International Climate Protection Fellows 2012/2013

International Climate Protection Fellowship: Information about the fellowship and on how to apply 

Richard Arthur

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Bio-Processing Technology and Engineering | Affiliation at the time of application: Koforidua Polytechnic, Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Koforidua, Ghana | Host institution in Germany: Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Research Focus Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering | Host: Prof. Dr. Paul Scherer

Knowledge and technology transfer of biogas systems for environmental protection – Increasing the efficiency of biogas reactors by trace elements

Ghana, a developing but stable country, relies heavily on wood fuel which accounts for 72% of its source of fuel, with crude oil and hydro-energy making up the rest. About 90% of wood fuels used in Ghana are obtained from the natural forest. Biogas production from renewable sources has recently attracted a great deal of attention, particularly in Europe and Africa, because it generates energy for cooking or electricity and provides a valuable fertilizer. Richard Arthur hopes to learn about best practices regarding the analysis and optimisation of management processes, feedstock use and biogas yield in the German biogas industry. Additionally, Arthur will study the design of simple, robust and efficient biogas system designs and adapt them to African conditions. It is expected that using optimised procedures on biogas systems will effectively reduce emissions from livestock manure and lessen over-reliance on wood fuel to ensure forest conservation and climate protection.

Evelyn Asante-Yeboah

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Forestry, Forest Science | Affiliation at the time of application: Ghana Timber Millers Organisation, Kumasi, Ghana | Host institution in Germany: Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Environmental Sciences | Host: Prof. Dr. Franz Makeschin

Dealing with vulnerability of the agriculture sector to climate change impacts in Ghana: on-farm tree management, an adaptation strategy

Agriculture vulnerability is prominent in Africa, and Ghana is no exception because the majority of producers are small-scale farmers dependent on seasonal rains with limited economic alternatives to agriculture. The off-reserves/agricultural farms in the high forest zone of Ghana have a substantial proportion of timber trees which are controlled by the government. The farmers do not benefit from harvesting the trees and this has led to poor tree management on agricultural farms. Coupled with continuous cropping on the same piece of land this has resulted in decreased soil fertility, low crop yield and increased agricultural vulnerability. Evelyn Asante-Yeboah wants to learn about integrated (multi- and trans-disciplinary) approaches in solving agricultural vulnerabilities of global concern. She hopes to strengthen collaboration between research institutions in Germany and her home institution. The project is expected to improve household resilience to climate change impacts and to contribute to resource conservation and climate protection.

Yolanda Karina Cáceres Castellanos

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Plant Ecology | Affiliation at the time of application: Los Andes University, Institute of Environmental and Ecological Sciences, Merida, Venezuela | Host institution in Germany: University of Tübingen, Institute of Evolution and Ecology | Host: Prof. Dr. Katja Tielbörger

Developing a conceptual approach to assess the role of shared pollination on plant biodiversity in fragmented landscapes – Lessons from European grasslands to the Tropical Andes

Considering plant-pollinator interactions as one of the crucial processes that mediate the response of ecosystems to drivers (natural and anthropogenic) of environmental change, Yolanda Cáceres proposes to develop a theoretical and experimental investigation directed at understanding how shared pollination services are significantly affected by community attributes and habitat fragmentation.
Working with German partners in acquiring new methodological and analytical tools will help her to generate comparable data and adjust fundamental theoretical conclusions, which will then be tested in tropical Andean ecosystems where lack of knowledge about the functional dynamics of these unique environments still hinders the generation of robust predictions regarding the effects of climate change. This project aims to fill this gap by shedding light on the role of pollination services in shaping plant communities as well as to provide simple predictions that may be used to improve management and conservation.

Simeon Hengari

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Plant Nutrition, Plant Physiology | Affiliation at the time of application: Windhoek Research and Data Analysis Consultants, Windhoek, Namibia and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa | Host institution in Germany: Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben | Host: Dr. Benjamin Kilian

Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on drought stress tolerance of barley

Barley grows under diverse environmental conditions globally. There is currently interest in growing barley under irrigation in Namibia. However, climate prediction models show that Namibia is becoming more arid due to climate change. Therefore, an increase in irrigated cultivation will increase pressure on shrinking water resources. Arbuscular myccorhizal (AM) fungi can reduce water stress in barley, though the underlying genetic base of this effect is still poorly understood. Simeon Hengari will analyse the phenotypic variation in response to different AM fungi treatments in a diverse set of barley cultivars in relation to drought tolerance under greenhouse conditions in Germany. Genome-wide association studies will be performed to detect candidate genes/regions for the phenotypic traits studied. Barley cultivars that respond well to the AM fungal treatment will also be selected for future field trials in Namibia.

