Science into policy news

The latest updates on IIASA policy work, which spans national, regional, and global levels.

07 August 2019
Observation-driven research to inform better groundwater management policies

Groundwater maintains vital ecosystems and strongly influences water and energy budgets. Although at least 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on this valuable resource for their domestic water needs, the processes that sustain it and their sensitivity to climatic variability, are poorly understood. IIASA contributed to a study that looked into climate impacts on groundwater in light of changing climatic patterns in Africa.  More

17 July 2019
Lifting the fog on carbon budgets

The concept of a carbon budget has become a popular tool in guiding climate policy since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report was released in 2014. IIASA researchers were involved in the development of a framework that can help scientists determine which factors affect the size of the remaining carbon budget and how they interact.  More

17 July 2019
Protecting a forgotten treasure trove of biodiversity

The lesser-known Cerrado biome in Brazil is a hotspot of biodiversity, but it is being destroyed at an alarming rate by unsustainable agricultural activities. A study involving IIASA researchers published in the journal Science Advances, calls attention to this forgotten region and urges the international community to support measures for its protection.  More

15 July 2019
Curbing indoor air pollution in India

Clean cooking energy transitions are extremely challenging to achieve, but they offer enormous potential health, environmental, and societal benefits. A study by researchers from IIASA, the University of British Columbia, and the Stockholm Environment Institute provides new insights about an Indian program that aims to solve one of the most difficult developmental challenges of the 21st century – smoky kitchens.  More

11 July 2019
The Digital Revolution: Opportunities and challenges for sustainable development

The Digital Revolution has brought about rapid technological change, transforming the way societies function and how humanity impacts the Earth. A new report describes how digitalization can transform the world and how these changes can be planned for as we move towards 2030 and beyond.  More

03 July 2019
Picturing access to energy for all in sub-Saharan Africa

Satellite images showing nighttime lights on different continents have long been recognized as an indicator of the availability and use of electricity around the world. IIASA researchers examined the precision with which these images can be converted into detailed maps of electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.  More

29 June 2019
Applied science with a global reach

Options Summer 2019: As part of its mandate to provide sound, science-based policy advice, IIASA research regularly forms part of influential global publications aimed at decision makers.  More

11 June 2019
Exploring the causes of persistent corruption

IIASA researchers used a novel approach to explore the key processes and conditions that determine corruption levels. Their analysis shows that transparency about the integrity of institutions is key to fighting corruption, and that vigilance against corruption must be maintained despite its cost, even when corruption levels appear to be low.  More

11 June 2019
Education trumps age-structure in terms of providing a demographic dividend

The relationship between population changes and economic growth has been a controversial topic among demographers for many years. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) today, challenges the dominant view that fertility decline and changes in age structure are key drivers of economic growth.  More

04 June 2019
Is there a demographic need for migration in Europe?

A European Commission-IIASA flagship report has found that an increase in the EU population aged 65+ is certain – regardless of higher fertility or migration. However, raising labor force participation (particularly for women) and improved education of natives and migrants have the power to nullify aging-related worries.  More

14 May 2019
Fixing a broken food system

In a comment in Nature, researchers lay out a solution for climate change and food security that draws on an integrated view of agriculture, biodiversity, trade, and nutrition.  More

07 May 2019
Reducing carbon emissions while improving health is economically attractive

The findings of a study involving researchers from IIASA, Princeton, and several other institutions looked into the question of how much the current generation should invest in reducing carbon emissions for the benefit of future generations. Their findings support the climate targets of the Paris Agreement.  More

06 May 2019
Gender in the transition to energy for all: From evidence to inclusive policies

IIASA researchers contributed to a new report released by the ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy that looked at the role of gender in achieving sustainable energy for all.  More

12 April 2019
Rethinking conservation efforts for improved biodiversity

A study published online by the journal Science, looked into why the global commitment towards the expansion of protected areas has not delivered the expected conservation benefits. The researchers propose a new target and a set of indicators that can galvanize global conservation efforts and lead to positive biodiversity outcomes.  More

29 March 2019
Poor air quality to remain a problem in India despite pollution control policies

According to an independent study released today by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), more than 674 million Indian citizens are likely to breathe air with high concentrations of PM2.5 in 2030, even if India were to comply with its existing pollution control policies and regulations.  More

