Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative power of cities

Flagship Report

The momentum of urbanization and its impacts are so massive that we must face up to this trend. In view of the existing cognitive, technical, economic and institutional path dependencies, a policy of business as usual – i.e. an unstructured, quasi-automatic urbanization – would lead to a non-sustainable ‘world cities society’. Only if cities and urban societies are sufficiently empowered can they make use of the opportunities for sustainability and successfully follow the urban transformation pathways. The success or failure of the Great Transformation will be decided in the cities. The WBGU discusses the relevant conditions for the success of this transformation in this report.

more ...



> download summary as pdf (640 KB)

Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement

Special Report


The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it unmistakeably clear: unacceptable climate impacts, which are likely to escalate beyond the 2°C guard rail, can only be avoided if further increases in greenhouse-gas concentrations are halted as soon as possible. The WBGU therefore recommends reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels to zero by 2070 at the latest. This policy goal is both ambitious and incisive, because 'the zero target must be reached' by every country, every municipality, every company and every citizen if the world as a whole is to become climate-neutral. more...


> download as pdf (4.7 MB)

Human progress within planetary guard rails – A contribution to the SDG debate

Policy Paper

The year 2015 has special importance for the transformation towards sustainable ­development. New Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are then supposed to ­replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The WBGU ­presents recommendations on how guard rails for global environmental problems should be incorporated in the SDG catalogue and operationalized by means of ­corresponding targets.


> download as PDF (874 KB)

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.

more ...



> download summary as pdf (376 KB)

> download Full text (pdf, 6.1 MB)


Short film: Human Power – The concept of planetary guard rails

Interview: WBGU Co-Chair Schellnhuber on Divestment from economic activities which are harmful to the climate

Interview: WBGU Co-Chair Dirk Messner on the new Sustainable Development Goals

Comic "Transformation"

Order Comic

Comic (French Version)