Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
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, here.
Since 2007, Felix Ekardt has given speeches and presentations on some 50 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.
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.
For a couple of years, the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy is working on questions of land-use, e.g. with regard to climate change, bioenergy, resource scarcity, and phosphorus. We show that environmental policy will have to switch to a new strategy: “Technical solutions”, “efficiency” and “command and control” alone will not solve resource problems or quantity problems if at the same time (global) production increases or remains at a constant high level.
Recently, climate policy strongly also bets on an expanded use of biomass for gaining electricity, heat, and fuel. The energetic use of biomass exhibits a range of ecologic and social advantages, but also disadvantages. The German and European law on bioenergy does not always resolve them sufficiently. Also structurally, lists of sustainability criteria can assume this role to a limited extent only. They do not reflect the necessary complexity, do not avoid shifting effects, and cannot describe some central aspects (e. g. the world sustenance problem). Moreover, there exists a serious problem of enforcement. Instead, a radical policy shift to energy efficiency would, strict greenhouse gas caps prove a lot more effective in overcoming these ambivalences of the use of bioenergy. A far-reaching policy of energy efficiency, strict caps and a global carbon price would reduce global energy consumption and thus lead the way to a future zero carbon economy run exclusively on renewable energies.