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2019

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10 December 2019
Could we cool the Earth with an ice-free Arctic?

The Arctic region is heating up faster than any other place on Earth, and as more and more sea ice is lost every year, we are already feeling the impacts. IIASA researchers explored strategies for cooling down the oceans in a world without this important cooling mechanism.  More

09 December 2019
Highlighting the importance and vulnerability of the world’s water towers

Mountains and highlands are often referred to as natural “water towers” because they provide lowland communities with essential freshwater for drinking, irrigation, industry, food, and energy production. A new Nature study provides insight into this valuable resource, which is crucial to the welfare of 1.9 billion people.  More

03 December 2019
Differences in replacement level fertility point to inequalities

The percentage of the world’s population that is above or below the ‘replacement level of fertility’ has long been used as a measure of demographic development. A new study revisited how this metric is calculated and how useful it really is in terms of informing policy decisions.  More

29 November 2019
Informing better policies for an aging population

A new book by IIASA World Population Program researchers offers an opportunity to rethink how we define and measure aging to inform better policies for future societal and economic health.  More

26 November 2019
Crowdsourcing landscape restoration assessment in Indonesia

The Urundata mobile application will allow Indonesians to be more involved in efforts to restore forests and landscapes in the country. Users can contribute by playing games to help interpret satellite imagery and gather information on the ground.  More

19 November 2019
Beyond the green revolution

There has been a substantial increase in food production over the last 50 years, but it has been accompanied by a narrowing in the diversity of cultivated crops. New research shows that diversifying crop production can make food supply more nutritious, reduce resource demand and greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance climate resilience without reducing calorie production or requiring more land.  More

18 November 2019
How much energy do we really need?

Two fundamental goals of humanity are to eradicate poverty and reduce climate change, and it is critical that the world knows whether achieving these goals will involve trade-offs. New IIASA research for the first time provides a basis to answer this question, including the tools needed to relate basic needs directly to resource use.  More

18 November 2019
Nitrous Oxide levels are on the rise

Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas and one of the main stratospheric ozone depleting substances on the planet. According to new research, we are releasing more of it into the atmosphere than previously thought.  More

07 November 2019
Plants and fungi together could slow climate change

A new global assessment shows that human impacts have greatly reduced plant-fungus symbioses, which play a key role in sequestering carbon in soils. Restoring these ecosystems could be one strategy to slow climate change.  More

06 November 2019
Switching to solar and wind will reduce groundwater use

IIASA researchers explored optimal pathways for managing groundwater and hydropower trade-offs for different water availability conditions as solar and wind energy start to play a more prominent role in the state of California.  More

28 October 2019
Improving governance is key for adaptive capacity

Governance in climate vulnerable countries will take decades to improve, substantially impeding the ability of nations to adapt to climate change and affecting billions of people globally, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability.  More

28 October 2019
Exposing blind spots in the carbon budget space

The impact of 1°C of global heating is already having devastating impacts on communities and ecosystems across the globe. An international research group that included researchers from IIASA and Japan, identified biases towards some selected carbon budgets in the current scenario literature. They propose a more comprehensive approach to systematically explore the carbon budget scenario space.  More

25 October 2019
Integrated solutions for the Indus Basin

New framework helps decision makers find science-based pathways to address water resources and connected sustainability challenges in the Indus River basin.  More

23 October 2019
The long arm of childhood conditions

Available research on the impact of a person’s socioeconomic status during childhood suggests that the circumstances one grows up in matter a great deal for adult health. The results of a new IIASA study supports the notion of a “long arm of childhood conditions” that remains invisible beyond mid-life but can affect health satisfaction later in life.  More

21 October 2019
A roadmap to make the land sector carbon neutral by 2040

Land is critical to human livelihoods and wellbeing, while actions related to land use also play an important role in the climate system. IIASA researchers contributed to the development of a new roadmap outlining actions on deforestation, restoration, and carbon cuts that could lead to the land sector becoming carbon neutral by 2040 and a net carbon sink by 2050.  More

17 October 2019
Assessing the benefits and risks of land-based greenhouse gas removal

IIASA researchers collaborated with colleagues at a number of international institutions to assess the benefits and risks associated with six different land-based greenhouse gas removal options in light of their potential impacts on ecosystems services and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  More

11 October 2019
Population aging to create pockets of climate vulnerability in the US

Population aging projections across the US show a divide between cities and rural areas, which could lead to pockets of vulnerability to climate change.  More

