At the Wuppertal Institute everything is currently focused on how to shape a climate neutral industry: the IN4climate.NRW initiative commenced its work with a kick-off meeting on 15 February. This new working platform is unique in Germany and brings together business, the scientific community and state government. Its objective is to develop strategies to enable industry in North Rhine-Westphalia to maintain its high level of competitiveness, generate additional growth and at the same time contribute to the achievement of the climate protection goals agreed in Paris. More than 20 companies and associations from various industries, i.e. steel and non-ferrous metals, chemicals, cement, glass, paper and building materials as well as six research institutes are participating in the initiative. The highlight: a scientific competence centre entitled SCI4climate.NRW is coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute and is providing research-based support to IN4climate.
SCI4climate.NRW is a research project involving six institutions and coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute under the lead of Professor Dr Stefan Lechtenböhmer. He highlights "with SCI4climate.NRW we are pursuing an integrative research approach to analyse technological, ecological, economic, institutional, social and (infra)structural challenges together with the relevant companies operating in North Rhine-Westphalia". "In the initiative with so-called innovation teams, which provide an unrestricted thinking space for the participating partners away from day-to-day business, IN4Climate supported by its scientific think tank SCI4climate makes an important contribution towards a future-oriented and forward-looking industry in NRW. In addition to technological issues, the circumstances required for the practical realisation of the promising ideas developed by the innovation teams are among the various topics discussed within the project," stressed Professor Dr Manfred Fischedick, Vice-President of the Wuppertal Institute.
Another topic of broad and current interest in the climate and energy arena is the future of coal in Germany: on 26 January 2019, the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment recommended that no more coal-fired power plants would be operated in Germany by 2038 at the latest. In the paper "Assessment of the Results of the Commission on Structural Change" the Wuppertal Institute comments on the results of the Commission and makes recommendations for the current necessary steps for the climate and innovation policy in Europe, Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Incidentally, in December 2017 the EC launched the Coal Regions in Transition Platform to support coal-mining regions in their transition efforts. Widening the scope now to include also carbon-intensive regions, the EC put out to tender the operation of the secretariat of the Platform for Coal and Carbon-Intensive Regions in Transition (CCIRIT). The secretariat will be operated by a consortium led by Ecorys. Further partners are ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability as well as Climate Strategies. The Wuppertal Institute will be responsible for gathering scientific knowledge for the various support activities planned within the platform.
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Christin Hasken & Anna Riesenweber