Professor Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer has been appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican circle of advisors on integral human development. The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is a commission consisting of around 50 members and is committed to the goals of justice and peace. Against a background of violence, economic crises and (climate caused) natural disasters, this office of the Apostolic See seeks to safeguard and extend human rights. Refugees and stateless persons, victims of slavery, torture and natural disasters as well as the socially disadvantaged and those suffering from illness should enjoy full and equal rights. Ottmar Edenhofer is director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and is professor of the economics of climate change at TU Berlin.
Drawing on the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, the Dicastery develops an assessment of and recommendations for action on child labor, exploitation of migrants and human trafficking, the death penalty, disarmament, and environmental damage. The aim is to implement these recommendations at local level via national episcopal conferences. The Dicastery also supports and coordinates initiatives run by Catholic institutions and is involved in discussions with NGOs, governments and international organizations.
Ottmar Edenhofer directed the humanitarian aid organization Jesuit Refugee Service in Croatia and Bosnia during the Yugoslavian conflict of the early 1990s and in his new role will contribute research findings on migration and factors leading to conflict, both exacerbated by climate change. The importance and influence of the findings of climate researchers for the Roman Curia were made clear back in 2015 when Pope Francis published the encyclical “Laudato si’– on care for our common home” focusing on climate and environmental protection.
Ottmar Edenhofer has been director of the PIK since 2018. Prior to this, as deputy director, he headed the research agenda of the “sustainable solutions” research field, which he established in 2007. In winter semester 2008/2009, he was appointed professor of the economics of climate change at TU Berlin, co-financed by the Michael Otto Foundation and the first professorship of its kind in Europe. From 2008 until 2015, Edenhofer was one of the co-chairs of working group III “Mitigation of Climate Change” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was editor of “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change” and the “Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation”. In 2012, he became director of the newly established Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), a position he holds until today.