Just & In-Time Climate Policy
Four Initiatives for a Fair Transformation

Policy Paper 9

WBGU, Berlin, 2018

Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires the rapid decarbonization of the global economy. If this enterprise fails, we will jeopardize the life-support systems of future generations. The longer the transformation towards climate compatibility is delayed, the more severe the risks and damage will be for a growing number of people. The requirements of transformation and the damage caused by climate change have an unequal temporal, geographical and social distribution – as do the respective possibilities for dealing with them. The WBGU therefore proposes a just & in-time transformation that takes into account all people affected, empowers them, holds those responsible for climate change accountable, and creates both global and national prospects for the future. The WBGU proposes that the German Federal Government should promote four exemplary initiatives of a just & in-time climate policy targeting (1) the people affected by the structural change towards climate compatibility (e.g. in coal-mining regions), (2) the legal rights of people harmed by climate change, (3) the dignified migration of people who lose their native countries due to climate change, and (4) the creation of financing instruments for just & in-time transformation processes.


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Digitalization: What we need to talk about

A major technical revolution is underway. How will it change the coexistence of humankind on this planet? What goals will it serve? What opportunities and risks does it involve? Who will gain or lose power in its wake? How can it be used to solve humankind´s great challenges?

The WBGU believes it is essential to shape digitalization with a view to the necessary transformation towards sustainability. These questions are intended to stimulate a debate on this topic and to encourage people to get involved in these developments. In the course of its current work on a report dealing with the relationship between digitalization and sustainability, the WBGU will organize various events at which the above questions can be discussed.


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Development and justice through transformation: The Four Big ‘I’s

–  A contribution to Germany´s G20 presidency in 2017 –

Special Report 2016

2015 saw a historic double success for sustainability and climate policy. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement on climate ­protection establish a system of ambitious policy goals for the world. The group of twenty major ­industrialized and emerging economies (G20) now needs to resolutely advance implementation of both agreements, seizing the opportunity of this ‘Great Transformation’ to sustainability as a unique ­modernization project that could offer substantial economic development opportunities. more...

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Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative power of cities

Flagship Report 2016

– A Contribution to Habitat III –

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.

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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...

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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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