The IPCC new special report “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise

In its new special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise.

PD Dr. Jochen Hinkel, head of the GCF research process “Adaptation and Social Learning“, is one of the 100 coauthors from 30 countries of the IPCC special report “The ocean and the cryosphere”, that synthesizes the findings of more than 7,000 research articles.

The Full Report is accessible here:

See a corresponding article (in German) in the Berliner Zeitung HERE.


PRESS RELEASE (in German see PDF here)

GCF – Global Climate Forum e.V., 25th of September 2019

In its new special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise. According to the report “The Ocean and the Cryopsphere in a changing climate” published today (Wednesday), sea levels could rise by one metre by the end of the century and by several metres by 2300. “The expected rise in sea levels poses enormous challenges to coastal areas around the world, but the risks are unevenly distributed,” says Dr Jochen Hinkel, co-author of the new IPCC report and scientist at the Berlin Global Climate Forum.
“In areas where there are few tides – for example in the tropics or inland seas – changes in mean sea levels are much more likely to result in more frequent flooding, because there are few and often no protective measures against higher water levels,” emphasizes Hinkel. “Conversely, there are dikes on the North Sea coast that are up to eight metres high and that offer protection even at slightly higher sea levels and can be raised if necessary.”

The expected rise in sea levels therefore poses not only immense technical but also economic and social challenges. According to the IPCC report, in which more than 100 scientists from 30 countries participated, rich urban areas can still be effectively protected from sea-level rise in the 21st century.

“Many metropolitan regions are located in river deltas and, by extracting groundwater and other resources, are experiencing a much faster rise in local sea levels than the rest of the world’s coastlines,” says Hinkel. “Some of these regions, such as the Japanese capital Tokyo or the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, have shown that it is possible to successfully adapt to the high and rapid local sea-level rise.” The greatest risk posed by sea-level rise is for poorer and rural regions worldwide, the scientist stresses, where access to the necessary resources and effective protection measures are limited. “For these areas and their inhabitants, the situation during the 21st century could pose a threat to their livelihoods,” warns Hinkel.

But even more prosperous coastal cities will find it increasingly difficult to cope with the long-term sea-level rise of several metres that awaits us with continuing high greenhouse gas emissions. “The only way to protect ourselves from such disaster scenarios is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and substantially. This could limit long-term sea-level rise to less than one metre,” says Hinkel.

1 The IPCC report “The Ocean and the Cryosphere in a changing climate” can be downloaded from from the end of the blocking period. 100 scientists from 30 countries participated in the special report. They examined around 7,000 scientific articles.
2 The Global Climate Forum is a research institution in Berlin for climate impact research. Based on the global socio-ecological systems they have developed, GCF scientists provide stakeholders, companies and civil society organisations with solutions for addressing climate change. One of the focal points is research on adaptation strategies to rising sea levels.

Further information:
Dr. Jochen Hinkel, Global Climate Forum e.V. (GCF), Neue Promenade 6, 10178 Berlin, Germany, Tel: +49 30-2060738-20, email: hinkel(at), web:


GeSI publishes landmark report “Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030”

The Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), an institutional member of GCF, and Deloitte have launched a landmark report on “Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030” with the help from an international Expert Panel including Jeffrey Sachs, Christiana Figueres, and GCF chairperson Prof. Carlo Jaeger, among others.

The report finds that digital technologies, if deployed with positive societal impact in mind, will help accelerate progress toward the SDGs by 22% and mitigate downward trends by 23% on average. The report further finds that by 2030, digital technologies will deliver reductions in carbon emissions equivalent to nearly seven times the size of the growth in the ICT sector emissions footprint over the same period.

Access the Full Report here: Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030

Access GeSI’s interactive website Digital with Puropse here:

See a corresponding Wall Street Journal article here:




ASU Global Futures Laboratory response to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land

The IPCC special report on Climate Change and Land has been published in August 2019. The report was written by 107 leading scientists from 52 countries, who synthesized more than 7,000 scientific papers to draw carefully crafted conclusions based on our current state of knowledge.

ASU Global Futures Laboratory, a GCF member organization, just published a response to the Special Report – read more.

Global Futures Laboratory is dedicated to develop and rapidly deploy response options for proactive planetary management to maintain habitability and improve human well-being.

Many of the response options discussed in this report focus on new approaches to policy, governance and institutions. Such reforms can enable climate-adaptive development pathways to manage resources more sustainably, enhance social resilience and facilitate collaboration among stakeholders. They also lead to more sustainable economic growth.




With 60 other participants in a Decision Theater conducted by the Global Climate Forum (GCF) in Potsdam, Jack was able to explore and discuss the complex decisions people make when they decide which mobility type to use…

GCF has been awarded the Ralf-Dahrendorf-Prize for the European Research Area by Minister Karliczek

GCF has been awarded the Ralf-Dahrendorf-Prize for the European Research Area by Minister Karliczek

Global Sustainability Strategy Forum 2019

From Knowledge to Action: Recommendations to Advance the Transformation Towards Sustainability

The first meeting of the project Global Sustainability Strategy Forum (GSSF), organised by the IASS and Arizona State University, and sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, brought together fifteen renowned experts in the field of sustainable development from around the world, among them GCF chairperson Carlo Jaeger. The scientists gathered in Potsdam for one week to discuss the state of play and the need for action to support the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals around the world. Their deliberations have resulted in new insights and recommendations to improve policymaking for sustainable development.

For more information please visit IASS‘ news entry here.

For audio-visual impressions of the Forum there is a short video available on youtube.



GCF contributed to OECD Report: Responding to Rising Seas

Researchers from GCF (Adaptation and Social Learning research process) contributed to a recent OECD report “Responding to Rising Seas OECD Country Approaches to Tackling Coastal Risks”, including leading a chapter analysing the future costs of sea-level rise and adaptation measure in the 21st century. The report reviews how OECD countries can use their national adaptation planning processes to respond to this challenge and examines how countries approach shared costs and responsibilities for coastal risk management and how this encourages or hinders risk-reduction behaviour by households, businesses and different levels of government. The report further outlines policy tools that national governments can use to encourage an efficient, effective and equitable response to ongoing coastal change. It is informed by new analysis on the future costs of sea-level rise, and the main findings from four case studies (Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom).

Here are the links to the Report and coastal chapter.

Beyond the Gap – How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet

Researchers from GCF (Adaptation and Social Learning research process) contributed to a recent World Bank report on global infrastructure investments. They provided the chapter in coastal protection infrastructure needs under different socio-economic and climate scenarios. Failure to secure the appropriate financial tools, institutions, and governance mechanisms to ensure maintenance – and thus continuous protection over time – would increase risk and could result in catastrophic failures. Absent a firm commitment to reliable maintenance, a combination of nature-based protection, land-use planning, and retreat should be favored.

The report can be found here.

GCF’s Decision Theater in the media II

Short film on GCF’s Mobile Decision Theater event @ HKW, 28 November 2018

IASS, as the coordination office of the Kopernikus Project Energy Transition Navigation System (ENavi // more here), has launched a short film on GCF’s activities in the context of the Forum’s Mobile Decision Theater event held at Haus der Kulturen der Welt on 28 November 2018.

[For more information on the event go here]

See the full short film here:

Leverage Points for Sustainable Mobility

The Global Climate Forum and Leuphana University set up the mobile Decision Theater, which runs with simulations from GCF’s mobility model MoTMo, to discuss the transition to a more sustainable mobility in Germany.