Headline: Science-Society Platforms - News

Sustainability Advisory Board

Fostering Sustainable Development as a Democratic Process

The Sustainability Advisory Board of Brandenburg state has developed a set of recommendations titled “Social cohesion in an open society – Democracy as a way of life” and presented them to the state government on 8 January 2024. The recommendations are based on a policy brief in which the authors recommend an all-of-government approach to address various issues of social justice and public participation as well as the goal of safeguarding quality of life while remaining within planetary boundaries.

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Music Sector

Values and Traditions Slow Transition to Sustainability in Classical Concert Industry

There is a growing interest in sustainability among orchestras, ensembles and concert halls in Germany –in terms of reducing their environmental impacts, and in relation to programming, such as creating concert formats that engage with sustainability on a thematic level. Is the classical concert industry contributing to the broader transformation of society towards sustainability? RIFS researchers see room for improvement, finding that many institutions and orchestral musicians are not sufficiently self-critical in their approach to sustainability issues.

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RIFS Policy Brief

The Silver Bullet Fallacy of “Net Zero”

A new RIFS Policy Brief warns that the promise of future technologies for the abatement and removal of carbon dioxide is being used to justify inaction on reducing fossil fuels, even though this is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. Ahead of COP28 in Dubai, the authors urge policymakers to face up to the inescapable reality that achieving the goal of “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will require deep and rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and that this in turn means nearly completely phasing out fossil fuels.

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FG Forum for the Future

Cooperation for the Heat Transition

The recently launched third cycle of the Franco-German Forum for the Future – “Plan, Refurbish, Reduce” – will explore projects working to promote the heat transition in towns in Germany and France. In this work cycle, which runs through to late 2024, the project will develop recommendations for action that will shape national policies in both countries. Cooperation between the new participating towns, cities, and districts kicked off with a meeting in Berlin on 18-19 October 2023.

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Barometer

Support for Climate Action Greater Than Often Assumed

Hot on the heels of the pandemic came the energy crisis – has this experience led to a shift in public opinion on climate action in Germany? Broadly speaking, support for ambitious climate policy remains strong, however many citizens are concerned that policymakers lack the political will and that the burdens of the transformation are not being shared equitably. But it seems that many people underestimate the willingness of their fellow citizens to embrace change. This is the conclusion of the 2023 Social Sustainability Barometer, an annual representative survey of over 6,500 people across Germany on the energy and transport transitions, conducted as part of the Ariadne project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Politics

Achieving Brandenburg’s Ambitious Climate Targets

Opened by Minister Axel Vogel, the fourth plenary session of Brandenburg's Sustainability Platform cast a spotlight on climate action in the state of Brandenburg. The platform, which was established five years ago, promotes sustainable development, supports efforts to achieve climate neutrality in Brandenburg, and fosters networking between diverse actors and initiatives. The platform is coordinated by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection (MLUK).

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Brandenburg

Draft Strategy for Sustainable Development Is Well-intended, but Lacking in Detail

The draft proposal for Brandenburg’s future sustainable development strategy has met with a mixed response from Brandenburg's Sustainability Advisory Board and Sustainability Platform Brandenburg, two bodies coordinated by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS). The strategy’s alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and commitment to adopting a whole-of-government approach to sustainability challenges were noted positively by both organisations. However, the strategy lacks "an overarching vision of where Brandenburg wants to go" and a clear roadmap and timeline for efforts to achieve the state’s goals.

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UN Climate Change Conferences

A New Climate of Communication at the COP

The UN climate change conferences (COPs) are attended annually by tens of thousands of actors working on climate change topics. Outside of the formal negotiations, the communication culture is dominated by 'side events,' a format that relies on conventional presentations and panels. In a new commentary, RIFS scientist Kathleen Mar and co-authors make a case for reimagining these communication formats in order to strengthen the COP’s role as a platform for learning and community-building.

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RIFS Policy Brief

Making Lusatia a Model Region for Transformation

On 10 March 2023, a select committee will be convened at Brandenburg’s state assembly to examine sustainable development and structural change in the former mining region of Lusatia. In a policy brief by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), authors David Löw Beer and Konrad Gürtler set out three actionable and cost-effective recommendations to improve the sustainability of regional processes of structural transformation.

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Nachhaltigkeitsplattform BB

Water Poverty: Brandenburg Must Do More to Protect Water Resources

Brandenburg boasts more standing and running water resources than any other state – and yet it is running out of water. Securing access to ample water resources is crucial to fostering sustainable agricultural and industrial development and enhancing the quality of life in the region. The Sustainability Advisory Board to Brandenburg State has developed a set of recommendations for the state government on the protection of Brandenburg's water resources.

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RNE

Mark Lawrence Appointed to German Council for Sustainable Development

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has convened the new German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). RIFS Scientific Director Mark Lawrence will serve a three-year term on the council. At the inaugural meeting held at the Federal Chancellery on 15 February 2023, the members unanimously elected Reiner Hoffmann, the former president of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), to chair the council.

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