In January 2018, the Ecologic Institute hosted a group of students from the University of Maryland for a Seminar on Energy, Climate Change and Options for a Low-Carbon Economy. Berlin was the host city for the first leg of the two-week seminar – followed by a week in Venice, hosted by the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change (CMCC). In Berlin, Grit Martinez, R. Andreas Kraemer and Benjamin Görlach taught sessions on the basics of climate change and climate policy, on adaptation to climate change, and on the German energy transition. The course was rounded off with an excursion to Lusatia, a coal mining region southeast of Berlin.
For the week in Berlin, Benjamin Görlach developed the curriculum jointly with Professor Anna Alberini of the Department for Agricultural and Resource Economics at UMD, and facilitated the course. The curriculum included an introduction to the science of climate change, an overview of the available mitigation instruments for decarbonising different economic sectors – using Germany's Energiewende (energy transition) as a study case, an in-depth discussion of Carbon Capture and Storage and the technical, legal and political controversies around it, and an overview of different options and strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change. It also included a field trip to the Lusatia region - guided by Sebastian Zoepp of the Spreeakademie – which covered both the economic, social and environmental aspects of lignite mining and power generation, and examples of solar PV and wind power development at communal level and at industrial scale. The Ecologic Institute faculty teaching the different units included Benjamin Görlach, R. Andreas Kraemer and Grit Martinez.
With this course, the Ecologic Institute continued its existing cooperation with leading US universities. For many years, the Ecologic Institute has been implementing seminars and courses for US students in Berlin, covering environmental policy in Germany and Europe and the German Energiewende, on behalf of Duke University, the University of Denver and the University of Notre Dame.