27 February 2019
New measures show population aging likely to end this century

Policymakers have long been concerned about the effects of an aging population on society, but researchers at IIASA have developed a new tool that shows population aging will likely end by the middle of the century in high-income countries.  More

07 February 2019
Addressing cooling needs and energy poverty targets in the Global South

With most of the northern hemisphere currently in the icy grip of one of the coldest winters ever recorded, in the south it is record breaking heat that is the problem. The results of a new IIASA study show that between 1.8 and 4.1 billion people require access to indoor cooling to avoid heat related stresses.  More

23 January 2019
New study establishes causal link between climate, conflict, and migration

IIASA-led research has established a causal link between climate, conflict, and migration for the first time, something which has been widely suggested in the media but for which scientific evidence is scarce.  More

11 January 2019
Integrated pathways for meeting climate targets and ensuring access to safe water

IIASA researchers have led work to develop new pathways showing how the world can develop water and energy infrastructure consistent with both the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.  More

07 December 2018
Disability among India’s elderly much higher than census estimates

New estimates of disability among India’s elderly population, based on the ability to carry out three basic living activities – walking, dressing, and toileting – show that the scale of the problem is much larger than suggested by the Indian national census.  More

30 November 2018
European Commission long-term strategy on climate change underpinned by IIASA research

The European Commission has adopted a new long-term strategy, A Clean Planet for all, on how Europe can become climate neutral by 2050 and meet its Paris Agreement commitments, and IIASA research has contributed to the quantitative backbone.  More

29 November 2018
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths

IIASA researchers have contributed to a major new report in The Lancet medical journal looking at the effects of climate change on human health, and the implications for society.  More

27 November 2018
New UNEP report concludes nations must triple efforts to reach 2°C target

IIASA researchers Joeri Rogelj and Daniel Huppmann were among the contributors to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) 2018 Emissions Gap Report, which says that while it is still possible to keep global warming below 2°C, the nations of the world must triple their efforts to reduce emissions.  More

22 November 2018
Crowdsourced field data shows importance of smallholder farms to global food production

A new global field size data set collected as part of a crowdsourcing citizen science project by IIASA researchers has shown that the proportion of smallholder farms may be much larger than previously thought, contributing much more to global food production.  More

20 November 2018
25 years of Ukraine membership at IIASA

Options Winter 2018/19: The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine joined IIASA as a National Member Organization in 1994. We look back on 25 years of fruitful collaboration.  More

17 November 2018
Ensuring a better future through global cooperation

Options Winter 2018/19: Q&A with Heinz Faßmann, Minister for Education, Science, and Research of the Republic of Austria.  More

01 November 2018
Reducing US coal emissions through biomass and carbon capture would boost employment

Employing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), would not only retain 40,000 jobs currently held as part of the US coal industry but would create 22,000 new jobs in the forestry and transportation sectors by the middle of this century, according to new IIASA-led research.  More

22 October 2018
Financial and non-financial firms need the same strong regulations to protect economies

Researchers at IIASA and the Complexity Science Hub, Vienna, have discovered that non-financial firms, such as vehicle manufacturers and energy companies, contribute to systemic risk in financial systems in the same way as financial institutions like banks, and as such, should be regulated in the same way.  More

15 October 2018
New interactive scenario explorer for 1.5°C pathways

IIASA and the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) have made the scenarios underlying last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C Special Report publicly available, in an interactive online resource. The resource provides scenarios and a suite of visualization and analysis tools, making the assessment more transparent to researchers, policymakers, and the public.  More

12 October 2018
Innovative tool allows continental-scale water, energy, and land system modeling

A new large-scale hydroeconomic model, developed by a team at IIASA, will allow researchers to study water systems across whole continents, looking at sustainability of supply and the impacts of water management on the energy and agricultural sectors.  More

09 October 2018
IIASA contributes to IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, a new assessment on minimizing global warming, and multiple IIASA researchers were involved in its production.  More

28 September 2018
New book looks at dealing with critical risks from climate change beyond adaptation limits

A new book edited by researchers at IIASA, the London School of Economics (LSE) and Deltares looks at the research, political debate and policy options surrounding the impacts of climate change which may be irreversible and beyond physical and social adaptation limits, known as Loss and Damage.  More

17 September 2018
Paris climate targets could be exceeded sooner than expected

A new study has for the first time comprehensively accounted for permafrost carbon release when estimating emission budgets for climate targets. The results show that the world might be closer to exceeding the budget for the long-term target of the Paris climate agreement than previously thought.  More

