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From 2000 to 2021, at least 145 billion euros in damages were caused by the consequences of heat, drought or floods. 80 billion of this since 2018 alone. These extreme weather events are becoming more likely due to climate change. By the middle of the century, researchers expect cumulative economic losses of 280 to 900 billion euros, depending on the extent of global warming. This is the result of a recent study presented today in Berlin. The study was carried out by the IÖW, the Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS) and Prognos AG; it was commissioned by the BMWK and technically supported by the BMUV. In addition to the financially measurable damages, there are numerous health impairments, deaths from heat and flooding, the strain on ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity, and the reduction of quality of life. more


Large fossil-fuel power plants still stabilize the power system in the event of fluctuations in the energy supply. But there are increasingly renewable replacements: More and more German households have their own photovoltaic system with battery storage. If these storage systems are virtually connected with each other using digital information and communication technologies (ICT), they can take over such stabilizing services for the energy system. The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) has now conducted a detailed life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental effects of such virtual pools. The conclusion: there are major benefits for climate protection and the environment as a whole. more


Repairing is in vogue. While new Repair Cafés are opening every week, the "Screw loose!?" initiative is making inroads into the European Union with its demand for a right to repair. Is this the renaissance of a cultural technique that was thought to have been lost, or merely a short-lived hype? In the book "Verhältnisse Reparieren," researchers Melanie Jaeger-Erben and Sabine Hielscher delve into the world of amateur repair and do-it-yourself. Above all, the two authors are concerned with one thing: describing how repairing and DIY can have a positive impact on identity and also improve social relationships and the troubled relationship between people and the environment. more


„Die Bits dürfen uns nicht die Bäume kosten.“ Diese Forderung brachte am vergangenen Wochenende über 2.500 Teilnehmende zur Konferenz für Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit „Bits & Bäume“ nach Berlin. Auf Einladung von 13 Organisationen aus Umwelt,- Klima- und Naturschutz, Digitalpolitik, Entwicklungszusammenarbeit und Wissenschaft, darunter das IÖW, trafen sich Wissenschaftler*innen, Aktivist*innen und Politiker*innen, um politische Forderungen und Handlungsansätze für eine nachhaltige Digitalisierung zu diskutieren. In Zeiten von Klima-, Energie- und staatlicher Vertrauenskrise müssten digitale Technologien vor allem dem sozial-ökologischen Wandel dienen, anstatt durch explodierenden Energiebedarf und Ressourcenverbrauch und immer mehr Überwachung die Krisen weiter anzuheizen, so der Appell der Konferenz. more


Overheated data centers, massive CO2 emissions generated by large language models, extraction of natural resources and automated inequality: It sounds like AI will contribute to the planet’s demise, rather than save it. But all the talk about the sustainability of AI so far has remained largely theoretical and imprecise. In the midst of a climate crisis, where everything is on the line, the discussion deserves more accuracy, scrutiny, and evidence. There are ways to make AI more sustainable, reduce its resource consumption, include affected communities in its development, and respect people’s autonomy. The SustAIn Magazine from Algorithmwatch, IÖW and DAI-Labor of TU Berlin gets real and cuts right to the chase. It includes interviews with experts in the field of sustainable AI and practical examples that are already making a difference. more


In his opening statement, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck made it clear that new instruments are needed to expand renewable energies more quickly and achieve Germany's climate goals. The Bündnis Bürgerenergie has provided a proposal with its energy-sharing concept. The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) has now investigated the potential of involving citizens in the energy transition through energy sharing. According to the IÖW study, there are suitable locations throughout Germany, so that more than 90 percent of people could join together in "renewable energy communities." more


If the climate targets are to be achieved, a different way of doing business is essential. The European Commission now also sees this and the circular economy has become a key element in the European Green Deal and for the transformation of current production and consumption patterns. In the new issue of ÖkologischesWirtschaften, the authors provide different perspectives on the circular economy and ask whether the circular economy can really be seen as a solution for decoupling growth from resource consumption. more


The Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center host the annual PCC conference #TheNewCommonSense – Forging the Cooperative Digital Economy from November 12 to 18, 2021. The conference brings together more than 80 scholars and practitioners from over twenty countries for a two-day in-person event at Humboldt University of Berlin on November 12 and 13. The conference concludes with a series of online sessions from November 15 to 18. more


It is becoming increasingly clear that environmental and climate protection and social justice are two sides of the same coin and can only be advanced together. In order to usher in the necessary substantive steps, new institutional structures are needed to consolidate interministerial cooperation, particularly between the environmental and social policy ministries, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Open Society Foundations recommend in a policy briefing published on September 2, 2021. They advise policymakers to develop the climate cabinet into a comprehensive transformation cabinet in which social policy actors are also included which is currently not the case. This cabinet should receive advice from citizens' councils and societal commissions including interest groups, policy makers as well as civil society organizations. Trade unions, social, welfare and environmental organizations should also initiate overarching processes of communication, capacity building and working together. In this way, the just transition – a socially just ecological transformation of the economy and society – can succeed. more


From Amazon to Zalando, online platforms are shaping our society. Corona has given a further boost to many digital corporations. Shaping and regulating the platform economy politically is a generational task. Based on current research, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) recommends that Germany and the European Union should focus more on the common good and user participation in platform policy. The market power of a few dominant monopoly-like platforms must be reduced. Democratically constituted platform alternatives should be strengthened so that users can become more independent and participate more. And the public sector should create its own offerings in critical areas as a service of general interest. more