and climate economics and climate policy while also strengthening its capacities to play a meaningful role at the science-policy interface. The MCC is already an affiliated institution of the TU Berlin. Cooperations with other universities are presently being forged.
Kalkuhl previously headed a working group on food security and price volatility of raw materials at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, as part of which he researched, among other topics, the pricing of agricultural and energy commodities. “The extreme price fluctuations in food prices in recent years are a clear sign of how much food security and other sustainability goals can be threatened by climate change," he says. "This also explains the need to view poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainable development as closely interrelated rather than separate topics."
The current relevance of the professorship for Climate and Energy Governance of the Hertie School is becoming particularly evident in view of the UN climate summit to take place later this year. “The talks will bring to the fore how science and policy-making are interconnected. This could provide the momentum needed to pursue a more ambitious climate policy in which the various political levels are intelligently interlinked,” says Christian Flachsland. “The key to achieving this may lie in establishing closer links between climate policy and the national as well as sub-national energy and fiscal policies.”
Flachsland’s professorship is the second one that evolved as the result of the cooperation between the MCC and the Hertie School on the issue of governance of the global commons. In February, Jan Christoph Minx, head of the MCC working group Applied Sustainability Research, was appointed professor of Science Policy and Sustainable Development. With these professorships, the research conducted by the MCC will become more fine-tuned to the research and teaching at the Hertie School.
MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer, who is also Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Technical University Berlin, stressed the importance of the two new appointments for fostering emerging talent in science. “At the MCC, exceptionally talented young scientists not only have the opportunity to do outstanding research but also to share their knowledge with students.”
About the MCC
The MCC explores sustainable management and the use of common goods such as global environmental systems and social infrastructures in the context of climate change. Seven working groups conduct research on the topics of economic growth and development, resources and international trade, cities and infrastructure, governance and scientific policy advice. The MCC was jointly founded by the Mercator Foundation and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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