10 October 2019
Sharing data for improved forest protection and monitoring

Although the mapping of aboveground biomass is now possible with satellite remote sensing, these maps still have to be calibrated and validated using on-site data gathered by researchers across the world. IIASA contributed to the establishment of a new global database to support Earth Observation and encourage investment in relevant field-based measurements and research.  More

09 October 2019
Citizen science for sustainable development

Monitoring progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals requires a huge amount of data. Citizen science could help fill important data gaps, say IIASA researchers.  More

08 October 2019
Who is telling the truth about their health?

When researchers or policymakers ask health related questions – which they do a lot – they often rely on self-reported rather than tested health data. IIASA researchers looked into how reliable this type of data is for research and found that, depending on country or age, self-reported data could be highly biased.  More

25 September 2019
Assessing the effects of climate change on future wheat production

Wheat is the world’s largest rain-fed crop in terms of harvested area and supplies about 20% of all calories consumed by humans. A new study has found that unless steps are taken to mitigate climate change, up to 60% of current wheat-growing areas worldwide could see simultaneous, severe and prolonged droughts by the end of the century.  More

24 September 2019
Operationalizing targets for biodiversity conservation and restoration

The Nature Map Consortium has introduced new global maps that integrate available data on biodiversity and carbon to assist country policies for biodiversity and land-based greenhouse gas emissions.  More

23 September 2019
Exploring the future of coal power in water scarce Asia

Many aspects of modern energy systems necessitate access to reliable water resources. The findings of a new study involving IIASA researchers shows that Developing Asia’s long-term electricity generation plans – which relies heavily on coal power generation – could be significantly impacted by regional changes in the availability of water under climate change.  More

20 September 2019
Exposing the dirty footprint of the broken grid

A newly released report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) shows that fossil fuel-burning backup generators in developing countries produce as much energy as 700-1,000 coal-fired power stations, consume US$50 billion in annual spending, and emit dangerous chemicals into homes and businesses.  More

18 September 2019
Rethinking scenario logic for climate policy

Current scenarios used to inform climate policy have a weakness in that they typically focus on reaching specific climate goals in 2100 – an approach which may encourage risky pathways that could have long-term negative effects. A new IIASA-led study presents a novel scenario framework that focuses on capping global warming at a maximum level with either temperature stabilization or reversal thereafter.  More

17 September 2019
Landmark report outlines critical transitions for transforming food and land use

A new report released by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) is the first to assess the benefits of transforming global food and land use systems, as well as the mounting costs of inaction. The authors call on world leaders to act now and advance the economic case for change.  More

11 September 2019
How can we feed the world without overwhelming the planet?

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 calls for ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are however massive, and many fear that they will only become more pressing as we try to meet the growing need for food worldwide. IIASA researchers and colleagues from Japan propose alternative hunger eradication strategies that will not compromise environmental protection.  More

26 August 2019
Deep transformations needed to achieve the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations that require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business. IIASA contributed to a new study outlining six major transformations that will be required to achieve these ambitious goals.  More

26 August 2019
Taking on SDG 6: Launch of the Water Scarcity Clock

IIASA contributed to the development of the Water Scarcity Clock – a free webtool that allows decision makers to monitor the number of people around the globe suffering from water scarcity in real time. The new tool aimed at policymakers was launched in Stockholm on Sunday, 25 August to mark the start of this year’s World Water Week.  More

23 August 2019
Addressing causes of mortality in Zambia

Despite the fact that people in sub-Saharan Africa are now living longer than they did two decades ago, their average life expectancy remains below that of the rest of the world population. A new study looked into the importance of various causes of death in Zambia and how eliminating the most prominent of these would impact life expectancy in the country.  More

20 August 2019
Examining the link between caste and under-five mortality in India

In India, children that belong to disadvantaged castes face a much higher likelihood of not living past their fifth birthday than their counterparts in non-deprived castes. IIASA researchers examined the association between castes and under-five mortality in an effort to help reduce the burden of under-five deaths in the country.  More

12 August 2019
Preserving forests is critical to slowing global warming

Forests are the largest reservoirs of biomass on the planet and an important sink for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. An international team including researchers from IIASA analyzed decades of experiments to map the potential of forests to increase their biomass and continue to absorb and store CO2 in the future.  More

12 August 2019
Mapping the effects of drought on vulnerable populations

The greater frequency of droughts, combined with underlying economic, social, and environmental risks means that dry spells have an increasingly destructive impact on vulnerable populations, and particularly on children in the developing world. In a new study by researchers from IIASA and the University of Maryland in the US, the team set out to map at-risk populations at the global scale.  More

