Associated Projects


What Determines People’s Willingness to Accept new Climate Change Mitigation Options? (Mar 2012 – Feb 2015)


The project ACCEPT intends to broaden the scientific knowledge of the new climate change mitigation options by obtaining comprehensive empirical evidence on the determinants of people’s willingness to accept and to close an existing research gap focusing on Germany. Such information is essential for designing an optimal portfolio of mitigation options. The research is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

  • Prof. Dr. Kathrin Rehdanz // Kiel Institute for the World Economy / The Environment and Natural Resources // Christian Albrechts University of Kiel / Chair of Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Dr. Gert Pönitzsch // Kiel Institute for the World Economy / The Environment and Natural Resources



Crisis Talk

Historical, Systematic and Political Conditions for
the Discourse on Climate Change and the Legitimacy of Climate Engineering

mehr ...

In order to enable a responsible way of developing and dealing with climate engineering (CE), a historical, systematic and political understanding of past and present ways of dealing with “climate crises” is required. After all, the reception and deliberation of proposals to regulate global warming through CE depend on how scientists, politicians, and the media frame climate change, its potential effects and possible policy responses – and this framing is shaped to a large extent by historical experience. The objectives of our proposal are

1. to identify how “crisis talk” surrounding CE debates has been shaped by historical, scientific, and political climate-discourses – as historical and systematic background to current appeals to the imminence of catastrophe or to the dangers of “tampering” with the climate system,

2. to critically evaluate how “crisis talk” in the context of CE serves to legitimate specific actions as it challenges advocates and opponents to negotiate essential tensions that come with the notion of crisis as a state of exception.

As a team of historians, philosophers of science, and political scientists (with close links to linguistics and communication studies as well as climate researchers) we explore arising questions diachronically and from an interdisciplinary perspective. We focus on historical crises situations that were linked to the climate and analyze how they provide patterns of explanation and legitimation today (project Schenk). We work on the epistemic dimensions of past and current climate discourses (project Nordmann) and we compare recent political crises and how they legitimated the potential use of exceptional means with current CE proposals (project Lederer).

We study the interplay in popular as well as scientific discourse of normalcy and exceptionality, sensitivity and resilience, inevitability and inviolability. There are many stories about climate change and our ability to deal with it. By studying how in these stories points of climate crisis have been constructed and contested now and in the past, we provide a basis for responsible engagement with and development of CE.

Furthermore, our contribution is of practical value to all scientific, political, and media actors who are engaged with CE either in an administrative or regulatory/ governance capacity or as advocates who seek to bring scientific knowledge to the deliberation of adequate responses to climate change. All these actors need to negotiate a complex terrain that is characterized by historically and scientifically informed suppositions regarding the unprecedented novelty of the situation, regarding the timing of measures of last resort. 



Research Interests of our Associated Scientists

Dr. Sabine Ammon

Areas of specialization of Sabine Ammon’s research are in the philosophy of design and the philosophy of engineering sciences. She is interested in questions related to specific forms of knowledge acquisition, e.g. through modelling and simulation techniques, as well as in questions related to the role of values in these design processes.



Dr. Rolf Müller

Climate engineering through solar radiation management aims at reducing incoming solar radiation – one of the most discussed options is the artificial introduction of sulphur particles into the stratosphere. We aim to study adverse effect on the atmosphere of such an intervention including stratospheric ozone change and a change in the stratospheric circulation.

  • Dr. Rolf Müller // Forschungszentrum Jülich / Institute for Energy and Climate Research / Stratosphere
Dr. Bärbel Vogel
  • Dr. Bärbel Vogel // Forschungszentrum Jülich / Institute for Energy and Climate Research / Stratosphere (IEK-7)