Carbon Neutrality - Approaches to Solutions

761. WE-Heraeus-Seminar

01 Mar - 04 Mar 2022


Physikzentrum Bad Honnef

Scientific organizers:

Prof. Dr. Volker Sick, University of Michigan, USA • Prof. Dr. Markus Kraft, University of Cambridge, UK

Global warming has been identified as an existential threat to mankind. The main reason for the temperature increase is a massive increase in CO2 concentration (also known as a greenhouse gas or GHG) since the beginning of industrialization. Large amounts of CO2 entered the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels. Changes in land use have added to that and the effect has also been amplified by the reduced capacity of natural carbon sinks. Rapid and large-scale action is now needed to prevent catastrophic effects on our environment, which would threaten the ability to sustain human life on Earth. Amongst many efforts, emissions from fossil fuels need to be reduced and alternatives to fossil fuel as an energy carrier, energy source and basis of many materials need to be found. This challenge is unprecedented because of the connectedness of the problem which stretches over many different domains including dissemination to a wider public. The key purpose of our Heraeus Seminar is to emphasize the systems aspect of the problem and to identify potential actions that balance high impact on carbon neutrality on one hand and maintenance of high quality of life on the other. We aim to do this by bringing together students and experts in key topical areas from a wide range of disciplines to take a system-level approach to the problems of search, development, and implementation of solutions to address climate change. We will address six themes (energy, biosphere, circular economy, transport, living spaces, and society) and investigate them from an overarching perspective in small groups. We will synthesize our findings and prepare the results such that they are suitable for dissemination to a wider public audience.

The conference language will be English. The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Foundation bears the cost of full-board accommodation for all participants.