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Climate change and me

Due to the school strike for the climate of Greta Thunberg and the resulting activities of the Fridays for Future movement, the climate issue has become a major issue in the public eye. At the latest with the support of the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement by the Scientists for Future (S4F) founded by Gregor Hagemann, this discussion is now also picking up academically. A complex problem like the climate crisis requires analysis and processing from many sides. Natural sciences, economics, medicine, social sciences and law work equally to solve the urgent tasks that this crisis poses.

Nicolas Schmelling (Quantitative Biology) and Michael Schmitt (Physical Chemistry) have launched a series of lectures entitled 'Climate Change and Me' for the 2019/20 winter semester as part of the Studium Universale. Lecturers from Heinrich Heine University and external guests present topics such as the role of climate-relevant trace gases, environmental law, sustainability, mobility and bioeconomy in individual lectures. The event is aimed at students from all departments and is also open to non-students interested participants within the framework of the Citizens University. At the moment the number of participants is limited to 300, if this is exceeded we will try to organize a larger lecture hall. Registration for students takes place in the LSF. As an event as part of the Studium Universale, you can acquire 2 credit points (ECTS). In addition, interested students have the opportunity to receive further ECTS points by working on a project. Details on this will be announced in the introductory event on October 8, 2019, 4: 30-6: 00 pm, HS 6J (building 26.41).

The list of the lecture topics that have been set so far can be found in the LSF and below.