Ana Karol

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Sociology | Affiliation at the time of application: Fundación para el Desarrollo en Justicia y Paz (FUNDAPAZ), Chaco Region, Argentina | Host institution in Germany: University of Freiburg, Chair of Silviculture | Host: Dr. Benno Pokorny

Learning for adaptation to climate change: analysis of adaptation strategies of smallholders in the Argentinean Chaco forests as a basis for effective mobilisation of local potential in sustainable natural resources management

Climate change principally affects local people. This situation is particularly visible in the Chaco Region, which is a very challenging environment since it is a very dry area that presents extreme temperatures and erratic water availability. Moreover, the expansion of soybean cultivation and the introduction of intensive cattle farming are transforming the landscape and are provoking land struggles with external actors and within local communities. Ana Karol wants to learn about the way local people are responding to change and challenges and the underlying drivers (internal and external factors) in order to define more accurate ways of supporting them in reducing vulnerability and consolidating local livelihoods as well as in promoting and effectively mobilising local potential to face climate change.

Trevor McIntyre

Degree: Ph.D. | Field: Animal Ecology and Behavioural Ecology | Affiliation at the time of application: University of Pretoria, Mammal Research Institute, South Africa | Host institution in Germany: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven | Host: Dr. Claudio Richter

Climate influences on the at-sea behaviour of a marine predator

Southern elephant seals are Southern Ocean predators that spend more than 80% of their lives at sea, diving to depths that can exceed 2,000 m. They are suitable indicator species of underlying ecological conditions, given their large size, resource requirements and widespread occurrence. Seals from Marion Island increase their dive depths, and spend less time at targeted dive depths when swimming in warmer water, probably due to changes in prey distribution. Such adaptations are likely to result in increased physiological costs associated with foraging under warming climatic conditions. Trevor McIntyre aims to further investigate behavioural responses of elephant seals to changes in their environment associated with predicted climate changes, and couple measures of foraging success and foraging strategies with the overall fitness of seals. Such analyses will help clarify the likely responses of an indicator predator species to expected environmental changes associated with ocean warming.

Luis Felipe Melgarejo Pérez

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Political Science, Politics | Affiliation at the time of application: Universidad Externado de Colombia, Faculty of Finances, Government and International Relations, Bogotá, Colombia | Host institution in Germany: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Geography Department | Host: Prof. Dr. Tobia Lakes

Regional governance of climatic hazards in developing countries: social infrastructure, spatial analysis and planning appraisal during the 2010–2011 Colombian mass floods

In response to studies on climate change impacts and scenarios (i.e. IPCC 2007), regions with high exposure to hydrometeorological disasters have begun to formulate strategies for risk mitigation. The last decade has proved that extreme climate events are increasingly overcoming regional and national disaster-recovery systems in developing countries. Adaptation development programmes and the experiences of organised communities and local governments in flood-prone regions in Colombia will be used in this research for studying the planning appraisal and roles that social infrastructure had during crises and recovery. Luis Felipe Melgarejo Pérez strives to develop a social infrastructure planning and regional assessment framework to provide alternatives for temporary emergency shelter services. Climate-planning integrative analyses of social infrastructure for purposes of disaster prevention facilitate the formulation of risk-oriented and regional adaptation plans.

Allan Mubiru

Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration | Field: Commodity Economics, Merchandise Technology | Affiliation at the time of application: Uganda Carbon Bureau Ltd., Lubowa Estate, Kampala, Uganda | Host institution in Germany: atmosfair, Berlin | Host: Xaver Kitzinger

Fostering access to energy efficiency technologies for low-income households through microfinance and carbon finance

Energy efficiency technologies are part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging sustainable development. However, their poor distribution and financing methods are still one of the top reasons hindering access for low-income households. Enhancing access to such products as Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) will bring wood consumption down to sustainable levels to allow natural recovery of forests and reforestation to take place. This will also curb indoor air pollution and its harmful health consequences and reduce household fuel and medical bills. Focusing on atmosfair’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Rwanda and Nigeria, Allan Mubiru will study the opportunities and assess the feasibility of linking carbon finance as an external source of funding with microfinance as a supportive distribution mechanism to create access to ICS for low-income households. The study will generate a greater understanding of the viability of this linking approach plus the ability to adopt it across Africa.