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

06 August 2019
How much carbon dioxide can tropical forests absorb?

Current climate models suggest that trees will continue to remove manmade greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, making it possible to stay within the targets set by the Paris Agreement. A study by an international team including researchers from IIASA however indicates that this uptake capacity could be strongly limited by soil phosphorus availability.  More

02 August 2019
Making a case for returning airships to the skies

Reintroducing airships into the world’s transportation-mix could contribute to lowering the transport sector’s carbon emissions and can play a role in establishing a sustainable hydrogen-based economy. According to the authors of an IIASA-led study, these lighter-than-air aircraft could ultimately increase the feasibility of a 100% sustainable world.  More

22 July 2019
Understanding the drivers of a shift to sustainable diets

One of the 21st century's greatest challenges is to develop diets that are both sustainable for the planet and good for our bodies. An IIASA-led study explored the major drivers of widespread shifts to sustainable diets using a newly developed computational model of population-wide behavioral dynamics.  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

02 July 2019
Leena Srivastava appointed IIASA Deputy Director General for Science

The Vice Chancellor of the TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, Leena Srivastava will join the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) as the Deputy Director General for Science on 15 November 2019.  More

24 June 2019
More energy needed to cope with climate change

A new study published today in Nature Communications by researchers from IIASA, Boston University, and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice found that by mid-century climate change will increase the demand for energy globally, even with modest warming.  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

17 May 2019
New study maps symbiotic relationships in forests worldwide

Data collected from over 1 million forest plots reveals patterns of where plant roots form symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria. The study is the first proof of a new ecological law, and lends new insight into potential climate feedbacks.  More

16 May 2019
Shedding light on the key determinants of global land use projections

Land use is at the core of various sustainable development goals. An international research group consisting of researchers from several institutions including PBL Netherlands, IIASA, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, endeavored to disentangle the key determinants of global land use projections in a study published in Nature Communications this week.  More

13 May 2019
Weighing up trade-offs between food security and climate mitigation

IIASA researchers collaborated with colleagues in Japan to clarify the impacts of stringent climate mitigation policies on food security. The team identified smart and inclusive climate policy designs where the risk of food-security for hundreds of millions of people could be addressed at a modest cost.  More

13 May 2019
Trade could be key to balancing the conservation of natural freshwater sources and food security

An IIASA study published in the journal Nature Sustainability today, evaluated whether water for the environment could be prioritized under growing competition from other sectors. The results indicate that this could be achieved by shifting crop production from water scarce- to water abundant regions and tripling international food trade.  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

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
Stalled fertility declines linked to disruptions in women’s education in Africa

A slowdown in fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa was partially caused by disruptions in women’s education in the 1980s, according to new IIASA research.  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

06 February 2019
Diffusing the methane bomb: We can still make a difference

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing the carbon containing permafrost that has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years to thaw and release methane into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming. The findings of a study that included researchers from IIASA, however, suggest that it is still possible to neutralize this threat.  More

29 January 2019
Biofuel production in sub-Saharan Africa could be prioritized for aviation

A new study, designed by IIASA researchers for conservation charity WWF, has found that while there is a small but not insignificant potential for the production of sustainable biofuels in sub-Saharan Africa, this should be prioritized for the aviation industry which has limited other options when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.  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

2018

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17 December 2018
Changes in agriculture could cut sector non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50%

The agricultural sector is the world’s largest source of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, and IIASA-led research has found that changing agricultural practices and a shift in diet away from meat and dairy products could reduce the sector’s emissions by up to 50% by 2050 compared to a situation without mitigation efforts.  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
Holistic, network approach to life science needed to solve systemic environmental problems

Achieving a sustainable world will require a paradigm shift in the way we approach life sciences and ecology, according to a new book cowritten by IIASA researcher Brian Fath, with a focus on a holistic, multi-model view of life and the environment.  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

06 November 2018
New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index

IIASA researchers have introduced a new, simple measure for human wellbeing across countries, called the Human Life Indicator (HLI), that takes inequality into account and could replace the commonly used but error-prone Human Development Index (HDI).  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

30 October 2018
Nothing natural about nature’s steep decline: WWF report reveals staggering extent of human impact on planet

Humanity and the way we feed, fuel and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018.  More


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Last edited: 23 January 2019

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