Unilateral Action to Make a Global Difference (AHEAD)

California and Germany are frontrunners in environmental and climate policy with influence beyond their borders, affecting other jurisdictions as well as their federal systems, the European Union and the United States. This project involves partners in Germany and US to identify lessons from this experience.


AHEAD promotes mutual exchange, learning and joint thinking among scientists and stakeholders in California and Germany with the overall aim to

  • develop a better scientific understanding of successful climate policy and
  • synthesize lessons learned to inform policy making and the broader public debate.

The project intends to

  • systematically assess climate policies in California and Germany
  • develop scientifically sound insights on past and current policies, as well as options for successfully tackling the transformational pathways ahead
  • compile a policy-driven synthesis of these new insights that can be useful for policymakers and scholarship
  • expand scientific and stakeholder networks to foster exchange & collaboration between California and Germany and strengthen their role as climate leaders

This project involves partners from Germany, California and Washington DC:

  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam
  • Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Berlin
  • Resources for the Future (RFF), Washington DC
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis


Michael Pahle, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Dallas Burtraw, RFF


Stiftung Mercator GmbH, Germany
ClimateWorks Foundation, California


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