All Press Releases
Global digital change should be designed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Up to now, hopes that digitalization would make a contribution to achieving these goals has not materialized. Only if digital change and the Transformation towards Sustainability are constructively interlinked we can make progress with environmental protection, climate-change mitigation and human development. The prerequisite is to systematically embed the combined topic of digitalization and sustainability in the United Nations system. The High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is currently meeting in New York, offers an ideal platform for this, according to a policy paper entitled ‘Digital Momentum for the UN Sustainability Agenda in the 21st Century, which is published by the WBGU today.
Without creative political action, digital change will further accelerate resource and energy consumption, and exacerbate damage to the environment and the climate. It is therefore an urgent political task to create the conditions needed to place digitalization at the service of sustainable development; this is one of the report’s key messages.
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. This is the message of a new policy paper entitled ‘Just & In–Time Climate Policy: Four Initiatives for Fairness’, which the WBGU is presenting today to Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Secretary of State in the Ministry of Research and Education, Georg Schütte.
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 like the transformation towards sustainability?
Maja Göpel will become the new secretary-general of the the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). With a degree in media studies and a PhD in political economy, Göpel has worked extensively on the themes of globalisation and sustainability, forward-thinking economies and forms of prosperity as well as on the rights of future generations.
Peace, prosperity, democracy and the development of humanity are at least partly based on science, research, technology, innovation and education. With global interrelations becoming increasingly complex, the search for solutions needs independent and internationally networked science and research. Freedom of research is a key element of our democracies. The great global challenges – e.g. implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement – can only be met through social, technological and institutional innovations. Science has a duty to take on the problems of our time and to engage in a dialogue with societal actors.
Meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers on 16–17 February 2017 in Bonn
At the meeting of the foreign ministers of the G20, the twenty most important industrialized countries and emerging economies, the WBGU’s Chair, Prof. Dirk Messner, will present the WBGU Report entitled ‚Development and Equity through Transformation: The Four Big I’s’ (Investment, Innovation, Infrastructure and Inclusion). The report formulates a vision for contributions by the G20 to modernizing the world economy and global politics. The report examines the potential of the Great Transformation towards sustainability as a unique project for humankind, which offers considerable economic and social development opportunities.
In their constituting session, today, the members of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) have elected Sabine Schlacke and Dirk Messner as their co-chairs for the coming two years. Due to various other commitments Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber – who previously co-chaired the council with Dirk Messner – did not run for another term. He will continue to constructively contribute to the work of the WBGU.
Often reviled as the club of the great economic powers, the G20 can advance the world on the road to climate stabilization and dynamic economic growth by taking decisions in four areas – and thus help drive back authoritarian movements. Today, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen – WBGU) is presenting a report entitled ‘Development and justice through transformation: The Four Big ‘I’s’ to Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka. Germany took over the G20 Presidency on 1 December 2016; its summit will be held in Hamburg in June 2017. The G20 countries produce 80% of the gross world product and 82% of greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil energy sources – so the weal and woe of the planet depends on them.
With the New Urban Agenda adopted today at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), the world’s governments adopted a number of important political goals: improve cities’ ability to shape their future, strengthen inclusive and people-oriented urban development and improve resource protection. However, the conference did not succeed in making urbanization a top issue of world politics.
Habitat III's success should be measured by whether we succeed in putting urbanization at the top of the agenda of world politics – says the WBGU in its statement on the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III, 17–20 Oct. 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.
WBGU report addresses Habitat III
More than 2-3 billion people worldwide will move from the country to the cities within the next few decades, doubling the population of the world's slums. It will be the biggest migration of our time. The power of this urbanization surge will be the key driver of global change in the 21st century. This is revealed in the essence of the report 'Humanity on the move – Unlocking the transformative power of cities', which was presented today by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU). Cities are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions – more than two thirds globally. At the same time, they are particularly hard hit by the consequences of global warming. Instead of ever greater densification, therefore, urban development should focus its attention more on the surrounding regions. Developing multiple medium-sized centres instead of a few rampantly expanding megacities increases humankind's resistance to crises and takes the pressure off local resources such as water and land.
