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New centre uses a system approach to tackle climate crisis

Giant iceberg in Greenland.
Giant iceberg from a melting glacier in Ilulissat on Greenland. Photo: Maridav / Mostphotos
Published Nov 10, 2021

Why hasn’t the climate crisis been met with faster action? In the newly-launched KTH Climate Action Centre, researchers aim to speed up the climate action process by engaging the whole of society.

“The goal is to go beyond research — working together to put knowledge into practice,” says Francesco Fuso-Nerini , director of the KTH Climate Action Centre .

portrait of Karin Larsdotter and Francesco Fuso-Nerini
KTH Climate Action Centre Deputy Director Karin Larsdotter (left) and Director Francesco Fuso-Nerini

The new centre will focus on collaboration. This pertains to KTH researchers and students as well as national and international partners, the private and the public sectors and society in general. The centre’s goal is to present science based measures that could gain broad political and social acceptance and support.

Deputy Director Karin Larsdotter , responsible for the centre’s collaborations, says that open seminars, discussions and networking are fundamental parts of the Climate Action Centre’s operation.

“A social movement gains momentum when evidence-based knowledge and technology are implemented in accordance with society’s needs and values,” Larsdotter says.

The centre’s name stems from the one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (number 13, Climate Action), which addresses the need for urgent action to counteract the climate change and its consequences.

Successful climate policies and sustainability projects need to be viewed holistically, Fuso-Nerini says. Climate policies and projects such as plans to minimize emissions need to be meticulously designed, coordinated with other Sustainable Development Goals and anchored locally.  

“Simultaneously as climate action progresses, it’s important to reach other societal and environmental goals,” Fuso-Nerini says. “For example societies that are dependent on fossil fuel can be heavily impacted by climate reforms and in need of good alternatives for work opportunities and energy resources.”

The centre, which began its operation in August, has already initiated several student projects. One connects students from four different continents to discuss perceptions and solutions to climate change.

More research initiatives are on the way. Fuso-Nerini recently gained attention for authoring an article that argues for adoption of personal carbon trading.

“It would open up for an emission trade between individuals and contribute to more people taking greater climate responsibility,” he says.

With a broad participation of climate-specialised researchers from KTH, the centre hopes to deal with climate action in all parts of the society. Focus is on research themes such as climate actions on a systemic level, net zero emission through a mixture of innovative technology and policies, climate adaptation through greater resilience and civil, private and societal engagement in climate action.  

Where will the KTH Climate Action Centre be in five years?

“By then we’ll offer a wide range of research and engagement activities about climate action. And we’ll have a constellation of partners working together in the transition towards a society with net zero emission,” says Fuso-Nerini.

Christer Gummeson

KTH Climate Action Centre

KTH Climate Action Centre is discussing financial support with several potential donors. Among others, H&M Foundation currently funds the operation.

“KTH Climate Action Centre is an important platform for engaging with decision makers, the business sector, students and the public. A place where we have the opportunity to demonstrate what is possible and consequently inspire change. In order to reach the UN Sustainable Development goals by 2030, and to tackle the acute climate crisis, new types of collaborations are needed and an arena where stakeholders in society and researchers can meet to discuss solutions,” says Diana Amini, Global Manager at H&M Foundation.

The centre has two directors — Francesco Fuso-Nerini with a scientific responsibility and Karin Larsdotter, responsible for collaboration.

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Last changed: Nov 10, 2021