Climate, climate change, paleoclimate, environmental change, earth resources, sustainability, energy, social change, biomaterials, bioeconomy, carbon neutral, carbon budget


Climate and Resources

This Lab addresses topics related to climatic change and Earth resources. Both the United Nations (UN) and the European Commission (EC) identify these as critical topics for future research, teaching and science communication. For example, the UN highlight Climate Change as a Global Issue, and their 2020 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include 7: Affordable and clean energy, 12: Responsible consumption and production, and 13: Climate action.

The consequences of climate change are staggering. Past records, and modern observations clearly demonstrate it impacts ecosystems, the quality of the environment, and aspects of human society, politics, communication, and civil engagement. The scientific community have already convincingly demonstrated anthropogenic processes accelerate changes in Earth’s climate systems, and will do so increasingly in future. Rich and diverse research continues to refine the records of change, and enhance models of drivers and critical system behaviours. Achieving climate-neutral development, and mitigating the effects of ongoing change, requires development of innovative technologies – both for alternative energy sources, and for green technologies – that make efficient use of Earth resources.

A very broad range of increasingly scarce Earth resources are required for the wellbeing (and comfort) of humanity. The EU recently released an updated List of Critical Raw Materials which serves as a guide for the focii of this FORTHEM Lab. We explore the formation of resources, extraction methods, and environmental mitigation. Furthermore, since sustainable resource use worldwide is severely hampered by a broad lack of understanding of the origin and finite nature of resources, we particularly focus our attention on communicating about this topic to society.

More generally, FORTHEM’s Climate and Resources lab members are devoted toward ensuring collaborative education and research (i.e. Citizen Science) enhances societal understanding of these topics, as this will demonstrably build societal resilience to them.

Research areas

  • -    History of climate change: what we can learn?
  • -    How do Earth processes, such as volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics, modify climate?
  • -    Climate change as a driving force of landscape and ecosystem change, and responses of these systems
  • -    Impacts of climate change on resources, such as water and food
  • -    Response of economies, social formations, and human populations to climate change
  • -    Development of approaches for climate change communication and education
  • -    Adaptation tools, strategies, their efficiency and focus
  • -    Alternative energy sources, such as geothermal, wind, tide, and hydro-electric energy
  • -    Sustainability of critical Earth resources needed to respond to and mitigate climate change.
  • -    Tools for low-carbon development, including bioeconomy and alternative energies
  • -    Biorefinery to achieve maximally efficient use of biomaterials
  • -    Carbon budgets of organisations (such as the FORTHEM Alliance)

Planned outputs of the Lab and current work in progress

Please contact the responsible people (indicated further in text in bold font) if you want to be engaged with any of these initiatives. 

Immediate actions that we anticipate will yield outputs within the current FORTHEM funding period: 

1. Sustainability policy for the FORTHEM Alliance: Anna Roppelt (Mainz) has led the FORTHEM student body to develop a draft concept and more senior academics are now making contributions. We expect to present the policy for approval by the entire Alliance in February 2021. We also plan to evaluate the Sustainability of the Alliance through distribution of questionnaires asking people to tell us how much their current behaviours accord with the sustainability policy. We will disseminate results and information about the consequences of current behaviours, then repeat the questionnaire annually to evaluate if there has been any change as a result of ‘education’. 

2. “Sedimentary Basin Records of Earth’s climate” – This will include a modified version of a digital field class around Molinos, Teruel Province, Spain, that was delivered to Universität Mainz students in September 2020. We would like partner institutions (Mainz/Valencia/Dijon/Palermo) to contribute lectures over a semester so we can work toward a joint course for all Master level students in the Alliance. Please contact Virginia Toy (Mainz) if you already teach in this field and could contribute. 

3. Climate change communication summer school in 2022 in Jyväskylä: In advance we will produce short outreach videos highlighting research in all partner institutions relevant to the Lab. These will be analyzed during the summer school. Jan Lundell (JYU) will develop guidelines for these videos and distribute with a call for contributions. 

4. Waste recycling joint study course: Māris Kļaviņš (Riga) is working on development of this course and would appreciate contact from others who are interested in being part of it. There is funding for this available in Latvia, but materials will need to be presented in Latvian. 

5. Co-ordination and advice on establishing research relationships with partner institutions. We are establishing as part of our website: 

- a listing of Partner Institutions’ local expertise, areas of current research, and typical tools employed (co-ordinated by Emmanuelle Pucéat, Burgandy) 

- a proposal development/expertise sharing platform and workshops (co-ordinated by Martina Kirilova, Mainz) 

- Link to FIT FORTHEM, seed funding for mobility already available for students 

6. Alliance-level student led conference. This may capitalize on the KliKoMainz concept. Selina Fenske (Mainz) is our student champion. 

Longer-term outputs 

1. Outreach and community engagement about Climate proxies / records and Earth resources in our regionEmmanuelle Pucéat, (Burgandy) will provide more information here about the current plans. 

2. Geothermal living lab: capturing data from ground source heat pumps, citizen science approach. Universität Mainz will apply for external funds for such a lab (and borehole) in the next few years. Are other institutions interested in acquiring similar data from their regions? Please contact Virginia Toy (Mainz) to discuss further. 

Lab contact information

The Lab Website

For more detailed information please consult the Lab Website.

Alliance level Contact Person

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany Professor Virginia Gail Toy
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany Researcher Dr. Martina Kirilova martina.kirilova[at]
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany Researcher Ms. Selina Fenske sfenske[at]


University level Contact Persons

University of Jyväskylä, Finland Senior Lecturer Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö satu.ranta-tyrkko[at]
University of Burgundy, France Associate Professor Emmanuelle Pucéat emmanuelle.puceat[at]
University of Burgundy, France Associate Professor Benjamin Pohl[at]
University of Opole, Poland Professor Agnieszka Dołhańczuk-Środka agna[at]
University of Palermo, Italy Professor Antonio Mazzola Antonio.mazzola[at]
University of Latvia, Latvia Professor Agrita Briede agrita.briede[at]
University of Latvia, Latvia Head of Department Maris Klavins maris.klavins[at]
University of Valencia, Spain Professor Eugenia Ruiz M.Eugenia.Ruiz[at]
University of Valencia, Spain Graduate Student Olga Novillo Sanjuan olga.novillo[at]

Highlighted events of the Lab

The Alliance Level Kick-off meeting occurred on 28th October 2020, via Microsoft Teams.