Climate change poses great challenges for the world community: On the one hand increasing greenhouse gas emissions have to be avoided – e.g. through the transformation of the energy system - at the same time, however adaptation strategies to unavoidable climate change must be identified. Both areas of action are associated with a variety of spatial effects for which integrated and regionally significant knowledge of ecological, social, economic and institutional contexts must be provided. Geography may play an important role here.
Against this background, the department "Climate Change and Sustainable Development" researches both at the conceptual and at the level of regional case studies about transforming societal relationships with nature on the example of power and water resources as well as their couplings. Dealing with these two "fuels" of social-ecological systems decides whether and how to manage sustainable development.
From the perspective of political ecology the metabolism of increasingly urbanized societies and the regulation of water and energy fluxes are analyzed. The focus lies on processes of exchange between society and nature (social-ecological regime) and the associated specific land uses. For it is now undisputed that the transformation from an agrarian via an industrial to a service and knowledge society, established a social-ecological regime of structural non-sustainability