Go to main content

This content is also available in: German

17 December 2013

Agora Energiewende’s successful work set to continue with Klaus Töpfer as the new chairman of the Council

Patrick Graichen will serve as Agora Energiewende’s executive director starting on 1 January 2014

Former Minister of the Environment and founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Klaus Töpfer is the new chairman of the Agora Energiewende Council. He succeeds Rainer Baake, who is set to serve as Permanent State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics under Sigmar Gabriel in the new governing coalition. The news was announced by the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation on December 16th 2014. Patrick Graichen, previously deputy director of Agora Energiewende, will take on the roles of executive director starting in January 2014. After assuming his new position, Baake will remain a part of Agora Energiewende as a member of the Council.

“Klaus Töpfer has been very close to us for quite some time now, and we’re very pleased that he is taking on this new challenge. As chairman of the Agora Council, he will play a significant role in moving the Energiewende forward in the coming years," says Bernhard Lorentz, President and CEO of the Mercator Foundation. “No matter what position he’s held, Klaus Töpfer has always championed climate protection and a successful energy transition. Here in Germany and around the world, he is trusted and respected by members of different political parties,” adds Johannes Meier, CEO of the European Climate Foundation. “That makes him an ideal chairman for the Agora Council.”

“The work being done at Agora Energiewende will play a key role in implementing the energy transition in the coming legislative session. A strong connection between Agora’s successful work and the energy policy work being done at IASS will make it easier to achieve our common goals,” points out Töpfer, former minister of the environment, founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), and new chairman of the Agora Council.

 “I’m looking forward to this new challenge and would like to thank Rainer Baake for his outstanding work at Agora Energiewende,” says Patrick Graichen. “Agora Energiewende has an excellent team, and I’m eager to continue down this promising path with them.”

Agora Energiewende was founded in early 2012 by the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation with a budget of 14 million euros. The think tank based in Berlin focuses on working with important actors in energy policy in order to achieve a major goal of the energy transition: almost complete decarbonization by 2050. Dialogue platforms, participation processes, and research projects are to be used to improve the foundation of knowledge via feasible paths to the renewable age. The Agora Council includes leaders in policy, business, associations, civil society, and research, who work together to determine how to implement the energy transition. A list of Council members can be found on Agora’s website at www.agora-energiewende.org

About Klaus Töpfer

Klaus Töpfer is the founding director and current executive director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. He was also executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (1998-2006). He studied economics in Frankfurt am Main and Münster, where he graduated in 1964. In 1968, he completed doctoral work at the Central Institute for Spatial Research and Planning at the University of Münster. From 1971 to 1978, he was the department head of planning and information for the State of Saarland and taught at the University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer. From 1978 to 1979, he was a professor and director of the Institute for Spatial Research Land Planning at the University of Hanover and a member of both the German Advisory Council on the Environment and the management board of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Töpfer has been a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 1972. He has previously served as the Minister of the Environment and Health for the State of Rhineland-Palatinate (1985-1987), the federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (1987-1994), and the federal Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Urban Planning (1994-1998). He was also a member of the German Bundestag from 1990 to 1998.

About Patrick Graichen

Patrick Graichen studied economics and political science and completed doctoral work on municipal energy policy at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Economics at the University of Heidelberg. He worked in the German Ministry of the Environment from 2001 to 2012 – first in international climate policy, then as a Personal Assistant to the Permanent State Secretary (2004-2006), and, from 2007, as energy and climate policy director. During this time, he played leading roles in designing the economic tools for the Kyoto Protocol, the German federal government’s Integrated Energy and Climate Programme of 2007, the EU Climate and Energy Package of 2008, and legislative procedures for economic law related to energy.

Stay informed

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about our ongoing work.

Subscribe now