Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
Missing German and EU climate targets is not embarrassing - it is contrary to international and human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal; all the more so their misconduct. More on this in our new legal opinion on the Paris Agreement here.
A contribution in the Global Compact International Yearbook deals with fundamental issues of the sustainability debate: the limits to green growth and technological innovations, the preconditions of societal transformation towards sustainability, the complexity of human motivation, the underrated ambitiousness of the long-term goal in the Paris Climate Agreement. See, among other papers, here.
During the last years, the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy has done a lot of research on questions of phosphorus and scarcity of natural resources in general, as well as on land-use and climate change - from a transdisciplinary point of view. See, among other papers, Economic Instruments for P, N, Climate, Biodiv.
The Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy has done a lot of research on the normative grounds of sustainability - respectively on the theoretical basis of both ethics and law. The most informative is the big German volume "Theorie der Nachhaltigkeit", but there is also a number of English papers. See, among other papers, here.
Since 2007, Felix Ekardt has given speeches and presentations on some 60 international conferences on questions of sustainability, climate change, justice, human rights, phosphorus scarcity, land-use, etc. For details and also for forthcoming speeches, see the list of presentations.
Are genes, capitalism, power politics or a lack of education to blame if the transformation to a sustainable society does not succeed as desired? Or if once again my plan fails to eat less meat and sweets? What drives people and societies, what makes change possible, and what blocks it? These are questions that form the core of thinking about politics, the future and the individual. The crisis of the EU or the mere talk of sustainability - the educated are the biggest polluters of the environment - sometimes remain a mystery if one stops alone at brain research or criticism of capitalism. If one understands human feelings and the unconscious and at the same time changeable notions of normality better, social and individual change can be understood and even made possible constructively. Another important finding is that such motivational factors transport both biological and cultural elements - and that collective states as well as individual developments can be considered using those factors.
Since the late 1990s, the Research Unit and Felix Ekardt in particular have devoted themselves to the conditions of a transformation to sustainability from a very interdisciplinary perspective, which - unlike in other areas of research - really tries to include the entire field of behavioral research in sociology, economics, psychology, sociobiology, ethnology, cultural studies and much more. Historical examples of successful or failed changes also help to understand transformation. How did growth actually come into the world? And can the emergence of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century really be explained solely by authoritarian cultural traditions, economic crises, use of force and apparently charismatic leaders? Only those who understand this also hold the key to social and personal change in their hands.