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Wolf S.,Global Climate Forum | Schutze F.,Global Climate Forum | Jaeger C.C.,Global Climate Forum | Jaeger C.C.,Beijing Normal University
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2016

The UN sustainable development goals contain environmental, economic, and social objectives. They may only be reached, or at least it would be easier to reach them, if instead of a trade-off between these objectives that implies a need for balancing them, there are synergies to be reaped. This paper discusses how the structures of economic models typically used in policy analysis influence whether win-win strategies for the environment and the economy can be conceptualised and analysed. With a focus on climate policy modelling, the paper points out how, by construction, commonly used model structures find mitigation costs rather than benefits. This paper describes mechanisms that, when added to these model structures, can bring win-win options into a model's solution horizon, and which provide a spectrum of alternative modelling approaches that allow for the identification of such options. © 2016 by the authors.

Wolf S.,Global Climate Forum | Hinkel J.,Global Climate Forum | Hallier M.,Free University of Berlin | Bisaro A.,Global Climate Forum | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management | Year: 2013

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a formal framework of vulnerability to climate change, to address the conceptual confusion around vulnerability and related concepts. Design/methodology/approach: The framework was developed using the method of formalisation - making structure explicit. While mathematics as a precise and general language revealed common structures in a large number of vulnerability definitions and assessments, the framework is here presented by diagrams for a non-mathematical audience. Findings: Vulnerability, in ordinary language, is a measure of possible future harm. Scientific vulnerability definitions from the fields of climate change, poverty, and natural hazards share and refine this structure. While theoretical definitions remain vague, operational definitions, that is, methodologies for assessing vulnerability, occur in three distinct types: evaluate harm for projected future evolutions, evaluate the current capacity to reduce harm, or combine the two. The framework identifies a lack of systematic relationship between theoretical and operational definitions. Originality/value: While much conceptual literature tries to clarify vulnerability, formalisation is a new method in this interdisciplinary field. The resulting framework is an analytical tool which supports clear communication: it helps when making assumptions explicit. The mismatch between theoretical and operational definitions is not made explicit in previous work. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Lincke D.,Global Climate Forum | Schupp S.,TU Hamburg - Harburg | Ionescu C.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer | Year: 2014

This paper presents a method for developing generic C++ software libraries from functional prototypes, based on program transformation. More precisely, the type signatures of generic functions, i.e., functions parameterized on types, are transformed. This transformation maps type-level expressions from functional higher-order, typed languages to type-level expressions in C++. In particular, type-level functional constructs such as higher-order functions and type constructors, are mapped to type parameters of generics that are constrained with appropriate concepts. The core of the transformation is a novel form of “defunctionalization” at the level of types. To make the transformation retargetable, we based it on two kernel languages that can be bound to different functional and object-oriented languages. For this paper, we use bindings to Haskell as front end and C++ with concepts as back end. Our transformational approach presents an alternative to a language extension and is useful particularly for functional prototyping where functional features are employed at specification time. We illustrate our approach by a case study: we show how we developed a generic C++ library for vulnerability modeling in the context of global change from a functional prototype in Haskell. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Wolf S.,Global Climate Forum | Wolf S.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Furst S.,Global Climate Forum | Furst S.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | And 7 more authors.
SIMULTECH 2012 - Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications | Year: 2012

Agent-based models (ABMs), and with them simulation, are gaining importance in economics. As they allow to study coordination problems in a dynamic setting, they can be helpful tools for identifying win-win strategies for climate policy. This paper argues that strongly simplified models can support a better understanding of economic ABMs. We present work in progress on an example case: while in economic systems in the real world many actions and interactions by various agents take place in parallel, often ABMs use sequential computation. With a simple economic agent-based model of firms that trade and produce goods, we explore and discuss two alternative modes of scheduling: the timetable model, where all agents complete one step after the other, and the heliotropic model, where one agent after the other completes steps. We find that the timetable model is better suited for working with data from national statistics, while the heliotropic model dispenses with random shuffling that is often introduced to guarantee symmetric expectations for agents. The latter can be used in a completely deterministic fashion, providing a baseline case for studying the system's dynamics.

Bisaro A.,Global Climate Forum | Kirk M.,University of Marburg | Zdruli P.,CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari | Zimmermann W.,International Development Management
Land Degradation and Development | Year: 2014

Recent rapid changes in global scale drivers of desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) have two important consequences for drylands. First, changes in these drivers, for example in food and energy prices, make improving interventions in drylands more urgent because of their potential impacts. Second, these changes introduce new knowledge gaps regarding both the potential impacts on social-ecological dryland systems and the design of options to take advantage of opportunities. This paper identifies the most salient research needs in DLDD in drylands brought on by global drivers. The question was addressed through an iterative stakeholder consultative forum. First, relevant global scale drivers were identified through a literature review and preliminary consultation. Next, stakeholders and experts were further consulted to identify research priorities given rise to by these drivers. Identified research priorities were as follows: (i) assessing impacts of rising prices on DLDD in mixed market and subsistence production contexts; (ii) assessing options and limits of agricultural modernisation on fragile lands; (iii) developing methods for assessing land-use trade-offs and mapping productive lands; (iv) modelling and participatory methods for monitoring and evaluating soil carbon sequestration; (v) developing policy frameworks to regulate impacts of investment on the environment and local livelihoods; (vi) participatory modelling for regional and local adaptation planning; and (vii) valuation of non-market land degradation outcomes including biodiversity loss. Concluding, we call for a forward-looking interdisciplinary drylands research agenda with an increased emphasis on governance to address these priorities. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

