Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
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, 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.
The work of the Research Unit covers the interconnected issues of resources, energy, climate and other questions of sustainability. More energy efficiency and an extended usage of renewable energies in the area of space heating are a central concern of an effective climate policy, recently discussed in the context of two government projects. However, the chief potentials of existing buildings are hitherto inadequately exploited. The insofar existing dilemma of investor and user is neither solved nor completely understood. Likewise, the question of how climate protection in the field of housing can be formulated in a socially balanced way is posed. Some problems can be equally well approached in an ecologically and socially meaningful way. The great breakthrough in the refurbishment of old buildings is likely to depend on administrative (regulatory) provisions or on a further (also politically induced) rise of energy prices. At the same time, some problems resulting from a mix of legal climate protection instruments become apparent in this and other contexts.
Work on energy including heat by the Research Unit is based on the insight that “purely technically” through merely increasing energy efficiency and implementing renewable energy, it is not possible to achieve the energy transformation. Therefore, it will be necessary to include elements of sufficiency in terms of considerable energy saving. This saving however might not always lower quality of life, but might in fact increase it – at least in industrialized states. Furthermore, debates on transmission lines and energy storage have become important. In public reflection, there is one-sidedly a focus on transmission lines.