The ICI group focuses on advancing the understanding of physical climate impacts and risks in a scenario context, and their societal and economic consequences.

Based on innovative approaches to climate modeling and tool development, this contributes to the work of the Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) Program, placing an emphasis on integrating physical climate risks into modeling and scenario building activities.

The work of the ICI focuses on three key objectives:

  1. Improving the understanding of biophysical and economic climate impacts and risks with particular focus on extreme events, climate overshoot, tipping elements, and an enhanced integration of climate impact drivers along the climate impact chain. 
  2. Advancing frameworks for climate resilient development pathways. This includes the development and application of novel methodologies for an integrated assessment of climate impacts, adaptation, and mitigation, including stress testing. 
  3. Developing an interdisciplinary research agenda of linking emissions to climate damages and advancing from questions of climate attribution to climate accountability for damages. 

In its pursuit of a transformative approach to climate impact research, the ICI group, places particular emphasis on agile methodologies for the exploration of various scenarios and the assessment of their respective key risks. These efforts aim to provide for a step-change towards closing the gaps between emission scenarios, climate impacts and risks, and adaptation and loss and damage responses. 

Compound risks and climate overshoot

One of the major focus areas of the ICI group centers around tail risks and compound events. It is these tail and compound risks that drive both the economic and the non-economic societal damages, presenting a threat to overall societal stability. The ICI group advances the understanding of critical thresholds of socio-ecological systems, the limits to adaptation, and societal response capacities across a range of climate impacts. Integrating this information into a dynamic scenario context will foster a better understanding of climate resilient development pathways. 

Specific attention is given to studying climate impact (ir)reversibility under climate overshoot scenarios. In this context, the ICI will also focus on Earth System responses and potential tipping elements.

From climate attribution to accountability

Moving beyond the traditional analytical focus on climate attribution (to climate emissions), the ICI group operationalizes the concept of climate accountability. Interdisciplinary approaches that blend scientific inquiry with legal and ethical considerations will operationalize legal principles to trace climate impact along the impacts chain. This approach does not only solidify the scientific basis for climate accountability, but also paves the way for more effective and equitable policy interventions. 


Alexander Nauels profile picture

Alexander Nauels

Senior Research Scholar (ICI)

Carl Schleussner profile picture

Carl Schleussner

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar (ICI)

Tessa Möller profile picture

Tessa Möller

Research Intern (ICI)

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Niklas Schwind

Guest Research Scholar (ICI)