MCC and PIK to intensify research on global commons

MCC Director Edenhofer to also take with Johan Rockström joint lead of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), will also become Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) starting this October. There, he is presently Chief Economist. While retaining his position at the MCC, Edenhofer will hold the new position as PIK Director jointly with Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Center. This was decided on Friday by the Board of Trustees of PIK under the direction of the Brandenburg Ministry of Science, Research and Cultural Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The still acting PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber will retire. 

This move will allow Edenhofer to bring the MCC and PIK closer together with regard to two core MCC topics—systematic scientific policy advice and the work on global commons. The latter concern questions such as how the atmosphere or forests can be sustainably and fairly managed. To this end, the MCC is working on solutions and exploring policy instruments with a view to, for example, distribution issues and the effects of carbon pricing on financial and fiscal policy.

“The MCC is a pioneer in research on global commons. Through intensive cooperation with the MCC, PIK can strengthen its expertise in the social sciences without losing its core competence in the field of natural sciences,” says Edenhofer. “At the MCC, we are forging an ongoing dialogue about targets and policies in order to achieve the sustainable use of the global commons and, thereby, maintain growth and prosperity over the long term.”

In addition to his new position at PIK, Edenhofer will continue to lead the MCC, which is funded by the foundation Stiftung Mercator. The scientific orientation of the institute, now with 46 employees, will be maintained, and the systematic synthesis of knowledge will be increased. Just in November of last year, Stiftung Mercator confirmed to support the MCC with a further 12.15 million euros up to the end of 2024. The approximately two million euros per year are intended to be used primarily for the research on the global commons as well as on policy advice through assessment processes and the Institute’s research excellence.

The MCC approach of providing systematic scientific policy advice is to find greater application at PIK in the future. One focus of the scientific think tank MCC are so-called assessment processes. These aim to make different societal goals transparent and translate them—on the basis of current scientific understanding—into alternative policy options and knowledge maps.

Brigitte Knopf, Secretary General of the MCC, is pleased about Edenhofer’s appointment as the Director of PIK. “What’s great is that Ottmar Edenhofer can now bundle MCC’s outstanding and solution-oriented policy advice even more closely with the corresponding approaches at PIK,” says Knopf. “The sustainable and socially just management of the global commons is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Together with PIK, we will work on solutions to this question.”

According to the latest evaluation commissioned by Stiftung Mercator, the politically independent MCC has made significant contributions to scientific policy advice due of its “excellent quality” in research. Among the research topics underscored were the Institute’s studies on carbon pricing and the reform of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) by means of a carbon price floor. In the 2016 ICCG Think Tank Ranking, the MCC was designated as being the best climate think tank in Europe and as the fourth best internationally.