Press release 91/23 - 29.11.2023

Augsburg researchers at the UN climate conference COP28

Five researchers from the University of Augsburg are participating in the UN climate conference held in Dubai from the 30th of November to the 12th of December and will be available for media interviews.

A key focus of COP28 will be taking stock of the existing measures of individual countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The implementation of pledged contributions by industrial countries to climate financing is also on the agenda. Researchers at the Centre for Climate Resilience at the University of Augsburg are attending the conference, observing negotiations from a research-orientated perspective.  
Rafael Henrique

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and universities send delegates to the UN climate conference to observe and analyse the progress made through negotiations. Following a comprehensive application process, the Centre for Climate Resilience at the University of Augsburg is participating in the conference with official observer status for the first time.

At the top of the climate conference agenda is a global stocktake. It aims to assess the extent to which the contributions of individual countries to mitigating climate change are sufficient for limiting the increase in global average temperature to between 1.5 and 2°C. While it is clear that current efforts are insufficient, but what remains disputed is who has to make a greater effort: all counties or only a specific few? What role can the German initiative to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030 play?
Another area of contention is the financing of climate protection and adaptation. The industrialised countries wanted to transfer $100 billion annually to developing countries between 2020 and 2025. Yet this target has failed to eventualise each year since 2020. Due to a pledge made by Canada and the bringing forward of payments by Germany, it appears as though this target could be in reach for the first time this year.

The implementation of the loss and damage fund for non-preventable consequences of climate change, agreed on in Sharm El-Sheik last year, is also on the agenda. So far, this fund remains an empty pot that needs to be filled and operationalised in Dubai.

Augsburg expertise in Dubai

These and other questions will be addressed by researchers at the University of Augsburg based on their respective expertise.

Green hydrogen: Prof. Angela Oels, professor of political science with a focus on climate policy, is hosting a side event on the topic of green hydrogen for the Deutsches Klima-Konsortium on Monday the 4th of December 2023 at 15:00 pm. She will open the event in her position as deputy chair of the Deutschen Klima-Konsortium. In cooperation with Forschungszentrum Jülich, the University of Newcastle, and several African partners, the side event will explore under what conditions a green hydrogen partnership between Europe and Africa could be sustainable.
The loss and damage fund: Prof. Angela Oels and her research assistant Marie Fischer are conducting empirical research on how losses and damages caused by climate change are being discursively negotiated at the international level and how this affects the design of the new loss and damage fund. Both researchers will be conducting interviews with negotiators and NGOs and observing the negotiations at COP28. Marie Fischer is particularly interested in how international climate negotiations are related to implementation at national and local levels.
The role of religions in climate justice: Prof. Elisabeth Naurath, professor of protestant theology with a focus on religious pedagogy and education, emphasises the relevance of religions to shaping the mentality behind environmental-ethical goals and climate justice. It is the first time that religions and interreligious networks have come into focus as important actors in changing awareness at the societal level.   

Sustainable finance: Prof. Marco Wilkens, chair of finance and banking, is working on various questions to do with sustainable finance. At COP28, he will be collaborating with the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), among others. Other topics to be addressed include impact investing and, more generally, the mobilisation of private capital to tackle climate change.
Resilience in Africa: Prof. Harald Kunstmann, chair of regional climate and hydrology, is co-organiser of the side event “Early warning, income diversification & food system transformation for resilience building in Africa,” which will take place on the 11th of December 2023. He will present the newest methods for improved forecasting of heatwaves and droughts using Artificial Intelligence and will explore the possibilities for their transfer into practice. 

The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to promote climate protection at the global level and support poor countries in adapting to the negative effects of climate change. Following a successful application by the Centre for Climate Resilience, the University of Augsburg has been granted provisional observer status, which enables three researchers from Augsburg to participate in the conference. Other researchers are on site due to partner organisations.

About the researchers

Marie Fischer is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the chair of political science with a focus on climate policy at the Centre for Climate Resilience. In her doctorate, she is researching discursive negotiation as it applies to addressing climate-related damages and losses. Her research interests have taken her to Costa Rica, where she explored resistance to dominate governance at the national and local levels, as well as to COP28. Fischer graduated in 2022 with a master’s degree in environmental ethics at the University of Augsburg. Since 2022, she has contributed an interdisciplinary perspective to addressing ecological questions at the Centre for Climate Resilience.   
Prof. Harald Kunstmann completed his doctorate after studying physics at ETH Zürich and the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In his view, the biggest social challenges are tackling poverty and achieving sustainable development, which is why he completed a postgraduate course on developing countries while completing his doctorate in Zürich. In 1999, he began a postdoc at the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Environmental Research (KIT/IMK-IFU) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where he established a hydrology research group. In 2004, alongside leading the research group, he took over responsibility for the regional climate systems department. In 2009, following the Jülicher model, he was appointed to the newly created chair of regional climate and hydrology at the University of Augsburg together with KIT, where part of his research group is still based. Since 2015, he has been the deputy director of the KIT Alpin Campus and since 2021 the founding director of the Centre for Climate Resilience at the University of Augsburg. In 2021, he was awarded the water resources prize of the Rüdiger Kurt Bode Stiftung, which is renumerated with €100,000.

Prof. Elisabeth Naurath is a theologian and religious education teacher. Since 2013, she has been professor of protestant theology with a focus on religious pedagogy and education at the University of Augsburg, where her focus is on peace and interreligious education. She founded the Friedenspädagogische Zentrum für interreligiöse Bildung and is involved in various interdisciplinary committees and interreligious organisations. She is a member of the international non-government organisation Religions for Peace (RfP). In March 2021, she was elected chair of RfP Germany. She has been working on religious education for sustainable development for several years and is the project leader of the Erasmus+ funded project “Climate protection, climate resilience, and climate justice in the education of religious education teachers in Germany, Austria, Spain, Albania, and Malaysia.”
Prof. Angela Oels has held the chair of political science with a focus on climate policy since April 2022 at the newly founded interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Resilience at the University of Augsburg. Since April 2023, she has been deputy chair of the Deutschen Klima-Konsortiums (DKK), the largest network of researchers in Germany working on climate and climate change-related consequences. Oels made a name for herself as a discourse researcher and co-founder of climate governmentality studies. She completed her doctorate in 2001 at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in England and received her habilitation in 2016 in political science at the University of Hamburg. In 2015, Oels was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship from the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond in combination with a visiting one-year professorship at Lund University. From 2016 to 2019, she was junior professor for environmental governance at the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands. Her current research focuses on UN climate negotiations around damages and losses.

Prof. Marco Wilkens has held the chair of finance and banking at the University of Augsburg since 2010. He previously held positions at the universities of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Göttingen, and Hamburg. He is a founding member of the Centre for Climate Resilience and the Sustainable Finance Research Platform. He also works for the Sustainable Finance Advisory Committee of the Federal German government. For the last ten years, his research has been focused on capital markets, financial products, such as investment funds, financial market risks, and financial market regulation, primarily in connection with sustainability.  


Wissenschaftlicher Kontakt

Chair Holder
Regional Climate and Hydrology
Faculty of Business and Economics
Religionspädagogik & Didaktik des Religionsunterrichts
Political Science with a specialization in climate politics
wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Political Science with a specialization in climate politics
Dr. Clemens Heuson
Managing Director
Centre for Climate Resilience


Michael Hallermayer
Deputy Media Officer
Communications and Media Relations