Profile in „Die Zeit“: What drives ... Ottmar Edenhofer

In a large profile the German weekly describes why the MCC director aims at solving the climate problem by focusing on economics.

[Translate to EN:] Foto: Die Zeit


“Die Zeit”, Germany’s largest and most influential weekly, addresses the road to the COP21 in Paris with an article series over several weeks. In the current issue, the paper runs a whole page filling profile on the director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Ottmar Edenhofer, who also serves as the chief economist of the Potsdam Institute on Climate Impact research (PIK).

In the business section it reads: „Ottmar Edenhofer doesn’t do research on emissions, but on people. He explores how to change their behavior through financial incentives. For example, what should be the price for carbon emissions so that people would think:  It doesn’t pay off to put it into the air.” The article then refers to Edenhofer’s assessement that a minimum price on carbon is necessary for effective mitigation.

The profile quotes policy-makers, NGO stakeholders and business associations who all praise the mcc director extensively. “There is hardly anybody who does not think Edenhofer is an excellent partner in arguing with,” “Die Zeit” writes. “ The State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry says: “I think he’s great.” Greenpeace’s climate expert says: “A richly deserved man.” And the one within the Federation of German Industries:  “I am a fan.” One last try, a call at the German Association of Energy. They are the people who are supposed to break out in a rash thinking about somebody who wants to put a price on carbon. “He is a great asset for the debate on climate”, the chairwoman of the General Executive Management Board says, “not ideological and eloquent, I highly regard him.”

The MCC as a main domain of the climate economist is also describes in detail. “Edenhofer’s institute in Berlin-Schöneberg is energy efficient and carbon neutral. Men on skateboards roll over the venue. Companies being located here have names like Ecoglobe or Ökotech. In the kitchen you can find soja drinks and whole-food bars, green coffee and ecological tee.”

At the end “Die Zeit” gives an outlook towards the climate summit in Paris, too, by quoting Edenhofer as saying: “In 2009, at the summit in Copenhagen, I was relaxed. But now I start getting a little worried.”