News Article | March 4, 2016

A villager walks on a stone barrier as sea water reaches her house in Mayangan village in Subang, Indonesia's West Java province, in this July 16, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Beawiharta More OSLO (Reuters) - As sea levels rise, threatening cities from New York to Shanghai, the economic damage will increase even faster, scientists said on Monday. Extreme floods whipped up by storms will become ever more costly for cities as ocean levels edge up around the world's coasts in coming decades, they wrote in a study that could help guide governments budgeting to protect everything from buildings and basements to metro systems. "The damage from sea level rise rises faster than sea level rise itself," co-author Juergen Kropp, part of a team at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told Reuters of the findings. For the Danish capital Copenhagen, for instance, a moderate sea level rise of 11 cm (4 inches) by 2050 from 2010 levels would cause about a billion euros ($1.1 billion) a year in extra damage if no protective action is taken, the study estimated. But the costs would quadruple to 4 billion euros if the rate of sea level rise roughly doubles to 25 cm by 2050, in line with the worst scenarios projected by a U.N. scientific panel, they wrote in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. World sea levels are creeping higher, the U.N. panel says, partly because global warming is adding water to the oceans by melting glaciers from the Andes to the Alps and parts of vast ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica. The Potsdam scientists said that mathematical models they developed to estimate rising costs would work around the world. "You can apply it in Tokyo, New York or Mumbai," Kropp said. The exact costs of sea level rise, which could in the worst case reach about a metre by 2100, are extremely uncertain. One study in 2014 estimated it could cost anywhere from 0.3 percent to 9 percent of world gross domestic product a year by 2100. Jochen Hinkel of the Global Climate Forum in Berlin, the lead author of that study, said it illustrated vast risks but was based on the implausible assumption that governments would take no protective action. Building coastal barriers would be far cheaper, Hinkel said. "People have adapted to sea-level rise in the past and will do so in the future," he said, noting protective measures for cities such as Tokyo or Jakarta, which have been sinking relative to sea level because of local subsidence.

Tol R.S.J.,University of Sussex | Tol R.S.J.,VU University Amsterdam | Tol R.S.J.,Tinbergen Institute | Nicholls R.J.,University of Southampton | And 5 more authors.
Environmental and Resource Economics | Year: 2016

Pycroft et al. (Environ Resour Econ 1–29, 2015) used incorrect and outdated data to study the economic impact of sea level rise. They misinterpret some of their input data, and fail to exploit the strengths of their computable general equilibrium model and previously developed methods to study impacts and adaptation. © 2016 The Author(s)

Arnell N.W.,University of Reading | Brown S.,University of Southampton | Gosling S.N.,University of Nottingham | Hinkel J.,Global Climate Forum | And 6 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

Although there is a strong policy interest in the impacts of climate change corresponding to different degrees of climate change, there is so far little consistent empirical evidence of the relationship between climate forcing and impact. This is because the vast majority of impact assessments use emissions-based scenarios with associated socio-economic assumptions, and it is not feasible to infer impacts at other temperature changes by interpolation. This paper presents an assessment of the global-scale impacts of climate change in 2050 corresponding to defined increases in global mean temperature, using spatially-explicit impacts models representing impacts in the water resources, river flooding, coastal, agriculture, ecosystem and built environment sectors. Pattern-scaling is used to construct climate scenarios associated with specific changes in global mean surface temperature, and a relationship between temperature and sea level used to construct sea level rise scenarios. Climate scenarios are constructed from 21 climate models to give an indication of the uncertainty between forcing and response. The analysis shows that there is considerable uncertainty in the impacts associated with a given increase in global mean temperature, due largely to uncertainty in the projected regional change in precipitation. This has important policy implications. There is evidence for some sectors of a non-linear relationship between global mean temperature change and impact, due to the changing relative importance of temperature and precipitation change. In the socio-economic sectors considered here, the relationships are reasonably consistent between socio-economic scenarios if impacts are expressed in proportional terms, but there can be large differences in absolute terms. There are a number of caveats with the approach, including the use of pattern-scaling to construct scenarios, the use of one impacts model per sector, and the sensitivity of the shape of the relationships between forcing and response to the definition of the impact indicator. © 2014 The Author(s).

Hinkel J.,Global Climate Forum | Bots P.W.G.,Technical University of Delft | Schluter M.,University of Stockholm
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

Frameworks play an important role in analyzing social-ecological systems (SESs) because they provide shared concepts and variables that enable comparison between and accumulation of knowledge across multiple cases. One prominent SES framework focusing on local resource use has been developed by Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues. This framework is an extensive multi-tier collection of concepts and variables that have demonstrated relevance for explaining outcomes in a large number of case studies in the context of fishery, water, and forestry common-pool resources. The further development of this framework has raised a number of issues related to the formal relationships between the large number of concepts and variables involved. In particular, issues related to criteria for ordering the concepts into tiers, adding new concepts, defining outcomes metrics, and representing dynamics in the framework have been identified. We address these issues by applying methods from research fields that study formal relationships between concepts such as domain-specific languages, knowledge representation, and software engineering. We find that SES frameworks could include the following seven formal components: variables, concepts, attribution relationships, subsumption relationships, process relationships, aggregation relationships, and evaluation metrics. Applying these components to the Ostrom framework and a case study of recreational fishery, we find that they provide clear criteria for structuring concepts into tiers, defining outcome metrics, and representing dynamics. The components identified are generic, and the insights gained from this exercise may also be beneficial for the development of other SES frameworks. © 2014 by the author(s).

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