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.
Only a small part of the revenues of world trade comes benefits the people in developing countries. At the same time, the global competition for production costs jeopardises the social systems in developed countries. Equally, we are on the verge of a global race for the lowest, apparently most entrepreneur friendly, environmental standards. It would serve both, North and South, if international social standards were established within the framework of the WTO. According to the standard economic text-books, unlimited trade leads to maximal wealth. Thus regulations would disturb the efficiency of the global economy. Yet this theory ignores some important aspects, for example, it overlooks the unequal distribution of income: Only few profit from the alleged economic efficiency. The overall economic production would even increase, if a part of the money that developing countries earn by exports were used to improve the social security of the working people. This ought to have a positive impact on their motivation and educational opportunities. Moreover, environmental problems and the mental consequences of an unrestricted world-wide competition for longer working times and increased pressure to perform are hardly found in the traditional theory of free trade. This leads to the proposal to secure ecologic and social minimal standards in the legal framework of the WTO. On one hand, such a legal framework would contribute to the quarrel against poverty and to environmental protection, on the other hand, it would protect the western social state and environmental from an international competition. The WTO could – partly following the example of the EU – become a common market with uniform minimal requirements for social and environmental policy. As a model serves the eco-social conception for a new global climate protection.