Nav: Home

German Arctic Office to act as consultant to politics and industry

January 04, 2017

Bremerhaven/Germany, 4 January 2017. The rapid climate changes in the Arctic are no longer just the domain of scientists. The shrinking sea ice and collapsing permafrost coasts are now also becoming topics on the agenda of international politics and industry. To be able to offer direct scientific advice to decision-makers, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) has now set up an office for Arctic affairs at its Potsdam site. The German Arctic Office officially commenced work on 1 January 2017 and draws its expertise from a network of scientists from all German research institutes working on Arctic topics.

Although Germany is not an Arctic country, it is one of the leading Arctic research nations. It is the aim of the German government to strengthen Germany's role in Arctic affairs. Due to the geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-ecological significance of the north polar region, which is changing particularly rapidly as a result of global warming, the German government endeavours to make the Arctic a key issue of German politics. "To do this, it requires a lot of scientific advice and support - which we as the German Arctic Office will provide," says Dr Volker Rachold.

The AWI scientists and long-standing Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) heads the new German Arctic Office, which started its activities in January 2017 at the Potsdam site of the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Neutral science partner for decision-makers in politics and industry

The German Arctic Office was initiated by the German Foreign Office, which represents Germany as an observer in the Arctic Council, and by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which promotes Arctic research in Germany.

Volker Rachold and his two staff will serve as neutral science advisers to representatives from politics, research and industry in Arctic matters and also work closely with the Berlin embassies of the Arctic countries. The Arctic Office is going to be a cooperation platform and interface between politics, industry and science, providing expertise and a comprehensive overview of the various activities.

Furthermore, the team will continue the "Arktis-Dialog" series of events that was initiated by the AWI and the German Foreign Office, which is currently regularly attended by representatives from six federal ministries. As part of the Arktis-Dialog events, experts from various branches of research answer the government representatives' questions. "Our network includes polar scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, but also scientists from other research institutions such as the Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research. We need their help, for example, when it comes to appointing German experts for the various work groups of the Arctic Council," says Volker Rachold.

Arctic countries interested in German research expertise and environmental technology

The geochemist knows what expectations the members of the Arctic Council have of the German "observer" from his many years as IASC Executive Secretary. "These countries are interested in our research results, for example the designation of marine protected areas. They also rely on German expertise and German technologies when it comes to the economic development and the climate and environmental protection of Arctic regions; Germany for instance contributes to the improvement of ice predictions for shipping and to averting possible environmental risks as a result of increased shipping," Volker Rachold explains.

He believes that investments by industry and politics in the Arctic region cannot be stopped, they can only be given sustained and vigilant support - for example by making use of modern environmental technology and by means of forward-thinking research. "One of our tasks at the Arctic Office is to explore specific questions asked by the government and companies together with institutions and universities, so that researchers can look into these issues. If we manage to communicate the research results to stakeholders and decision-makers, then we will meet the growing demand for a socially relevant science. To do this, the dialogue between research and stakeholders must be fostered and maintained in both directions," says Volker Rachold.

Detailed information about the work of the Arctic Office will shortly be available on its website. The first dates have already been confirmed. The first one is an information event at the end of May jointly organised with Finland in the Finnish Embassy in Berlin. In May 2017 Finland will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
-end-


Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Related Climate Articles:

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.
How aerosols affect our climate
Greenhouse gases may get more attention, but aerosols -- from car exhaust to volcanic eruptions -- also have a major impact on the Earth's climate.
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
How trees could save the climate
Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions.
Climate undermined by lobbying
For all the evidence that the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases outweigh the costs of regulation, disturbingly few domestic climate change policies have been enacted around the world so far.
Climate education for kids increases climate concerns for parents
A new study from North Carolina State University finds that educating children about climate change increases their parents' concerns about climate change.
Inclusion of a crop model in a climate model to promote climate modeling
A new crop-climate model provides a good tool to investigate the relationship between crop development and climate change for global change studies.
Natural climate solutions are not enough
To stabilize the Earth's climate for people and ecosystems, it is imperative to ramp up natural climate solutions and, at the same time, accelerate mitigation efforts across the energy and industrial sectors, according to a new policy perspective published today in Science.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
Historical climate important for soil responses to future climate change
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Amsterdam, examined how 18 years of drought affect the billions of vital bacteria that are hidden in the soil beneath our feet.
More Climate News and Climate Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab