Showing articles associated with Karsten Haustein

Karsten Haustein is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute (School of Geography and the Environment).

Main area(s) of interest/expertise

I am working on the World Weather Attribution project, which aims at quantifying the role that anthropogenic climate change plays in extreme weather events. In essence, we are addressing the questions whether heat waves, floods, droughts or hurricanes have become more (or less) commonplace compared to past climates in response to human interference with the climate. Beyond extreme weather, my research interests are in climate variability and sensitivity as well as the impacts of pollution on climate and health. I joined ECI in 2014 and helped conducting several rapid attribution studies that garnered considerable media attention.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

Oxford is generally a hugely inspiring place to work and conduct research. The department of the Geography and the Environment in particular offers an amazingly wide range of research topics across various fields and disciplines, opening up the space for creative thinking as well as to foster collaborations at many levels. Working in the field of climate sciences, cross-departmental exchange with the Atmospheric Ocean and Planetary Physics department has been equally fruitful given not only the spatial proximity. In terms of environmental research, there couldn’t be a better place than Oxford’s Geography department to propel climate impact studies to a new level in order to address the societal challenges ahead.

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

I’m afraid there isn’t just one challenge. We are at a point in time where we have to realise that our traditional political and economical coping mechanisms might not provide the leverage we need to deal with the current climate crisis. A crisis that comes with a host of challenges and risks that needs to be tackled Given the urgency of the situation, I believe we have to rethink our current societal model and perhaps renegotiate fundamental aspects of how we want to live together. Only then will we be able to shape a sustainable future, ensuring that we do not continue to exploit resources at the expense of the systematic health of our planet and ourselves.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?

I am optimistic insofar as humankind has proven more than once that we are able to rise to the challenges we have ahead. Let’s not forgot, progress has been made on so many fronts over the course of the last few decades, despite the many remaining problems, let alone the setbacks associated with far-right populism in many countries. Yet the powerful movement of Fridays for Future has given plenty of hope that there is not just a young generation that is willing to act. Almost everyone who works in the field of environmental change is alarmed and ready to fight and act. Things can change rapidly and I am certainly hopeful that the next few years will bring us closer to where we need to be.

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Karsten Haustein