ECCC Symposium with Local and International Experts
At the beginning of June, the Einstein Center Digital Future brought together top-ranking experts for a symposium on climate research. As part of current preparatory efforts for the creation of a future climate-focused research center – Einstein Center Climate Change and Public Policy of Human Settlements (ECCC) – scientists from the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region discussed with leading international experts many of the pressing issues relating to the transformation of climate in urban areas.
The two-day event was also the first step towards establishing an interdisciplinary community around this research area. The symposium was launched by Christian Thomsen, former president of TU Berlin (2014–2022), Ottmar Edenhofer, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Sophia Becker, vice president for sustainability, internal communication, transfer and transdisciplinarity at TU Berlin, and Norbert Palz, president of Berlin University of the Arts.
The symposium focused on six key topics: urban climate policy, data use and artificial intelligence for climate strategies, design aspects and behavioral incentives, public health, and mobility. In short presentations, the scientists outlined their current research projects and research topics in thematic clusters, which were then discussed in interdisciplinary panels.
Robert Socolow, an American scientist and pioneer in establishing environmental and energy studies as a legitimate field of research for physicists, began the second day with the keynote address “When Values Conflict: Lessons after 50 Years of Environmental Governance.” His historical review ended with optimism for the present. Despite major climate-related challenges, he believes in the power of the younger generation: “Very smart young people now find carbon and energy problems exciting and moral issues irresistible.”
Felix Creutzig, scientific coordinator of ECCC: “Just in time a community is emerging that combines technical and social expertise on climate action and its institutional underpinnings in cities and human settlements.”
The results from the symposium will be used as part of the continuing application process for the envisioned Einstein Center on climate change. The recordings of the keynote talks by Robert Socolow and Felix Creutzig will be available on our YouTube channel.