Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) is a registered association founded on February 2, 2009 on the recommendation of the Alliance of German Scientific Organizations for the creation of an international, interdisciplinary institute of excellence. It is headquartered in Potsdam, Germany.

The purpose of the IASS is

  1. the promotion of science and research on global sustainability, particularly in the areas of climate change, earth system science and sustainable development;
  2. the training of young scientists as well as the exchange of scientific information; and
  3. social dialogue at the intersection of research, politics, civil society and the private sector.

The IASS hosts a number of international staff and fellows who are currently working on Short-Lived Climate-forcing Pollutants (SLCPs). The institute’s global network spans research institutions, international, regional and national organizations and agencies in both the public and the private sector as well as NGOs. Regionally, the IASS’s work on SLCPs currently focuses on Europe, Nepal, and the Arctic region. Strong ties also exist with the UNEP ABC program and the IGBP / IGAC Project.

The IASS research cluster on “Sustainable Interactions With the Atmosphere” (SIWA) covers the range of pollutants highlighted by the Coalition. SIWA’s research activities include:

  • Two modelling groups, one focusing on the chemistry of SLCPs in general and gases in particular, the other focusing on particulate matter and specifically black carbon. The results will be used to analyse mitigation options and better understand the contribution of different emission sectors to the global radiative forcing from SLCPs.
  • The “Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley” (SusKat) project aims at creating a scientific basis for the design and implementation of SLCP mitigation options in Nepal. A field campaign is currently implemented to identify major sources of SLCPs. Subsequently, the results will be used to identify the potential of various mitigation options customized to fit local conditions, to develop policy recommendations and to design and test pilot measures. SusKat is implemented in collaboration with the international scientific community and local authorities.
  • Following a high-level workshop on SLCPs in Potsdam in March 2012, the IASS started the “Short-lived Climate-forcing Pollutants: Research Needs and Pathways to Policy Implementation” (ClimPol) project to (1) raise awareness among policy makers and the general public; (2) identify further research needs; (3) and to contribute to related international efforts. Focusing particularly on Germany and Europe, ClimPol takes a transdisciplinary approach to generate suggestions for long-term integrated mitigation strategies across several policy arenas. For the latter, an Interdisciplinary and Global Working Group (IG-WG) on SLCPs has been formed.
  • A fourth project, “Sustainable Maritime Arctic Transformation” (SMArT), is currently being set up to undertake transdisciplinary research on reducing SLCPs from maritime transportation in the Arctic, including modules focusing on societal implications, effects on climate change and air pollution, and governance responses.

This combination of activities under one roof allows using synergistic effects and incorporating scientific, practical, system and communication based knowledge in all four projects.

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