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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Resource Economics


The Resource Economics Group has sectoral expertise on the economics of climate change, the energy and water sector, pasture management and urban governance. It addresses problems of sustainable development like climate change and overexploitation of natural resources. We have extensive regional experience in Germany and Central Asia.

Institutional Adaptation to Climate Change

Detrimental impacts of climate change have become unavoidable. They will increasingly affect, for example, natural resources, the water sector, or infrastructures – adaptation to climate change is needed. This requires a long-term re-organization of the institutions that govern those sectors and regions. We explain pathways and barriers to adaptation by taking a collective action and institutional change perspective, conducting comparative institutional analyses as pioneered by Elinor Ostrom.

New Approaches to the Economics of Climate Change Mitigation

Avoiding dangerous climate change requires global cooperation. This had not been very effective so far in limiting global warming. However, new forms of climate cooperation where sub- and transnational actors play a leading role seem to emerge in the recent years. For example, transnational city alliances address climate change, large business networks lobby for climate policy, or labour unions connect across countries. These developments are not understood sufficiently yet. Why do they emerge? When are they indeed effective?

Energy Transition

The energy sector is heavily transforming across the globe, possibly towards a low-carbon economy. This raises several questions. Whether motivated by climate protection, economic development or other reasons, the transition is frequently driven from the bottom-up and not by national governments – why is this the case? There might also be barriers to change from a possible carbon lock-in, while large-scale renewable or grid investments might introduce new path dependence – how can these challenges be addressed? Answering those question requires a precise understanding of the incentives in the energy system and options for institutional adjustments, for example in electricity markets and infrastructure regulation.

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