New paper by K. Lucas, O. Renn and C. Jaeger on “Systemic Risks: Theory and Mathematical Modeling”

Klaus Lucas (Institute of Technical Thermodynamics), Ortwin Renn (Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies) and Carlo Jaeger (GCF) give a review of how insights form complexity science can be applied to the domain of systemic risks. They have identified four major properties of systemic risks: they are (1) transboundary in nature, (2) highly interconnected and intertwined leading to complex causal structures and dynamic evolutions, (3) non-linear in the cause-effect relationships showing often unknown tipping points or tipping areas and (4) stochastic in their effect structure.

The online article is published in Advanced Theory and Simulations and can be accessed on Wiley Online Library: and here: Lucas Renn Jaeger Systemic Risks Theory and Mathematical Modeling

Citation: Lucas, K., Renn, O., Jaeger, C. (2018 online): Systemic Risks: Theory and Mathematical Modeling. – Advanced Theory and Simulations, 1800051.DOI:

New Paper: O. Renn, K. Lucas, A. Haas & C. Jager undertook the effort of a conceptional clarification of Systemic Risks

Ortwin Renn, Klaus Lucas, Armin Haas & Carlo C. Jaeger
Things are different today: the challenge of global systemic risks
Journal of Risk Research, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2017.1409252 (2017)

Paper on “the ability of societies to adapt to twenty-first-century sea-level rise” by Jochen Hinkel et al. published in Nature Climate Change

Can societies adapt to 21stcentury sea-level rise?

The ability of societies around the world to adapt to 21stcentury sea-level rise (SLR) is more likely to be dependent upon social factors, including finance, than technical capabilities.

That is the conclusion of an international team of researchers lead by Dr. Jochen Hinkel from the Global Climate Forum (GCF) in Berlin and addressed in a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. Read more

Successful ICT tools for policy making

During the last years, many ICT-based tools have been developed for policy making. However, only few of them have been taken up either by policy-makers or other user groups. In order to better understand the success factors, we have conducted an extensive review of existing and successful tools such as America’s Army, MarketPlace, C-ROADS, World Climate, UrbanSim, UNEP Web Intelligence and SIMCITY. Additionally, we have incorporated our own experience in the development of ICT tools within several EU funded research projects (such as SYMPHONY). Read more

Large scale coastal protection is cost-efficient for most of the global coastal population.

Large scale investment in coastal protection is cost-efficient for 90 percent of today’s global floodplain population. This is the result of a global scale cost-benefit analysis of large-scale coastal protection performed by researchers from Global Climate Forum and published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

“Sea-level rise is occurring in many areas of the world and supposed to continue and possibly accelerate during 21st century.  Our study illustrates that large scale protection, as it is already implemented in the Netherlands and the North of Germany, is generally economically efficient for densely populated coastal areas” explains lead author Daniel Lincke from the Global Climate Forum (GCF). “This holds true for a wide range of possible future sea-level rise scenarios (30cm – 190cm in 2100), a wide range of scenarios for social and economic development (from a poor and overpopulated world to a rich and sustainable managed world) and varying assumption on intergenerational climate change cost sharing. ”

The scientists conducted local cost-benefit analysis of coastal protection for over 12,000 coastal segments covering the complete coastline of the world. For each analysis 125 combinations of sea-level rise, socio-economic development and intergenerational climate change cost sharing scenarios have been considered. While only for 13 percent of the global coastline it was found that, under every scenario combination considered, investment in coastal protection costs less then the damages resulting from not protecting the coast, this small fraction of the global coastline accounts for 90 percent of today’s global floodplain population and for 96 percent of today’s global floodplain assets. Opposite that for 65 percent of the global coastline covering only 0.2 percent of global floodplain population and 0.2 percent of global floodplain assets investment in coastal protection costs more then the damages resulting from not protecting the coast under every scenario combination considered.

“Our results shows that the majority of coastal inhabitants lives in densely-populated and urban coastal areas, and is likely to (continue to) protect itself even under high-end sea-level rise. This is due to the high benefit-cost ratios of coastal protection in these areas. On the other hand, poorer rural areas will struggle to maintain safe human settlements and are likely to eventually retreat from the coast” adds co-author Jochen Hinkel from GCF. “Nevertheless, our study shows that there is a considerable opportunity to bridge the 21st century coastal adaptation finance gap for a large part of the world’s coastal population.”

Article: Daniel Lincke, Jochen Hinkel (2018): Economically robust protection against 21st century sea-level rise. Global Environmental Change 51, July 2018, Pages 67–73.


Report: Digitalisation of the energy transition

To achieve the desired decarbonisation of the German economy, a stronger integration of the electricity, heat and transport sectors is needed.
Digitalisation can play a key role in this process, e.g. in the fields of energy efficiency and the integration of renewables. The legal framework for the digitalization of the energy transition, is currently being developed. This short study of GCF and GeSI gives an overview of the current status of legislation and policy that link the digital and the energy world. In addition, the study assesses where the legal framework is already well developed and where adjustments are necessary.

Weblink to the study:

A stag hunt for green investment

To achieve the goal of keeping global warming well below 2 °C, private investors have to shift capital from brown to green infrastructures and technologies and provide additional green investment. In this paper, we present a game-theoretic perspective on the challenge of triggering such investments. The question of climate change mitigation is often related to the prisoner’s dilemma, a game with one Nash equilibrium. However, the authors perceive investment for mitigation and adaptation as a coordination problem of selecting among multiple equilibria. To illustrate this, we model a non-cooperative coordination game, related to the stag hunt, with a brown equilibrium with lower payoffs that can be achieved single-handedly and a green equilibrium with higher payoffs that requires coordination.

Weblink to the paper:

Mobilising Private Finance for Coastal Adaptation

The role of private finance in meeting adaptation infrastructure investment needs has been widely emphasised in climate policy debates. This new paper Mobilising private finance for coastal adaptation: a literature review in WIREs Climate Change reviews the scientific literature on the issue. The paper thus provides a perspective from the current literature on the questions of what promotes private investment in coastal adaptation and how can public actors’ interest in adaptation be aligned with private investor interests. Read more

GCF Working Paper 1/2018:
Green Growth Mechanics: The Building Blocks

Green growth holds the promise that solving environmental problems can at the same time create economic benefits. Yet, until now there is little analytically sound work on the possibility of such a dynamics. In this paper, we investigate conditions under which a transition from brown growth to green growth can improve the economic situation, both in the present and in the future. In our model, we combine three well-documented phenomena: the fact that a major aspect of technical change is learning by doing, the fact that learning by doing can develop in different directions, and the indeterminacy of labour markets resulting from the difficulty of matching the skills of people with the tasks arising in firms. The combination provides new insights for the discussion about the possibilities of green growth.

The paper can be downloaded here: GCF_WorkingPaper1-2018

The Role of Sustainable Investment in Climate Policy

Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals requires a fundamental socio-economic transformation accompanied by substantial investment in low-carbon infrastructure. Such a sustainability transition represents a non-marginal change, driven by behavioral factors and systemic interactions.
However, typical economic models used to assess a sustainability transition focus on marginal changes around a local optimum, which—by construction—lead to negative effects. Thus, these models do not allow evaluating a sustainability transition that might have substantial positive effects. This paper examines which mechanisms need to be included in a standard computable general equilibrium model to overcome these limitations and to give a more comprehensive view of the effects of climate change mitigation.

Weblink to the paper: