Third-Party Funded Projects

ACCEPT – What determines people’s willingness to accept new climate change mitigation options? (Mar 2012-Feb 2015)

Combating climate change poses a major challenge to governments, industry and society. Since international negotiations on emission reduction agreements have had limited success so far, governments have started considering, among other things, new options that may help mitigating climate change. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) and climate engineering (CE) are such options. Before testing or implementing any of these instruments, costs and benefits as well as the associated risks need to be evaluated. However, even if some options were found suitable, another crucial element for actual implementation would be public acceptance and people’s willingness to accept (WTA) these measures. People’s assessment and therefore their WTA any or all of these new climate change mitigation options is crucially influenced by their beliefs and emotions, by their risk perception and trust in institutions as well as by their risk aversion and ambiguity aversion.

The project intends to broaden the scientific knowledge of the issue by obtaining comprehensive empirical evidence on the determinants of people’s WTA and to close an existing research gap focusing on Germany. Such information is essential for designing an optimal portfolio of mitigation options. The research is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).



ACCESS - Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society  (Mar 2011-Feb 2015)


With ongoing climate change the Arctic Ocean changes. Rising temperatures lead to receding sea ice, with severe implications not only for the ecosystem itself, but also for accessibility to human activity. Growing interest in the Arctic Ocean as shipping route, fishing ground and resource hold imply both grand opportunities and threatening risks, affecting the social and economic environment of Arctic communities, littoral states and beyond. Naturally, the stress on the ecosystem Arctic Ocean is going to increase. 

It is the task of the ACCESS-project to evaluate the social and economic implications of a change in the accessibility of the Arctic Ocean, point out the according risks and provide an assessment of the inherent trade-offs. The task of our research group is to evaluate the implications of an increased production of hydrocarbons in the Arctic Ocean. Together with partners from various disciplines we study the economic costs, environmental risks, implications for world markets and sustainability of off-shore energy production from the Arctic. ACCESS is part of the “Ocean of Tomorrow” call within the European Union’s seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development. The project consortium consists of 27 partners from ten European Countries.

Read more on the ACCESS project homepage

BIOACID – Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification

Since the beginning of industrialization, the oceans have taken up nearly half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels. The absorption of CO2 results in a lower pH-value. The ocean becomes more acid.

Previous phases of the BIOACID-project (phase I and II) significantly contributed to a better understanding of the potential biological impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and ecosystems as well as the economic consequences. However, it seems that the threats and risks associated with ocean acidification are still not clearly perceived by society. Compared to the concepts "Climate Change" and "Global Warming", the concept and the consequences of ocean acidification still play a minor part in the public opinion.

Public support of climate mitigation policies is greatly influenced by public perception of the risks and dangers of global climate change. For public support, the provisioning of information and the way information is provided is likely to play a significant role.

In the third phase of the BIOACID-project we aim to (1) analyze the public perception and understanding of ocean acidification in Germany and (2) examine in what way context-dependent information influences awareness and possibly acceptance of stricter climate change mitigation policies aimed to reduce the negative impact of OA. The data collected for this analysis is based on a representative survey.

URBES- Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Jan 2012-Dec 2014)

Today, cities are facing enormous challenges resulting from global change, e.g. in the climate system. Ecosystems provide flexibility in urban landscapes and help build adaptive capacity to cope with such challenges as, for example, the increased risk of heat waves and flooding. However, systematic knowledge about the links between urban biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being is still largely missing. Moreover, urban ecosystem services are generally not priced on markets and thus usually under-provided by market forces. In order to reconcile the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban areas with an ever growing demand for land use, the ecological, socio-cultural and monetary values of ecosystem services need to be fully incorporated into decision making processes.

The aim of the URBES project is to (1) analyze the role of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being, (2) to quantify and value their contribution to human well-being, and (3) to give policy advice for sustainable long-term urban land-use management. An innovative aspect of URBES is that it is the first project to apply the TEEB approach to urban environments, and that it uses both monetary and non-monetary valuation to assess urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. The research project is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). URBES is part of the BiodivERsA initiative within the European Union’s 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7-ERA-NET).

Read more on the URBES project homepage.