Professor Dirk Messner presenting the WBGU-report “World in Transition”.
Photo: © giz

04.10.2012

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In its Flagship Report “World in Transition”, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU - Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der deutschen Bundesregierung für globale Umweltveränderungen) has proposed a “Social Contract for a Major Transformation of World Society” with the aim of a global, sustainable environmental policy integrating the reduction in CO2 emissions that has been called for. Climate-friendly land use is key to this.

The WBGU Flagship Report also provided the basis for an experts’ roundtable discussion at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Eschborn /Germany in late September. As Karin Kortmann, former State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and future Head of Section at GIZ, stated introducing the meeting, working land use systems and a sustainable lifestyle together with changes in everyday habits are among the main pillars of a fundamental transition towards a climate-friendly society.
Each year, there are losses in agricultural production of around 24 million tons of fertile soil world-wide owing to inappropriate land use systems. According to Kortmann, the transformation of natural ecosystems, for example of forests, into areas under cultivation was also one of the most important sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Growing plants to generate bio-energy and export-oriented food production was further exacerbating pressure on agricultural areas, Kortmann maintained.

At the meeting of experts, Dirk Messner, Deputy Chairman of the WBGU and co-author of the Flagship Report, therefore called on political decision-makers to implement strategies towards climate-friendly land use as quickly as possible and make a contribution in development to changes in lifestyles and consumer habits in global society.

Messner stressed that the environmentally relevant critical tipping points had been sufficiently established and that technologies were available to achieve the 2° Celsius climate protection goal.

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