22 October 2014 - 24 October 2014

Copenhagen, Denmark

IARU Sustainability Science Congress

IIASA Deputy Director General Nebojsa Nakicenovic will chair a session at the IARU Sustainability Science Congress in October 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The Congress invites experts across scientific disciplines to foster broader collaboration on sustainable solutions relevant the societies of today and tomorrow.  The congress aims to provide a platform for science-policy interface relevant for global challenges by targeting both business and policy makers.

Achieving sustainability requires more than single handed efforts for the environment, the economy or local communities. Good sustainable solutions are interlinked and involve efforts and expertise from many scientific fields and societal layers.

The congress will host several parallel sessions and a number of plenary speakers. The focus is on “integrative” sessions with participants from several disciplines in the same sessions. Dr. Nakicenovic will coordinate a session, along side Anthony Patt of ETH Zurich and Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley, entitled: "Energy in a Resource Constrained Economy".

For the last decade, climate change has been a proxy for sustainability. As political and public opinions have become more deadlocked over the issue of climate change, and as the scarcity of other natural resources such as food and water emerge as limiting factors to development of the world economy, sustainability is coming into focus. 

There is abundant research pointing to the importance of access to reliable and affordable modern energy as being a key ingredient in human development. Societies have gone through fundamental transformations with the development and diffusion of industrial scale waterpower, electricity, and fossil fuels, but a major gap of energy service persists with roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide without access to electricity, perhaps another billion with unreliable or overly expensive electricity services, and International Energy Agency forecasts that these numbers will remain unchanged in 2030.  There are important arguments to be made for a wholesale replacement of fossil fuels with other sources of primary energy. But those arguments raise three sets of scientific questions:

What are the practical alternatives to fossil fuels?
What strategies and policies can best promote the transition to these alternatives?
What wider sets of changes in society will an energy transition bring about?

Registration for the Congress is now open. To register, or to find out more information on the Congress, click here.

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Last edited: 09 September 2014


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar

Transitions To New Technologies

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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