Current and future (?) International Climate Protection fellows

For the 2017 group of International Climate Protection fellows, the mid-term study tour is ongoing. This year, the fellows get some rather deep glimpses into renewable energy technologies during a two-day workshop at the Renewables Academy (RENAC) in Berlin.

At the same time, five CIPSEM alumni meet during the selection conference for the next cohort of ICP fellows.

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Who is recognizing them? Best wishes to all of you!

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Start of the 2017 study tour in Dresden

While the Short Course on Ecosystem Management is going on, we could also welcome the International Climate Protection Fellows in Dresden. To supplement their research stay in Germany, we organize a 2-week study tour (Learn more about the program and the partners involved).

At the beginning of the tour, we have been welcomed in the Dresden town hall by Deputy Mayor Ms. Eva Jähnigen, in charge of environment and communal services, and Ms. Ina Helzig, Head of the municipal climate protection office. We got to discuss the role of municipalities when it comes to mitigating climate change and to adapt to a changed climate.

 

We have also paid a visit to the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development, IOER.  There we have been introduced to an extensive study on climate change in the region of Dresden. We have learned how the climate is likely to develop, and which measures the scientific community recommends to reduce negative impacts and use opportunities. It has been helpful to learn from the project coordinators how different scientific groups and stakeholders have been involved so that meaningful products could be developed. We also have been offered some glimpses into the current understanding of transformation science and different types of involvements of science in real-life issues.

 

The day after, everybody took on an out-of-the-ordinary role while enacting a conflict on the utilisation of water resources and infrastructure development in the context of the Bolivian Andes.

The group also got to explore the forest botanical garden and has learned from the staff of the Saxon state forest service how the uncertainty of climate change is being approached in forest management.

The day ended with an immersion into German and European culture. After a stroll through the Dresden Zwinger we have attended the amazing ballet Manon in Semper Opera.

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On Saturday, many have participated in a guided tour, along with the fellows of the UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB short course on ecosystem management.

 

Celebrating new friendships and the last days of summer

We are enjoying summer while it lasts. Today we had a barbecue with both the participants of the Ecosystem Management short course and participants and facilitators of the INOWAS summer school on managed aquifer recharge. It has been good to recharge the batteries after a long day of excursion and classes and a nice opportunity to get to know each other (better) … and also to witness so many barbecue styles.

Small world – back to 2014

During the past two weeks, CIPSEM alumna Olujumoke Adesola Ogunrayi has been living again in one of the CIPSEM apartments. She returned to Dresden to attend the International Synthesis Summerschool on Network functional dynamics – Technological, Human & Ecological Dimensions. We were happy to see her as enthusiastic as ever… and to learn that her 2014 final paper has evolved into a sound publication. Congratulations and keep up the good work at the Ondo State Ministry of Environment in Nigeria.

 

Chemnitz – the city of modernity

“Stadt der Moderne” (City of Modernity) is the title that Saxony’s third largest city uses to describe itself. In terms of its energy concept, this rings true to us. In 2015, the municipality has received the European Energy Award in Gold. During our excursion today we got to meet some main actors contributing to this sucess: employees of the city administration as well as Dr. Schwenk of FASA AG. The company earns most of its money with noise cancelling infrastructure, but is also passionate about offering affordable buildings equipped with solarthermal heating.

Please see the image captions for details.

A story of science, policy and healthier trees – excursion to the Ore Mountains

During our excursion to the Altenberg Area of the Ore Mountains, the interlinkages of environmental issues becomes – once again – very clear. We have learned about the high concentrations of air pollutants such as Sulfur Dioxide in the area during the end of the 20th century to a large extend brought about by the burning of lignite rich in sulfur in the power plants of the German Democratic Republic as well as the CSSR and facilitated by the topographic conditions. Transboundary impacts of such unmitigated air pollution have been noticed to such an extend in many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems throughout Europe that led to the UN-ECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution in 1979. With that went the establishment of an international monitoring programme for the impacts of air pollution on forests. The long-term monitoring site close to Altenberg operated by the Saxon State Public Enterprise Sachsenforst is part of this network.

The high atmospheric inputs of sulfur still have an impact on soil chemistry and the chemical composition of the run-off from this area. Thanks to abatement of sulfur emissions during the 1990s, forests are recovering as we could see during a short hike to Mount Kahleberg. This shows that positive changes are possible. This confidence and determination is needed as issues such as NOx-emissions, Ozone concentrations, persistent organic pollutants, interdependencies with climate change mitigation and other challenges still require a lot of attention, as has been outlined in the latest air quality assessment report of the UN-ECE.

Thanks to Dr. Henning Andreae of Sachsenforst for sharing some of his insights with us.

Last resort – a visit to the soil cleaning facility in Hirschfeld

During an excursion to the soil treatment facility of the Bauer Resources GmbH we learned what can be done if prevention has failed and in-situ treatment of polluted soil is not an option – and at which cost.

See the image captions for details.

The treated soil can be used for construction, not for food production.