Energy and Climate

Energy questions and climate protection present major challenges to environmental research and policy. Global energy supply today is based largely on fossil sources with a small contribution (approx. 20 percent) from renewables such as solar, wind etc.

Worldwide climatic changes are now showing, however, that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions need to be curbed drastically. By adopting the Kyoto Protocol, the industrialized nations have committed to reducing CO2 emissions over the period from 2008 to 2012 by at least five percent from the 1990 baseline. Germany has even pledged a reduction by 21 percent.

Operating in this setting, our areas of research include cost-effective energy production without nuclear power, the sustainable expansion of renewables, ways to improve energy efficiency and foster energy conservation, the use of combined heat and power production (cogeneration), biomass, solar and wind energy, hydrogen, and CO2 capture and storage technologies. We explore issues of nature conservation, assess energy and climate policy instruments, analyse potentials and measures, and develop and harness global cooperation and contacts to put in place a globally sustainable energy system.

Research priorities