Thursday, 30.09.2021 | 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm CEST | Online

Watch the inaugural event of the Centre for Sustainability, a hub for teaching, research, and policy analysis. A focus of our work is the global transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  

On Thursday, 30 September, we invited members of our community to participate in a debate on the challenges and opportunities of 1.5°C stabilisation for Europe and Germany against the backdrop of the EU Commission’s Fit-for-55 package proposal and the tasks ahead of the new German government.  

Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, provided keynote remarks followed by perspectives from Jakob von Weizsäcker, Chief economist and Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Global Economy at the German Federal Ministry of Finance and Jesse Scott, the Director of International Programme at Agora Energiewende.  

Christian Flachsland, Director of the Centre for Sustainability, moderated the discussion.

This event was be hosted in a hybrid format, with a limited number of guests at the Hertie School.


Dr. Fatih Birol has served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency since 2015. Under his leadership, the IEA has moved to the forefront of global efforts to reach international climate goals while ensuring that the social and economic impacts of clean energy transitions are at the heart of policy-making and energy security is safeguarded. Dr. Birol has led the IEA in its first comprehensive modernisation programme since its creation in 1974 by “opening its doors” to major emerging economies, making it the global hub for clean energy transitions and broadening its energy security mandate.

Jakob von Weizsäcker was appointed as Chief economist and Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Global Economy at the German Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany in early 2019. From 2014 to 2019, he served as Member of the European Parliament for Thuringia (Germany), both as a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Parliament's Delegation for the Relations with India. Previously, he worked - among others - at the Ministry for Economic Affairs of Thuringia, the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, the World Bank and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs.

Jesse Scott is the International Director at think tank Agora Energiewende. She leads Agora’s work on the energy transition beyond Europe in major and emerging economies, including energy systems research projects, collaborations with a global network of think tanks, and political strategy. Before joining Agora in February 2019, Jesse worked at the International Energy Agency in Paris where she was a lead author of the Agency’s pathbreaking report on the opportunities and risks of digitalizing the energy system. Prior to that, she worked for fifteen years in Brussels on European Union energy and climate policy-making, for the electricity sector association Eurelectric and as organiser of cross-sector advocacy to strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System from 2011 to 2014. Jesse teaches at the Hertie School in Berlin and at Edinburgh University in Scotland. She is also an advisor to the World Economic Forum, the Climate Bonds Initiative, and the Florence School of Regulation.


Christian Flachsland is Professor of Sustainability at the Hertie School and Director of the School's Centre for Sustainability. He is also a Research Fellow at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), where he previously worked as a group leader. His research focuses on the design, governance and political economy of climate, energy and sustainability policy. He co-coordinates the research on governance in the Kopernikus-Ariadne project, a major research consortium assessing climate policy options for Germany and Europe, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). He was a contributing author to the 5th Assessment Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change by the IPCC.

This event is hosted in cooperation with the Centre for Sustainability