‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ or short ‘MOPGA’ is a French and German research initative that aims to better understand climate change and its impacts on natural and socio-economic systems. It started when the impacts of human influence on the climate system were recognized, and informed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) experts, in 2015, at the COP21 meeting in Paris, a major agreement was achieved in order to curb man-made climate change. In the Paris agreement, 195 countries pledged to stop global warming from reaching 2oC above the pre-industrial levels.

Shortly after, the USA, one of the biggest CO2 emissions contributor, decided to withdraw from the agreement and thus inspired the creation of a research initiative “Make our Planet Great Again” in France, and later Germany. The “Make Our Planet Great Again” international research initiative (funded by the Secrétariat Général Pour l’Investissement (SGPI) and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)), was established in 2017, and 55 research projects in both countries were funded. The projects are divided into three main themes to wholesomely tackle all the aspects necessary to mitigate and adapt to the challenges brought on by the man-made climate change:

      • functioning of the Earth system,
      • climate change,
      • and energy transition.

Their main objective is to, in an interconnected and interdisciplinary manner, address the questions of global health, food, water, and energy and offer solutions and strategies to keep the wellbeing of the society under the future global warming scenarios.

These are the projects that are currently underway all across Germany:

Earth system functioning:

Systems and processes which shape life on Earth, such as mass and energy flows, are impacted by climate-related changes. Changing their functioning and interaction might lead to the development and/or exacerbation of various natural risks, or go as far as to reach the tipping points in global systems like thermohaline circulation which could change life as we know it on our planet. For these reasons, it is of utmost importance to conduct basic research to understand the functioning of the Earth system better, as well as to use available methods to reconstruct and learn about the Earth’s history.

  • Plankton and productivity during the Palaeogene in the polar region (DE: Plankton und Produktivität während des Paläogens in der Polarregion)
  • Genomics and Epigenomics of Plant Invasion
  • The Ocean’s Alkalinity: Connecting geological and metabolic processes and time-scales
  • Witnesses to the Climate Emergency: Ocean acidification crisis and global warming observations from tropical corals (OASIS)

Climate change research:

Climate change is something we can’t avoid anymore and now we need toA learn how to live with it – by adapting to it and mitigating it. Climate research helps us understand better the changes our ecosystems are going through, as well as how they could progress in the future under various scenarios of global warming using modeling for example. By enhanced observation of the Earth system and its improved modeling, the predictability of our future becomes better, including the impacts on societies, development of extreme weather events, future food security, and more.

  • Feedback between land cover, land use and climate in the alternating humid tropics (DE: Rückkopplungen zwischen Landbedeckung, Landnutzung und Klima in den wechselfeuchten Tropen (MONSOON))
  • Organisation and Cloud-Radiative Properties of Low-Level Mixed-Phase Clouds
  • Climate change, reactive nitrogen, denitrification and N2O: Identifying sustainable solutions for the globe
  • Particles in Aerosol Cloud Interactions: Stratification, CCN/INP concentrations, and Cloud Lifecycle (PACIFIC)

Energy transition:

The best time for an energy transition to sustainable sources was ages ago, but the second-best time is today! This research focuses on new solutions and advancement of existing ones, in order to provide reliable sources of renewable energy. This includes the development and testing of new materials for generation, storage and distribution of renewable energy under varying scenarios of different societal challenges around the globe, such as successful energy transition in developing countries.

  • Amorphous crystal junction: A new class of photochemical semiconductors with high activity and economy (DE: Amorpher Kristallübergang: Eine neue Klasse von photochemischen Halbleitern mit hoher Aktivität und Wirtschaftlichkeit)
  • Low Carbon Transition in Developing Countries: How To Ensure Energy Justice?
  • Nanocomposites and Materials for Energy Solutions
  • Lateral multi-junctions of 2-D transition metal dichalcogenides as optoelectronic platform for transparent photovoltaics
  • Quantifying Ultrafast non-Equilibrium dynamicS in semicon-ducTor quantum nanomaterials for nExt geNEration eneRGY Materials – QUESTforENERGY

MOPGA Kickoff Meeting

Photo credit: @AKENIUM

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