  • October 8th, 2019: Lecture 0: Organizational matters (Nicolas Schmelling and Michael Schmitt)
          download: Foil (pdf)     Foil (pptx)  
  • October 15, 2019: Lecture 1: What is climate change? What are the causes of climate change? (Prof. Dr. Michael Schmitt, Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)     Foil (pptx)     Film  
    In the first lecture of the lecture series 'Climate Change and Me', the physical and chemical basics of climate change will be examined. This includes topics such as: How can historical climate data such as temperature or the composition of the atmosphere be tracked over millennia? Is there an optimal global average temperature? Why do we measure temperature changes better than absolute temperatures? What role do greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides play in global warming and is it human to blame for everything? What is the role of water in the natural greenhouse effect?
  • 10/22/2019: Lecture 2: What are the effects of climate change? (Prof. Dr. Michael Schmitt, Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)     Foil (pptx)     Film  
    Climate change has multiple consequences for life on our planet. Most of the consequences are caused by rising surface temperatures. With the knowledge from the first lecture, we now want to deal with the effects, such as the melting of the Arctic sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet and the (west) Antarctic ice sheet and the consequences for the sea level. The so-called tipping elements play a central role in this discussion, beyond which the climate system irreversibly jumps into a new state of equilibrium that is far removed from the old one. The different tilting elements are presented and the consequences of reaching one or more are discussed.
  • October 29, 2019: Lecture 3: History of Climate Change (Prof. Dr. Michael Schmitt, Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)     Foil (pptx)     Film  
    After the reasons for climate change and its consequences, let's turn to the historical aspects. The first attempts to explain the climate on the basis of the composition of our atmosphere go back to the work of Jean Claude Fourier from 1820. Shortly before the end of the 19th century, Svante Arrhenius developed a model of the warming of the surface due to the reduced heat emission of the Atmosphere due to the IR absorption of carbon dioxide. On the basis of this fundamental work, the development of the history of research into climate change is presented.
  • November 5th, 2019: Lecture 4: Climate Ethics (Dr. Wündisch, Political Philosophy and Ethics, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)   
    In his lecture on climate ethics, Mr. Wündisch deals with the topics of 'intergenerational justice' and compares different compensation models for future damage: the Polluter-Pays Principle (polluter pays principle), Beneficiary-Pays Principle (benefit principle) and the Ability-to-Pay Principle (ability principle ). Aspects of intragenerational justice are discussed, such as the question of the equal or unequal distribution of pollution rights, as well as problems of compensating for territorial losses as a result of climate change.
  • November 12, 2019: Lecture 5: Climate Change and Migration (Prof. Dr. Boris Braun, Global South Study Center, University of Cologne)
         downloads: Foil (pdf)     Film  
    Climate change will undoubtedly have an impact on migration patterns, but the decision to migrate / non-migrate is a complex process that cannot be explained monocausally. Migration represents only one possibility of adaptation to environmental changes. Climate and environmental changes can hardly be reliably separated empirically from other reasons for migration and are often based on individual decisions. Climate change will affect migration patterns, but environmental changes are primarily involved in internal migration.
  • November 19, 2019: Lecture 6: Climate Change and Health (PD Dr. Nicole Schupp, Institute for Toxicology, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)  
    On November 19, 2019, the topic will be 'Climate Change and Health'. Mrs. PD Dr. Schupp from the Institute for Toxicology at HHU Düsseldorf will speak about the direct and indirect health effects caused by climate change. The direct consequences include heat stroke and skin cancer, while the indirect consequences include infectious diseases and allergies. The connections between climate change are explained, and measures to protect and reduce the impact on health are discussed.
  • November 26, 2019: Lecture 7: Politics in the face of the climate crisis - climate policy at the international level, in the EU and in Germany (Stefan Küper, press spokesman and NRW specialist promoter for climate and development at Germanwatch)
         download:  Film   
    What has been done so far to contain the climate crisis? Where do we stand today in international climate policy, what are the greatest challenges, where do we have to go? What are the EU and Germany doing for climate protection? And what do you have to do? Stefan Küper is NRW specialist promoter for climate and development and press spokesman at Germanwatch. The non-profit environment and development organization based in Berlin and Bonn has been observing, analyzing and commenting intensively on German and international climate policy since 1991. In addition to an overview of climate policy at the various levels, the speaker will also give suggestions on where everyone can become so active that the framework conditions for sustainability change - with the Germanwatch Hand Print. The handprint of personal commitment.
  • December 3rd, 2019: Lecture 8: Finances & Banking (Lars Kurzinger, Chair of Business Administration, especially Financial Services, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)    
    Within the lecture series 'Climate Change and Me', the lecture on 'Finances and Banks' deals with the German banking system and its mutual influence with the current climate debate. For this purpose, the German banking system and the concept of banking are first sketched out in order to illuminate their role in the award of “green loans” and to illustrate possible influencing factors. In a next step, an attempt will be made to identify sustainable and “green” companies in Germany in order to create an exemplary sustainable portfolio on this basis, which will then be compared with a climate-unfriendly portfolio in order to identify potential differences in their returns and risks to compare with each other and to show those involved the problems of such an analysis. In this way, possible implications for your own capital investment, for example, can be derived and possible problem areas can be identified. Finally, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is used as a possible positive example of a sustainable investment strategy.
  • December 10, 2019: Lecture 9: Climate Protection Law (Prof. Dr. Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof, Law, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Effective climate protection requires a suitable legal framework. This includes international legal regulations such as the Paris Climate Protection Agreement, European legal requirements such as the EU's “three-pillar strategy” and national regulations, for example on the premature termination of coal-fired power generation in Germany. This multi-level system of law is geared towards ensuring an environmentally, especially climate-friendly, reliable and economical energy supply.
  • December 17, 2019: Lecture 10: Climate Change and Mobility (Thorsten Koska, Research Area Mobility and Transport Policy, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy)
         download: Foil (pdf)     Film    
    The transport sector is far from achieving its climate targets - emissions have stagnated at a high level for 30 years. Efficiency gains are being eaten up by more and larger cars, more frequent air travel, and growth in freight transport. In addition, today's transport system endangers health and quality of life - through air pollutants, noise, accidents and land consumption. A traffic turnaround must therefore start at different points at the same time: reduce traffic costs through shorter distances, create incentives to give up the car with attractive public transport, cycle and footpath networks and networking with sharing offers, and finally through smaller and more efficient vehicles with alternatives Drives reduce energy consumption and emissions. This requires push and pull measures so that sustainable mobility can go hand in hand with an increase in quality of life and mobility opportunities.
  • January 7th, 2020: Lecture 11: Sustainability and Slow Fashion (Prof. Dr. Rudolf Voller, EthNa Competence Center CSR Textile and Clothing Technology, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences)
         dowload: Foil (pptx)  
    Based on a description of current clothing consumption, its effects on the environment, especially the climate, and social issues are discussed, taking into account general sustainability aspects, and ways to sustainable clothing production and consumption are shown.
  • January 14th, 2020: Lecture 12: Climate Change and Energy Supply (Prof. Dr. Matthias Neef, Mechanical & Process Engineering, University of Düsseldorf)
         download: Foil (pdf)    
    The energy supply of successful industrial nations is the engine for economic cycles, prosperity and growth and burns fossil resources for it. How is the energy mix currently made up? What is the contribution to climate change? Are there effective alternatives and which scenarios of change are conceivable?
  • January 21, 2020: Lecture 13: Nutrition (Nicolas Schmelling, CEPLAS, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
         download: Film
  • January 28, 2020: Lecture 14: Alternative economic cycles - Ways out of petrochemistry (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr, IBG 2, FZ Jülich)
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