Ngo Thi To Nhien

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Energy Engineering, Energy Technology, Power Engineering | Affiliation at the time of application: Ministry of Science and Technology, National Centre for Technology Progress, Hanoi, Vietnam | Host institution in Germany: Universität Hamburg, Institute of Geography | Host: Dr. Michael Waibel

Energy efficiency governance towards sustainable urban development in Vietnam

Like other emerging countries in the world, Vietnam is facing a dilemma: economic development and energy security. This is even more challenging against the background of global climate change, because Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries. Improving energy efficiency by both adaption and mitigation measures could be a critical response to pressing climate change risks. More efficient energy use could also help Vietnam to maintain its dynamic economic growth, secure its energy balance as well as slow down the process of resource depletion. Ngo Thi To Nhien will conduct the case studies on good-practice examples in Europe related to the policy field of energy efficiency and their specific governance with a focus on buildings and sustainable urban development. Consequently, a set of pragmatic guidelines helping policy makers in Vietnam to increase energy efficiency will be developed. All this will contribute to a comprehensive framework of energy efficiency governance, which is understood normatively as the ideal combination of legislative framework, economic incentives as well as institutional arrangements and coordination mechanisms. In this way, energy efficiency governance will decrease prevalent implementation gaps and support the successful implementation of energy efficiency strategies, policies and programmes in urban Vietnam.

Mercy Ojoyi

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Geography | Affiliation at the time of application: National Museums of Kenya, Centre for Biodiversity | Host institution in Germany: Bonn University, Department of Geography | Host: Prof. Dr. Gunter Menz

Regional-to-local impacts of climate change on biodiversity in East Africa using remote sensing techniques

Mercy Ojoyi aims at analysing regional-to-local effects of climate dynamics on biodiversity in East Africa using remote sensing techniques. The project basically applies remotely sensed data to assess the effects of landscape and habitat fragmentation on biophysical and biological processes of the ecosystem, monitor the impacts on biodiversity and develop model-based conservation scenarios. High-resolution satellite datasets (in space and time) will be analysed to understand how fragmentation has evolved over the years by the calculation of different change detection methods based on vegetation indices, e.g. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as proxies. Regression analysis will be used to determine the relationship between species richness, variation in reflectance values of key species and the overall weighted vegetation abundance. Through realistic combinations of environmental and climate input variables into VENSIM (simulation software), Ojoyi aims to achieve a better understanding of system behaviour changes in response to the coupled social-ecological factors and to create plausible scenarios of future biodiversity patterns and for conservation planning.

Moliehi Shale

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Human Geography, Social Geography | Affiliation at the time of application: University of Cape Town, Centre of Criminology, South Africa | Host institution in Germany: Freie Universität Berlin, Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science | Host: Dr. Gregor Walter-Drop

Climate risk governance in areas of limited statehood: the case of informal insurance in poor, urban South Africa

Climate change impacts pose challenges to the urban poor in the city of Cape Town, South Africa’s informal sector. The coping mechanisms in informal settlement areas are often inadequate due to weak state capacity to provide support to deal with recurring risks such as flooding. Flood hazard is especially common here, yet little is mentioned in the literature on how the poor manage it. Moliehi Shale will use the governance in areas of limited statehood framework to explore how the poor regulate the flood hazard in the absence of state assistance. The framework has been used in comparative politics to understand the diffusion of European ideas of governance and policies within and outside the EU. The project explores the applicability of the framework in an emerging economy context. Shale aims to contribute to the theoretical framework and anticipates that her work will have policy relevance in the areas of micro-insurance, climate change adaptation and governance in emerging economies.

Hortensia Solis

Degree: Bachelor of Science | Field: Agriculture, Agricultural Science | Affiliation at the time of application:, Costa Rica | Host institution in Germany: Ecofys, Köln | Host: Gesine Hänsel

Designing an MRV framework, developing its key components and determining their costs for use in a Costa Rican coffee sector NAMA

Measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of emission reductions is a key barrier for financing mitigation actions in agriculture. For many developing countries, addressing emissions from agriculture is central to low-carbon development strategies. For example, Costa Rica will need to deliver meaningful reductions in its agriculture sector (~40% of national emissions) to achieve its carbon neutrality goal by 2021. Costa Rica’s coffee industry has proposed to reduce emissions via a sector-specific Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA). The aim of this project is to develop an MRV framework for emission reduction activities in coffee producing countries. Hortensia Solis will conduct research with Ecofys to define and develop key components of the MRV process, develop protocols that Costa Rican coffee farmers can use in their emissions reduction activities, and determine the costs of implementing different MRV options. She will author an MRV guide in consultation with technical experts and political leaders in Germany (financing country) and Costa Rica (implementing country).

