Diana Reckien strives for environmentally just and equitable climate change policies

Diana Reckien’s research focuses on issues at the interface of climate change governance and urban research, with the aim to contribute to justice efforts. One of her current research questions is how climate change mitigation and adaptation policies affect and interact with equity and justice, and how to set up adaptation and mitigation policies in order to avoid respective negative side-effects on justice efforts. This includes focusing on urban challenges like differential impacts of climate change and adaptive capacity, social vulnerability as well as climate change migration.

In teaching, my aim is to stimulate independent and critical thinking within my students, so they can contribute to better environmental policy making in the future.Dr. Diana Reckien

Her research interests also include method development of impact and adaptation assessments, modelling approaches, and ranking, in particular using non-monetary, non-structural, often psychological damage indicators, employing large comparative studies using social science methods, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM). Diana’s research contributes to the evaluation of success factors of adaptation (plans) in cities, of monitoring and mainstreaming adaptation, and to preventing mal-adaptation.

Research and Education

Most of Reckien’s courses are research and practice oriented —a combination which is not hard to combine in her discipline, explains the scientist. “I enjoy giving lectures on international and national environmental policy frameworks (e.g. UNFCCC, IPCC, Montreal Protocol, Paris Agreement); project seminars on recent pressing environmental issues in local policy environments (e.g. climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation on the ground); and tutorials or seminars on methodological approaches for environmental policy evaluation (e.g. calculating and mapping social vulnerability, conducting policy evaluation, climate change impact studies with network approaches, environmental impact assessment, local climate adaptation planning, local climate mitigation planning). The latter includes not only teaching how, when, and with whom environmental policies were or need to be developed and established, but very much also what effects and impacts environmental policies entail, most often for disadvantaged groups in the society. The ultimate goal of my research and teaching is to work for more environmentally just and equitable climate change policies.”   

She regards it as vitally important to establish and apply an interactive teaching style, fostering the involvement of students in class. “I try to engage all students in class, in particular quiet students and/or the minorities (women, ethnic and cultural minorities). Often, though, in particular when highly contested topics are discussed (e.g. gender issues across cultures and related policy practices), students soon establish a discussion mode of their own, which plays out to be relatively balanced between sexes, gender and cultures.”

Reckien wants students to establish a broad understanding of past international environmental developments and policy frameworks, to critically reflect on the (old and new) ways of environmental problem-solving, and to establish or train an open eye for the very impact of environmental policies—mostly on disadvantaged groups in society. “My aim is to stimulate independent and critical thinking within my students giving them room for developing their own ideas and personalities, so that they can unearth their professional passion and develop their own lives in the quest for (hopefully) contributing to better environmental policy making in the future.”

About Diana Reckien

Dr. Diana Reckien is Associate Professor Climate Change and Urban Inequalities at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, the Netherlands.

Before joining the University of Twente, Dr. Reckien worked as Senior Climate Impact Scientist at Climate Analytics Berlin (Germany), as Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in the City of New York (USA), and as MSc, PHD and Post-Doctoral student and researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany). She also worked as Social Development Specialist for the Asian Development Bank. Dr. Reckien received her PhD (magna cum laude) in Geography in 2007 from the University of Marburg, Germany, in cooperation with the John-Moores-University Liverpool, UK. Her PhD focused on “Intra-regional migration in formerly industrialised regions: Qualitative Modelling of household location decisions as an input to policy and plan making in Leipzig/Germany and Wirral/Liverpool/UK”.

Dr. Reckien is currently Coordinating Lead Author of the Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. In a similar approach, she has recently completed the contribution to the Second Assessment Report for Climate Change in Cities (ARC3.2; Eds: Rosenzweig, Solecki et al.; Cambridge University Press), for which she led the work on equity and environmental justice. She also serves on the Editorial Board of “Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews”(IF 9.184). Her scientific publication record comprises of 70 publications, including 25 peer-reviewed journal papers, plus multiple book chapters, and three special issues.

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