Under the patronage of NRW Environment Minister Oliver Krischer, the event “50 Years of Limits to Growth” of the Johannes Rau Research Foundation (JRF) took place in Bonn on November 21. Participants included the host German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), the JRF institutes EWI and Wuppertal Institute, and the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research.
EWI Director Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge also took part in the event. In his lecture, he critically reflected on the reactions to the Club of Rome’s report “The Limits to Growth,” whose publication this year marks the 50th anniversary. “The global economy is undeniably embedded in the biophysical processes of the planet. Therefore, its long-term development prospects can only be understood from this perspective – that is, as exemplified in the report’s undertaking.”
NRW Minister Oliver Krischer emphasized: “We must finally move from an era of gaining knowledge to a decade of action. Sustainability must become the new normal, that is the political claim. We are glad that there are institutions like the Johannes Rau Research Foundation that transport the existing knowledge gain into society.”
In a video message, Mojib Latif, president of the German Club of Rome Society, reminded the audience that technology cannot solve all problems, but that collaboration among all research disciplines is needed. “We are obviously not moving from knowledge to action, and it would be so important to say goodbye to fossil fuels,” Latif noted, referring to the 27th UN Climate Conference that just ended.
In the light of the Club of Rome’s report “The Limits to Growth” published 50 years ago, researchers presented the current state of science and political developments from a scientific and economic perspective. EWI Director Marc Oliver Bettzüge discussed with Manfred Fischedick (Wuppertal Institute) and Sandra Reus (Thyssen Krupp Steel) as well as young researchers Sebastian Heinen (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences) and Yanik Bröhl (University of Siegen) the further development of international and interdisciplinary research within and outside the JRF. The discussion was chaired by Sandra Gilgan (Bonn Alliance).
In addition, the perspective of the young generation was expressed to a significant extent. In short presentations, four young scientists addressed current aspects of sustainability research and policy in a well-founded and critical manner. Topics included the link between sustainability and digitalization, social inequality, ethics, behavioral research, contributions from companies and milestones of the past 50 years from an economic perspective.