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Ecology PDF Print E-mail

For the first time in history, the right of future generations to live on an ecologically intact, biologically varied planet is in danger. The greenhouse effect, for instance, is a byproduct of non-sustainable political environmental action that serves only the current generation.
Our current form of energy production is based on the exploitation of fossil fuels, which on one hand allows for uniquely high standard of living, but on the other forces enormous externalities upon the middle- to long-term future generations. Scientific research has determined that present energy policies of the generation now in power lead to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which aggravates the natural greenhouse effect and raises temperatures worldwide. We are already experiencing some of these disastrous consequences, for example the creation of refugees, flooding and conflicts.

In addition, intergenerational justice has been a leading argument to protect our natural resources and the Earth’s foundations for life from the beginning of the environmental movement.  This is reason enough for the FRFG to work extensively on ecological intergenerational justice.

Within the context of its further research the FRFG also works on the relationship between sustainability and ecology. We there investigate how concepts of sustainability are used by various actors. Read an article on this topic by Jörg Tremmel in the GAIA Magazine. (in German) 

During our European Young Leader Congress 2000, with the participation of 330 young decision makers from across Europe, many ecological “study groups” met. Find their resolutions here. (in English)

Already in its first youth congress (1997), it supported a new “ecological generational contract” to specify our relationship to nature within a new framework. Read more... (in German)

Many issues of our Journal are also dedicated to the topic:

Nr. 22—The Debate over Sustainable Development in Spain (Year 7 Vol. 1)
Sustainable development is a global topic. It is therefore surprising that there is so little international exchange of sustainability research. The first German-Spanish issue of the Journal Intergenerational Justice Review will attempt the beginning of a remedy to this situation: a first step where others should follow. We wanted to know: what facets does the sustainability debate have in Spain and in South America? How is sustainability understood there? What theories define the philosophical and public debate? It is important to begin the international debate over sustainability, because only then can problems be solved. While new publications in English are also wide-spread in many non English-speaking countries, there is little direct exchange between the world’s other language areas. Many Spanish and German authors who are worth reading are often not translated into English—a direct exchange between Germany and the Spanish-speaking world is therefore indispensable.  

Nr. 21—Farewell to Oil—A Chance for Renewable Energy? (Year 6 Vol. 4)
The world is addicted to oil—and like most addictions it is little concerned about the long-term consequences. If future generations could chose, we would switch our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy within a few decades. But the future has no voice. Thus we can only hope that the young generation, which in 60 years will pay for the consequences of today’s short-sightedness in the truest sense of the word, can generate with engaged older people enough pressure to act to realize a generationally just energy system. 
But what would this withdrawal therapy look like practically? We dedicate this issue of Intergenerational Justice Review to this question, thus coming back once again to environmental issues. The volume appears this time bilingually in German and French. Contributors are experts and politicians from both countries, including among others German Environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
The view across the Rhein reveals many similarities, but also some differences in opinion, particularly on the topic of nuclear energy. Prof. Francis Meunier (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers) and Prof. Christine Meunier Castelain (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) sketch a revolution in energy production that is already possible with today’s technology.  One attribute of many renewable energy sources is decentralization. Who is today only an energy consumer could in the future produce her own energy or even become an energy exporter. Renewable energies, combined heat and power plants and fuel cells could enable especially rural populations to produce electricity and induct excess into the network.  When farmers see themselves also as energy producers, they can profit from the gigantic yields that only a few large companies see today.
Philippe Copinschi, expert on international oil relations at l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), illuminates the geopolitical implications of the dependence on oil.  From all commodities, oil is currently the one that dictates a country’s ability to make other goods. No wonder that rich countries want to ensure lasting supplies of this ever more scarce resource. Oil is however geographically only produced in a few countries, which are thus of special importance to the importers USA, Europe and China—a network of interests that Copinschi explains in more detail.
The further articles occupy themselves with the question of whether the end of oil will lead to the adoption of real renewable energy or the use of nuclear energy. To open, Sebastian Klüsener, doctoral candidate at the Institute for Cultural Geography at the Universität Freiburg and long-time resident of the Ukraine investigates the lessons that can be drawn from the disaster 20 years ago in Tschernobyl. Christian Wössner, Departmental Director for Press and Politics at the German Atomic Energy Forum and Gerhard Schmidt from Eco-Institute (Öko-Institut) discuss in a pro-contra debate. In doing so Wössner stresses that without atomic energy the Kyoto national CO2 reduction goals cannot be reached. Schmidt emphasizes the conflicts of atomic energy with economic, technical and especially social limits. Many reviews of especially French books on the topic as well as a report from an energy conference in Canada round out the issue.

Issue 2/2002 (Year 2 Vol. 2) on Resource Productivity
This issue produced with cooperation between the Aachen-based Kathy Beys Foundation and the FRFG addresses resource productivity, an important topic for the future within the framework of ecological intergenerational justice. The authors include among others Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn (Resource Productivity and Intergenerational Justice), Prof. Dr. Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek (Germany Needs New Rules of the Game), Prof. Dr. Dr. Franz-Josef Radermacher (Eco-efficiency as Key), Prof. Amery B. Lovins (The Hyper Car), Dr. Volker Hauff (Generationally Just Economies Through Efficiency and Responsibility), Prof. Dr. Rolf Kreibich (A Future Through High Resource Productivity), Paul Hawken, Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Prof. Dr. Vittorio Hösle, Dr. Stefan Bayer, Prof. Dr. Bernd Lucke, Klaus Dosch, Jörg Tremmel, Maike Sippel und Wolfgang Gründinger.