On 16 February 2012, Ecoscholars held an evening discussion in conjunction with the Hertie School of Governance. The event focused on the state of global climate after the latest round of UN negotiations, held in Durban, South Africa in November - December 2011. Opening talks were given by two expert speakers examining differing aspects of the negotiations and future scenarios for climate policy. These opening talks were followed by a question and answer session from the Ecoscholars participants, as well as informal discussion over food and drinks.
Dr. Susanne Dröge, Head of the Global Issues Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), opened the discussion by exploring the foreign policy surrounding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating process, in terms of the 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban. She noted that while Durban had been successful in establishing a timetable for a new climate agreement and in extending the Kyoto Protocol, it is clear that the process has not implemented any short term measures to combat global climate change.
Dr. Karsten Neuhoff, Head of the Department Climate Policy at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), spoke second, taking a more technical perspective in discussing some of the mechanisms and instruments forming the basis of discussion in the UNFCCC process. In particular, he highlighted Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) as a potential method of encouraging green growth and low-emissions development. Better monitoring activities were also highlighted as key to providing the transparency necessary to instill confidence in global climate change cooperation amongst states.
Subsequent discussion amongst all participants covered topics including the consideration of adaptation activities in the UNFCCC process, and South Africa’s impact as host to the negotiations (in comparison to Mexico’s the previous year). Attending Ecoscholars members represented Berlin-based research institutes, universities, think tanks and other organizations.
Ecoscholars is an initiative of international scholars coordinated by the Ecologic Institute. It is a discussion and networking group for international researchers, scholars, fellows, and professionals who are involved in climate change, energy, sustainability, and other environmental fields. Ecoscholars operates on a traditional academic calendar, with a kick-off event for "newcomers" during the fall.
For a more extensive recap of the discussion, see the Ecoscholars website (English only).