Sonny Syahril

Degree: Master of Science | Field: National Economics | Affiliation at the time of application: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Decentralization as Contribution to Good Governance (DeCGG), Fiscal Decentralization Component, Jakarta, Indonesia | Host institution in Germany: University of Potsdam, Chair of International Politics | Host: Prof. Dr. Harald Fuhr

In search of design for financing climate change mitigation in decentralised Indonesia

After COP 15 in 2009, developed countries pledged to provide significant financial support to developing countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Developing countries have also shown increasing commitment to undertaking mitigation. Due to the decentralised governance structure in most developing countries, local governments and stakeholders will play a major role. From this perspective, developing countries need to create an intergovernmental fiscal transfer (IGFT) mechanism for channeling funds as an incentive to implement mitigation at local level. IGFT is only one part of the overall policy platform, and in order to enhance greenhouse gas emission reduction, certain environmental tax policies could also be introduced to induce a change in behaviour and ensure sustainability. Sonny Syahril seeks to develop a suitable design for IGFT and environmental tax policies to support climate change mitigation in developing countries, using Indonesia as a case study.

Erica Udas

Degree: Master of Science | Field: Forestry, Forest Science | Affiliation at the time of application: Living Himalayas Global Initiatives, WWF Nepal | Host institution in Germany: University of Greifswald, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology | Host: Prof. Dr. Martin Wilmking

Towards carbon neutrality – A way to bring sustainability into research and education

By 2015/2016, Greifswald University is striving to become carbon neutral by I) carbon footprint reduction; II) carbon trade-off and III) sustainability in university teaching and daily practice.The current research is a part of the ‘Carbon Neutral University Project’ and focuses on compensating for the university’s unavoidable emissions. In this project, Erica Udas wishes to understand the implications of different forest management practices for enhancing carbon sink potential, largely on forested university land. Carbon balances of "business as usual" and project scenarios will be measured and forest growth models will be used for modelling forest carbon sequestration. Parameters like the ‘additionality’ of the project, the potentiality of ‘leakage’ effects and ‘permanence’ will be analysed for project sustainability. Udas will also study the methods for carbon footprint calculation and its reduction measures, and apply the Greifswald approach to work with university staff and students at home. Based on the German example, a similar or modified forest growth model could be developed for policy recommendation in Nepal, so that the country could benefit from global carbon marketing and trading. Similarly, mainstreaming academic (Institute of Forestry) and community institutions (Community Forest User Groups) would be an added value while buy-in from Nepalese industries and the private sector could lead to voluntary carbon emission reduction.

María Andrea Vásquez Castillo

Degree: Master of Arts | Field: Mechatronic Engineering | Affiliation at the time of application: Universidad Nacional de Ingeniera, Renewable Energies Center, Lima, Peru | Host institution in Germany: Technische Universität Dresden, Institute of Building Climatology | Host: Prof. Dr.-Ing. John Grunewald

Adaptation of traditional rural building techniques motivated by climate change: application of passive house design elements to rural housing in the cold highlands of the Peruvian Andes

María Andrea Vásquez Castillo aims at obtaining better thermal comfort inside rural homes by using local materials, labour and the best viable construction techniques based on existing experience in the Andean zone (between 3,000 and 5,000 metres above sea level). As a new element in this concept, renewable energy sources – mainly on the basis of solar radiation – will be integrated. The core concept of this research is based on passive house design analysis with components specially adapted due to climate change. The method being used is the analysis of time-dependent thermal processes employing energy simulation software for designing greenhouses and skylights attached to rural homes with typical dimensions. Parameter variations and sensitivity analysis are included. The model will be validated by comparing the simulation results with monitoring results from the thermal diagnosis of test houses.

Yvonne Waweru

Degree: Postgraduate Diploma | Field: Political Science, Politics | Affiliation at the time of application: Greenic East Africa Ltd., Nairobi, Kenya | Host institution in Germany: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. (IASS), Potsdam and RENAC Renewables Academy AG, Berlin | Hosts: Dr. Dr. Mario Tobias and Berthold Breid

Best practices in grid-connected renewable energy: insights from Germany, Kenya and Israel

Climate change is a complex global problem which, although environmental in nature, impacts or is impacted by many and varied issues. Yvonne Waweru focuses on renewable energy supply as an option to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and specifically relates to grid-connected electricity from renewable sources. The growth of electricity demand worldwide is an attractive energy vector to harness renewable energy where adequate network infrastructure is available and viable alternative energy projects could offset the construction of more fossil-fuel-fired power plants, thus reducing further GHG production. However, integration of renewable energy into any electrical power system poses a number of challenges as there are serious barriers especially for developing countries. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate initiatives or activities that most effectively contribute to the generation of electricity from renewable sources including, but not limited to, policies, technologies, financing and regulation. Ms Waweru will explore the vast experience of Germany and Israel in grid-connected renewable energy in a comparative context with Kenya, identify barriers and establish best practices on policies, technologies, financing, implementation, and supervision (both conceptual and currently implemented) that have been effective in the deployment of grid-connected renewable energy.


Responsible for the contents: Dr Judith Schildt (Humboldt Foundation) and the fellows