Climate engineering measures can be divided into two groups: those intended to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide and those intended to alter the Earth’s solar radiation balance.
Climate engineering measures can be divided into two groups: those intended to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide and those intended to alter the Earth’s solar radiation balance. IASS

Headline: Planetary Geopolitics and Geoengineering

How do "planetary" interventions reorder collective life? How do prevailing political structures and sensibilities shape technoscientific conceptions of the "planet," and of what it means to "do something" about it? Our group focuses on modes of knowledge and action that today constitute a distinctively "planetary" geopolitics and analyzes the challenge they pose to familiar categories of modern scientific and political reason: representation and intervention, necessity and contingency, action and inaction, certainty and indeterminacy. The group uses ethnographic and historical research methods and draws on concepts from science and technology studies, cultural anthropology, ordinary language philosophy, political economy, and political theory to characterize how forms of collective life are taking shape-and coming apart-with the ascent of the "planetary" in science and politics.

Research projects conducted within the group include investigations of carbon dioxide removal technologies in Germany and the EU; of ocean-based negative emission technologies; of the politics of skepticism and distrust in Germany and the US; of geoscience and geopolitics in the post-Cold War; of experimental regimes of corporate petrocapitalism; and of the relationship between planetary science, social theory, and art. The group's work includes the transdisciplinary Climate Engineering in Context conference series as well as regular events that bring together scholars, scientists, artists, and others interested in the possibilities and impossibilities of collective life in an era sculpted by the science and technology of planetary environmental management.


The Global Mollusc - Environmental Design and Cultures of Extraction

In the present moment of looming planetary crises, unexpected elements begin to emerge as salves or solutions. Among these are the bivalves of 'Phylum Mollusca' (oysters, mussels, clams and scallops). In this cross-disciplinary research group we investigate the transformative potential of these invertebrates. This research covers various aspects including environmental protection and design, paleoclimates, water purification, food source, aesthetics, and ecology.

Governance, Policy and International Legal Dimensions of Ocean-based Negative Emission Technologies

Negative emission technologies for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere could offer an opportunity to limit global warming and meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. But many uncertainties about the feasibility and impacts of these technologies remain. The EU-funded OceanNETs project aims to provide critical new insights into ocean-based negative emission technologies. Within OceanNETs, RIFS will contribute to the assessment of governance, policy and legal dimensions.

CO2 Removal Synthesis and Transfer Project (CDRSynTra)

Decisions related to Germany's goal of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045 can only be made with a deeper understanding of the different methods and technologies used for carbon dioxide removal. To this end, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has launched a research programme on atmospheric carbon dioxide removal. RIFS is part of the interdisciplinary research consortium.

Completed Projects

read more