Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
A contribution in the Global Compact International Yearbook deals with fundamental issues of the sustainability debate: the limits to green growth and technological innovations, the preconditions of societal transformation towards sustainability, the complexity of human motivation, the underrated ambitiousness of the long-term goal in the Paris Climate Agreement. See, among other papers, here.
During the last years, the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy has done a lot of research on questions of phosphorus and scarcity of natural resources, as well as on land-use and climate change - from a transdisciplinary point of view. See, among other papers, Economic Instruments for P, N, Climate, Biodiv.
The Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy has done a lot of research on the normative grounds of sustainability - respectively on the theoretical basis of both ethics and law. The most informative is the big German volume "Theorie der Nachhaltigkeit", but there is also a number of English papers. See, among other papers, here.
Problems of sustainability in energy, climate and resource scarcity or land use raise questions of social change, political and legal instruments and improved technologies. However, they also trigger questions on ethic and legal requirements. Are we allowed to “not care” about future generations and continue to foster climate change in view of human rights? For many years, these questions are addressed by the Research Unit, namely by Felix Ekardt. Contrary to common perception, both Germany and Europe as a whole are far from reaching their climate targets. Inconvenient truths such as the necessity to continuously increase costs of fossil fuels are not discussed. We analyze how societies and individuals change and are thus able to contribute to a real and global energy transition, even though desires of daily life are often in contradiction. We explain why German and European leadership (even in an economic sense) is crucial and why new lifestyles are not a restriction but a necessary element of freedom and social justice. On the occasion of the Paris climate negotiations, we have furthermore shown and calculated in detail how much emission reductions and financing would have been needed, portraying the example of Germany. The results present a stark contrast to what has really been discussed by now.