14 September 2018
China’s energy policies: A balancing act between air quality, carbon emissions, and water scarcity goals

China is attempting a shift from coal to natural gas in an effort to address the country’s severe air pollution. A new study shows that although such a switch generally has benefits for air quality, carbon mitigation, and water stress, some options may in fact increase carbon emissions and water consumption.  More

14 September 2018
Novel framework to address uncertainty in water management

IIASA researchers have developed a general decision-making framework to support policy decisions on the management of water resources, which, for the first time, explicitly takes into account the associated uncertainties.  More

01 August 2018
India needs ‘giant leap’ to meet 2030 targets in reducing child mortality rates

IIASA researchers have found that almost half of the districts in India are not on track to reduce the mortality rates of newborns and meet the target set out under Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) for 2030, while a third will not meet the target for under-five mortality rates.  More

30 July 2018
Climate taxes on agriculture could lead to more food insecurity than climate change itself

New IIASA-led research has found that a single climate mitigation scheme applied to all sectors, such as a global carbon tax, could have a serious impact on agriculture and result in far more widespread hunger and food insecurity than the direct impacts of climate change. Smarter, inclusive policies are necessary instead.  More

26 July 2018
IIASA researchers help EU states to assess forestry’s role in achieving climate commitments

IIASA researchers have led the development of new guidance for EU member states estimating greenhouse gas emissions and removals from their forests and developing plans to show how they will account for these emissions and removals in the future.  More

16 July 2018
Behavior-influencing policies are critical for mass market success of low carbon vehicles

Policies to entice consumers away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles and normalize low carbon, alternative-fuel alternatives, such as electric vehicles, are vital if the world is to significantly reduce transport sector carbon emissions, according to new research.  More

10 July 2018
Six transformations needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals: major report launched

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative has launched a new report, setting out six key transformations that will enable the world to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  More

09 July 2018
Brazil’s Forest Code can balance the needs of agriculture and the environment

If fully implemented, Brazil’s Forest Code, an environmental law designed to protect the country’s native vegetation and regulate land use, will not prevent growth in Brazilian agriculture, according to new IIASA-led research.  More

05 July 2018
Biorefineries will have only minimal effects on wood products and feedstocks markets

A new report from researchers from IIASA, Luleå University of Technology (LTU), and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden has shown that more biorefineries, which produce biobased fuels and chemicals, will have only a small effect on the availability and pricing of wood products and feedstocks.  More

25 June 2018
Clean power is not enough: More action in other sectors needed to meet Paris targets

CO2 emissions from non-electricity energy uses, such as industry, transport, and heating, are the greatest impediment to meeting the Paris climate targets, according to new research from an international team of scientists.  More

22 June 2018
UK weight misperception highest among overweight and obese, influenced by socioeconomic factors

A new study reveals that overweight and obese adults in the UK are more likely to underestimate their weight status and less likely to try to lose weight, especially among lower-income, lower-education, and minority groups.  More

18 June 2018
Meeting Paris climate targets will require a substantial reallocation of global investment

A new analysis by an international team of scientists led by IIASA shows that low carbon investments will need to markedly increase if the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement aim of keeping global warming well below 2°C.  More

16 June 2018
What drives migration?

Options Summer 2018: IIASA research is providing a scientific basis to help design evidence-based migration policies that will benefit Europe while ensuring humanitarian needs are met.  More

15 June 2018
Opinion: Challenges to science diplomacy

Options Summer 2018: Sir Peter Gluckman is the chief science advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and an IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow.  More

07 June 2018
Shaping the future of public transport in Sweden

Options Summer 2018: In 2015, Sweden announced an ambitious aim to become one of the first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. Work done by IIASA researchers in collaboration with Swedish partners, is now contributing to discussions to make this goal a reality.  More

04 June 2018
Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by transforming how we move around, heat our homes, and use devices

Global warming can be limited to 1.5°C by unprecedented improvements in the energy efficiency of everyday activities, according to new research from an international team of scientists at IIASA.  More

23 May 2018
New papers highlight economic benefits of European-Eurasian economic ties

A IIASA-led project looking at economic ties between the European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has published three new reports offering recommendations to improve economic cooperation despite ongoing political cool-down.  More


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Last edited: 22 March 2018

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