Category Archives: Climate change

Response Thematic Event: Sustainable Energy System – Who Will Lead the Way?

June 16, 18:00 – 20:30. More info and registration: https://www.greenbuzz.global/zurich/event/sustainable-energy-system/

This event is part of RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (DP) «RESPONSE – to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences» is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 847585.

Technical innovation, massive business model change and societal adaptation are inevitable if we are to build a sustainable energy system. But how do we get there? What steps should we take? And who will lead the way? We dive into this topic and take an interdisciplinary approach with our event partner, the Energy Science Center of ETH Zurich, and our host, Siemens.

Energy demands are evolving fast. Nations are moving to build more self-reliance on their energy systems. We have an increasing demand for electricity and at the same time, we have aggressive goals to cut carbon emissions. Energy infrastructure projects will require long-term investments, so finance and governments are key to the solutions.

The only way to tackle the complex problem we face is through an interdisciplinary approach. Cutting-edge research is being done, but what can we learn? What support is required?

At this event, we will hear expert inputs by three keynote speakers from academia, business and the public sector. After these inputs, we will have the exclusive opportunity to dive deep into the topic by learning from eight doctoral students researching the hurdles and working on specific solutions for a sustainable energy system.

Join us to discuss the following questions – moderated by Christian Schaffner – and to learn from the doctoral students who are immersed in these topics:

  • How can energy policy support the speed of technical innovation?
  • How can green energy models be economically favorable?
  • What is the latest research on biofuels, semiconductor efficiency, managing hydropower dams, carbon capture and storage, the future of transport?
  • What are government and societal roles around the storage and transport of nuclear waste?

We are happy to announce that this event is hosted by Siemens in their state of the art Swiss Headquarters in Zug. The Siemens Campus is a great example of the interplay between new technological solutions and the energy efficiency and sustainability they bring with them.


Programme

17:30 – 18:00    Guest arrival (recommended train 17.10 from HB*)

18:00 – 18:15    Welcome by ETH, Siemens and GreenBuzz

18:15 – 18:45    Inputs by

18:45 – 19:05    Panel discussion moderated by Christian Schaffner

19:05 – 20:00    Moderated Poster-Session with PhD students on their research. Including:

  • Arnau Aliana
  • Manuel Belanche
  • Linda Brodnicke
  • Sudesh Dahal
  • Susanne Rhein
  • Katrin Sievert
  • Bessie Noll
  • Dabwiso Sakala
  • Fei Wu

20:00 – 21:00    Apéro hosted by Siemens  and chance to visit the Experience Center

* For participants who are visiting from Zurich we recommend taking the IR70 leaving 17.10 from HB  (21 minutes until Zug, followed by a short walk). For those who would like to travel in a GreenBuzz group, we will meet at the HB meeting point at 16:55 and enjoy some buzzing conversations en route.

Die ökologischen und ökonomischen Konsequenzen des Klimawandels in den Alpen

Maria Vorkauf, Universität Basel

Oberhalb der natürlichen Baumgrenze schreitet der Klimawandel besonders schnell voran. Wie schnell zeigen die Ergebnisse meiner Forschungsarbeit: Zwischen den Jahren 1985 und 2019 rückte das Datum der Schneeschmelze mit 2.8 Tagen pro Jahrzehnt vor und mit ungebremsten Treibhausgasemissionen wird sich dieser Prozess beschleunigen. Bis zum Ende des 21. Jahrhunderts wird die Vegetationsperiode für alpine Pflanzen rund einen Monat früher beginnen.

Welche ökonomischen Folgen hat der Klimawandel?

Aufgrund der Klimaszenarien für die Schweiz habe ich für das Skigebiet «Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis» analysiert, wie sich die Verfügbarkeit von Schnee während des 21. Jahrhunderts verändern wird. Ein besonderer Fokus lag auf der Menge an Wasser, die das Skigebiet in Zukunft aufwenden muss, um rentabel zu bleiben.

Continue reading Die ökologischen und ökonomischen Konsequenzen des Klimawandels in den Alpen

Wie werden sich die Skigebiete in der Schweiz in der Zukunft entwickeln?

Das Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center veranstaltete einen öffentlichen „Round Table“ am 03.02.2021. Zusammen mit Maria Vorkauf, Fellow im PSC-Mercator Doktoratsprogramm.

Aufgrund des Klimawandels ist generell mit steigenden Temperaturen, mehr Niederschlag im Winter, weniger im Sommer und weniger Neuschneetagen im Flachland und in den Alpen zu rechnen. Bei ungebremsten Emissionen wird bis zum Ende des Jahrhunderts in tieferen Lagen (unter 1800-2000 m.M) die Schneesichherheit nicht mehr gegeben sein.

