The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) has just submitted its latest environmental report to the German government, reminding it that urgent ecological threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss will not disappear even in times of corona. In addition to the discussion of a number of topics with a particular need for action, such as recycling management, water pollution control or urban mobility, one statement in particular has moved into the focus of attention: The Council of Experts recommends that the government orient its climate policy towards a CO2 budget in order to actually bring political measures into line with its climate goals.
The Council thus addresses a topic that is both highly relevant and politically challenging in research at ZIN: the need for limits on resource consumption. These limits are sometimes outlined in the form of budgets, as here in the report, sometimes in the form of minimum and maximum limits of consumption, as in the concept of consumption corridors, co-developed by ZIN member Prof. Doris Fuchs, which aims to ensure that all people can lead a good life, now and in the future, across these limits.
Regardless of whether one thinks in terms of budgets or consumption corridors, fundamental changes in the handling of ecological resources in society and corresponding political decisions are urgently needed, according to the report. The SRU therefore emphasizes the need to consistently align the current economic stimulus packages with the goal of a socio-ecological transformation. The goals of climate neutrality and environmental protection must be a guiding principle.