Centre for Sustainability


At the Centre for Sustainability, we explore the design, governance and political economy of climate, energy, and sustainability policy. We adopt an interdisciplinary perspective complementing economics with insights from political sciences and engineering, and combine theoretical, empirical and model-based analyses. We conduct third-party funded research projects (e.g. federal ministries, EU Commission) with partners across Europe. Our goal is to deliver evidence-based solutions for policymaking by evaluating existing policies and by analysing policy design options, e.g. for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions.


Climate policy   

Climate change is a major threat to global economic and social stability. The global transition to net zero emissions required for stabilising the global climate system introduces novel challenges for public policymaking across all levels of governance. At the same time, climate policy offers an entry point to broader sustainability transitions enhancing human well-being, e.g. via improved public health, social equity, and global cooperation. We explore design options for effective, efficient and equitable climate policy instrument mixes and institutions for climate change governance. This includes broader considerations of public opinion and political economy dynamics.

Our main current project is ARIADNE, a research project generating practically relevant advice on governance and policy options for a successful transition to a net zero emissions society in Germany and Europe. We cooperate with leading research teams and expert stakeholders to analyse climate policy instruments mixes, to evaluate to effectiveness of institutions for climate governance, and to investigate how the Germany energy transition interacts with the international policy context.

Recent publications on climate policy



Energy policy

The energy system, fuelled by fossil resources, is at the heart of the climate problem. At the same time, the seamless supply of energy is crucial for the functioning of our economies and societies. Our research explores the economics of renewable energy, electricity markets, and energy system modelling. Combining theoretical analysis of incentives and market design with statistical and numerical optimization methods, we strive to inform and shape the global, European, and German energy transition.

We currently run two multi-annual third-party finance projects. The project MODEX-POLINS is a model-comparison exercise of electricity system models. SENTINEL is a large-scale EU project to improve quality, transparency, and policy relevance of energy system modelling. In both projects, we use our power market model EMMA.

Recent publications on energy policy



Further sustainability research at the Hertie School

Affiliated faculty and researchers complement our work on climate and energy policy with their research, e.g. on employing data science for sustainability, public health, the sustainability of public health systems, organizational sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and international policy coordination.

Recent publications on sustainability research at the Hertie School