Zusammenfassung der Diskussionen.

Zur Videoaufzeichnung mit Vorkauf, Maria; Abegg, Bruno; Egger, Thomas; Previsic, Boris; Hechenblaikner, Lois; Graf, Marie-Claire; Wilczek, Lena
Continue reading Wie werden sich die Skigebiete in der Schweiz in der Zukunft entwickeln?

The Value of Species Diversity in Grasslands

By Sergei Schaub

Background

Grasslands cover a large portion of the global land area and are essential for global food security and the agricultural economy. Grasslands provide many ecosystem services in addition to forage production, such as biodiversity, pollination, carbon sequestration, and outdoor recreation. Changes in agricultural production, biodiversity loss, and climate change (and with it, for example, increased droughts) are putting increasing pressure on grasslands and grassland-based production. This increasing pressure requires farmers to make adjustments.

Farmers have several instruments at their disposal to adapt their grasslands, including the choice of (plant) species diversity. Species diversity can increase yields and grassland stability, as well as species diversity can reduce the adverse effects of weather extremes (e.g., droughts). A key challenge is to quantify these species diversity benefits for farmers economically. These realities gave rise to the central question of my dissertation: ‘What is the value of species diversity for farmers in grasslands?’

What evidence is useful for policymaking?

In my thesis1, I showed that species diversity can increase yields while it did overall not negatively affect forage quality, both in intensively managed grasslands and managed semi-natural grasslands. Thus, species diversity can increase revenues from milk production. Additionally, I found that species diversity can reduce production risk in intensively managed grasslands. These benefits of species diversity were also present under climate change conditions, i.e., increasing drought probability. Therefore, my thesis results show that species diversity can be an economically relevant production factor and that the increasing species diversity in grasslands can contribute to sustainable intensification of grassland-based production.

Continue reading The Value of Species Diversity in Grasslands

How can policymakers decide if protected areas (=PA) in the Alps will be able to secure high-species richness under climate future change?

Protected areas like the Swiss National Park should conserve native plant and animal species in the Alps now and in the future. With upcoming climate change the habitats of species shift and the spatial distribution of alpine biodiversity is changing.

Can researchers predict if protected areas can uphold conservation goals under these changing conditions? How can policymakers decide if they need to update the boundaries of existing protected areas or if new ones need to be created in specific areas to conserve alpine biodiversity?

Continue reading How can policymakers decide if protected areas (=PA) in the Alps will be able to secure high-species richness under climate future change?

Gemeinsame Planung von Forschung: ENGAGE with Society

Nachhaltigkeitsinitiativen, Landwirte und pflanzenwissenschaftliche Forschung engagieren sich gemeinsam für ökologische Landwirtschaft und alternative Ernährungssysteme.

Bewerbungsschluss für die Formulierung der Anliegen am 20. April 2019 und Teilnahme an der gemeinsamen Ideenwerkstatt am 10. Mai 2019, 13:00 – 17:00.

Worum gehts?

Wir laden Sie ein, Ihre Fragen und Anliegen an die Forschenden des Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (Universitäten Zürich und Basel, ETH Zürich) in den Themenbereichen ökologische Landwirtschaft und alternative Ernährungssysteme zu formulieren.

Wir möchten mit Ihnen zusammen eine evidenzbasierte, naturwissenschaftliche Lösung oder Ergebnisse zu Ihrer Fragestellung erarbeiten. Zusammen definieren wir die wissenschaftliche Fragestellung und den Forschungsprozess und stossen gemeinsam Transformationsprozesse an – damit wir etwas bewirken für Nachhaltigkeit und Ihre Initiative.

Continue reading Gemeinsame Planung von Forschung: ENGAGE with Society

Agriculture and Climate Change: Reducing Food’s Footprint

A case study report can be downloaded:Agriculture and Climate Change: Reducing Food’s Footprint. Written by Carlos Eduardo Flores Tinoco, Tabea Gallusser, Christie Walker, PhD Program in Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich.

Agriculture and climate change go hand-in-hand, and changes in one will induce changes in the other. It is of utmost importance to identify agriculture procedures that minimize their contribution to climate change. Nowadays many agricultural procedures have been implemented that are able to increase their sustainability. Here we review the major influences between agriculture and climate change as well as explore which possibilities we currently have in order to mitigate the contribution from agriculture to climate change.

For download: PDF

The seminar “Sustainable Plant Systems” (VVZ: 551-0209-00L) is organized by the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center for MSc and PhD students of ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Basel every autumn term.