A New Sense of Direction is Needed

I shall briefly offer some unconventional views on Japan and then move on to discuss the megatrend of globalisation which I see as the main reason for the massive neglect of the environment. I shall conclude with an attempt at establishing a new sense of direction for technology, civilisation and investments. more…

International Meeting on Environmental Fiscal Reform

Speech by Ernst von Weizsäcker, M. P., Athens, 9 November 2002 Let me at the outset distinguish two different tasks of environmental policy. One is pollution control which is predominantly a local and a national activity. The first twenty years of environmental policy in advanced industrial countries were almost exclusively devoted to pollution control and […] more…

Making Prices Work for the Environment

Let me at the outset distinguish two different tasks of environmental policy. One is pollution control which is predominantly a local and a national activity. The other task of environmental policy relates to global and long-term challenges such as climate change, biodiversity losses and unsustainable lifestyles. Prices can work for the environment in both arenas.  more…

Globalisation: Speech at the Koenigswinter Conference in Oxford, UK

Over 200 years ago, when Adam Smith set about forming his moral ideas of the free market, he made it clear that the wealth of nations requires a strong state, not a weak one! At least three conditions need to be granted by the state: External peace, a reliable legal frame, and a healthy infrastructure that benefits all competitors but would not be paid for by any individual actor. more…

The Decarbonization Challenge — U.S. and European Perspectives

This piece was written by a European and an American both deeply engaged in efforts to moderate global warming. We give a perspective on the present situation regarding climate change in Europe; a parallel perspective on the situation in the U.S.; and then close with a series of recommendations and policy opportunities. more…

Sustaining Our Environment to Promote Our Development

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is the third event in a row. The first was the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 1972. In its wake, the UN Environment Programme, UNEP, was founded in Nairobi, and some UN agencies made some moves towards an ecological significance of their programmes. more…

The Old and New Europe: Alternatives for Future Transatlantic Relations?

When I began preparing this address on the Old and New Europe in their transatlantic relations, I saw with a degree of relief that hundreds of wise men and women had already written or spoken about the subject in recent months. So my task looked like a pretty easy one, just to summarise what wiser people than myself have said. more…

On Environment and Factor Four

We all agree that a lot more economic wealth is needed for six billion people let alone nine billion people that we expect to live on earth by the mid of the century. Doubling wealth is the least, I suggest, what we should aim at. On the other hand, we are already now overexploiting the earth. It is fair to say that we should reduce the consumption of natural resources by roughly a factor of two. more…

On Globalisation

Globalisation is a new phenomenon. The very term “globalisation” appeared in the languages of the world around 1993. The strongest reason for the sudden appearance of the term globalisation has been the end of the Cold War. We all, I am sure, were glad about many things that happened in this context. more…