World in Transition - Governing the Marine Heritage

Flagship Report

Despite numerous international treaties and voluntary commitments, the seas are still being massively overfished, polluted and increasingly exploited as the Earth's last resort. In view of the oceans’ poor condition the WBGU developed a long-term vision of the conservation and sustainable use of the blue continent.

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World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability

Flagship Report 


In this report, the WBGU explains the reasons for the desperate need for a post-fossil economic strategy, yet it also concludes that the transition to sustainability is achievable, and presents ten concrete packages of measures to accelerate the imperative restructuring. If the transformation really is to succeed, we have to enter into a social contract for innovation, in the form of a new kind of discourse between governments and citizens, both within and beyond the boundaries of the nation state. 

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>  download factsheet 1/2011 - A Social Contract as pdf (106 KB)

>  download factsheet 2/2011 - Transforming Energy Systems as pdf (112 KB)

>  download factsheet 3/2011 - Global Megatrends as pdf (380 KB)

>  download factsheet 4/2011 - The Transformation towards Sustainability as pdf (127 KB)

>  download factsheet 5 - Research and Education: Drivers of Transformation as pdf (120 KB)

Financing the Global Energy-System Transformation

Policy Paper 7


The world faces the challenge of a global transformation to sustainable energy systems. Substantial up-front investments are needed to improve energy efficiency and switch to renewable energies. At the same time, these investments offer great opportunities, because strategic innovations can be triggered and new markets can develop in the course of the transformation process. Savings on the cost of fossil fuels in conventional technologies could completely offset the investment in renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency by as early as 2040. The private capital needed for the transformation is available and can be mobilised if a suitable political framework is put into place. A corresponding regulatory policy should be introduced to make such investment more attractive for the private sector. The WBGU advocates a proactive state that integrates energy, environmental and climate policy; this could reduce existing investment risks by developing a stable, long-term transformative regulatory framework. At the same time, policy makers should expand the opportunities for participation.



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Climate Policy Post-Copenhagen: A Three-Level Strategy for Success

Policy Paper 6

International climate policy post-Copenhagen is in crisis. There is currently no prospect of the comprehensive and binding UN climate treaty – the outcome hoped for at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference – being achieved within the foreseeable future. However, in order to keep the global mean temperature rise below 2 °C by the end of the century, a resolute course must be set in the international climate process within the next few years. more...


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E-Seminar "Transformation": Interview with John Schellnhuber