Paris Climate Change Conference Successfully Concluded
In the WBGU's view, the Paris Agreement marks the successful conclusion of an historic climate-protection treaty after a tug-of-war that has lasted several years. All countries are setting themselves targets for changing the direction of their economies toward climate-friendly development. The procrastinators on climate protection were overcome not least by an alliance of ambitious states that was forged in Paris by the EU, the USA, Brazil, the Small Island States and many developing countries. Although the treaty will not come into force until 2020, it can already have a considerable impact today.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), will present Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment together with Cardinal Turkson on 18 June in Rome. The encyclical deals with the protection of creation; it declares that “human-induced climate change is a scientific fact” and that "decisive mitigation of climate change is a moral and religious imperative for humanity."
Climate Summit of the UN Secretary General in New York
Presentation of the report "Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement" to the Federal Government
Climate policy is getting nowhere, while climate change continues unchecked. Yet in the midst of this crisis of humankind there is new hope. It has to do with strong movements towards sustainability that have recently been forming everywhere in civil society: social networks, cities and local councils, religious communities, business alliances and clubs of nation states – they are all expanding initiatives to combat climate change, and encouraging political decision-makers to move beyond their day-to-day business and act decisively. As a result, responsible policy-makers are gaining valuable allies in efforts to overcome multilateral deadlock and shape a future without climate chaos. This interaction between these players might make an ambitious agreement possible in Paris next year.
New Sustainable Development Goals 2015
New Policy Paper "Human progress within planetary guard rails. A contribution to the SDG debate“
Environmental protection and poverty eradication are not opposites – on the contrary, measures to preserve humanity's natural life-support systems are not only a prerequisite for increasing prosperity among the world's lower income groups; they can also become the driver of such increases. However, these measures cannot be financed by the poor themselves. This is the conclusion of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) in its policy paper 'Human progress within planetary guard rails. A contribution to the SDG debate'. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are to be superseded next year by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are as a result currently dominating debates on development policy worldwide. A policy paper on this subject was presented to the German Federal Government today.
Vision on the preservation of the Blue Continent
New Report: Oceans are the heritage of mankind.
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, concludes the WBGU in its latest report „World in Transition – Governing the Marine Heritage“, which was presented to the Federal Government today.
A report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) has been adapted as a comic for the first time. The 140-page volume is being presented to the public today at the Deutsches Theater Berlin.
Joint Press Release
The German Federal Government's climate advisors say the EU should target 30-percent-lower emissions by 2020
Global greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels have reached new record levels, yet there will be no new, globally binding climate-protection agreement for all states before 2020. The challenge now, therefore, is to launch other initiatives to achieve further reductions in greenhouse gases before 2020 – but to be much more ambitious than we have been up to now.
New Policy Paper 7
Now mobilize private capital for the global energy transformation Germany and many other countries are facing a fundamental transformation of their energy systems. Billions will have to be invested worldwide in converting energy systems and raising energy efficiency. In its policy paper Financing the Global Energy-System Transformation, the WBGU shows that sufficient private capital is available; however, it must first be mobilised by implementing a decisive regulatory policy and reducing investment risks.
The Technische Universität Berlin is today awarding an honorarydoctorate to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Chair of the German Advisory Council onGlobal Change (WBGU) and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate ImpactResearch (PIK). The TU Berlin paid tribute to his „outstanding scientific achievementsin the fields of climate impact research and policy counselling“.
German government's climate advisors pin their hopes on UN climate talks - and recommend "progressive alliances" to boost climate protection
Joint Press Release from the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU)
Honours for WBGU Chair
Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber CBE, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), will receive several awards this autumn in recognition of his leading contribution, over several decades, to climate change research, policy advice and education.
Low-Carbon Economy and Sustainable Development
The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) will present its latest flagship report, ‘World in Transition: A Social Contract for Sustainability’, to Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen today.
EU to hold Energy Summit on 4 February
With the Summit on the EU’s future energy strategy due to take place in Brussels on 4 February 2011, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) is calling for more rapid harmonisation of the EU Member States’ energy policies, with a view to achieving decarbonisation of European energy systems by mid-century.
Recommendations for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue:
The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) will today submit a Policy Paper to the German Government, represented by Federal Environment Minister Dr Norbert Röttgen. The Policy Paper shows how the current deadlock in international climate policy can be broken.
World Ocean Conference in Indonesia
With a view to the World Ocean Conference beginning today in Indonesia, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) draws renewed attention to the fact that the rise in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is causing dangerous levels of ocean warming and acidification.