Digitalization has been accompanied by ever increasing energy and resource consumption, as well as global production and consumption patterns that place an even greater burden on ecosystems. Technical innovation surges do not automatically translate into sustainability transformations, but must be closely coupled with sustainability guidelines and policies.
WBGU’s flagship reports provide in-depth scientific explorations of over-arching themes of global change and provide recommendations for action and research. They are published in the ‘World in Transition’ series, and distributed as official papers to the members of the German federal parliament (Bundestag) and council (Bundesrat).
Digital change needs to be actively shaped to ensure sustainable futures. In analogue haptics and with creative illustrations, this special fact sheet provides incisive entry points to the sustainable shaping of the digital age.
This factsheet summarizes the core messages of the flagship report ‘Our Common Digital Future’. The report makes it clear that sustainability strategies and concepts must be fundamentally further developed in the Digital Age.
Germany should build upon the Green Deal announced by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and work towards a close integration of digital change and sustainability. To this end the WBGU presents cornerstones of a European way to a common digital future.
A major technical revolution is underway. Who gives it direction and purpose? Which goals does it serve? This is an invitation.
Up to now, hopes that digitalization would make a contribution to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda has not materialized. Only if digital change and Sustainability are constructively interlinked can we make progress with environmental protection, climate-change mitigation and human development.
Climate policy can only be successful if it is designed in a just way. This means that the urgency of climate action must be taken seriously and that the interests of all the people affected – both people harmed by climate change and those affected by the structural change necessary for climate-change mitigation – must be given equal weight.
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 New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted in 2016 at the Habitat III Conference (the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) is to serve as a framework for global urban development over the next twenty years. The conference offered the first chance to transfer these sustainability and legally- binding climatemitigation goals to the level of the cities.
In its report‚ Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative power of cities (2016), the WBGU examines the transformation of cities towards sustainability.
From 17-20 October 2016, government representatives from all over the world will gather for the “United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III”, in Quito, Ecuador.
G20 countries are responsible for 82% of CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels, so the G20, with its formative influence on the world’s economy and politics, must play a leading role in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
The future of our civilization will be decided in the cities. The internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on climate change can only be achieved if we design sustainable and liveable cities across the globe.
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 aim is to offer a new orientation for political action in the coming decades.
The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it unmistakeably clear: unacceptable climatic consequences, 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 oceans are part of the common heritage of mankind and should, in the long term, be granted this status under international law. This would give them better protection and ensure that they are managed in a sustainable way.
A comic explains the WBGU flagship report „World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability“. Climate change, the Anthropocene, rising CO2 levels, the Earth Summit in Rio, wind turbines, combined heat and power generation, desertification, biodiversity loss, Germany's Renewable Energy Act, pioneers of change – what do all these terms mean exactly and how are they all linked? This comic offers answers.
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.
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.
In its flagship report ‘World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability’ (2011), the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) shows that a global transformation of energy systems which gives all the world’s people access to modern energy services while limiting human-induced warming to 2°C is technically feasible and economically viable.
At their meeting in the Italian city of L’Aquila in July 2009, the heads of state and government of the G8 countries and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), whose members include India, Brazil and China, acknowledged the importance that global warming must not exceed the 2°C guard rail if dangerous climate change is to be avoided.
Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities within the coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence, jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree.
Today, more than 900 bi- and multilateral environmental treaties are in force. Nonetheless, the most pressing problems of global change remain unresolved, some are even intensifying. The international institutional and organizational architecture has proven too weak to provide effective and efficient responses to these challenges.
This statement is issued by the German Advisory Council on Global Change on the occasion of the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Climate Convention, FCCC), and contains recommendations on the commitments to be agreed upon in a protocol to the Convention.
How can we make global development possible without compromising our natural life-support systems, and which forms of damage must be avoided? The WBGU defined "planetary guard rails" which help to keep such existential damage at bay. This short film explains the concept of guardrails.