Confer­ence “Ecology & Freedom”

Foto: Astrid Knie


Ecology & Freedom

How can the prin­ci­ples of liberal democracy and climate protec­tion be reconciled?

29 November 2023, 9am-6pm

Allianz Forum, Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin

Ecology and freedom: how can we reconcile the two? What does a liberal climate policy look like and what funda­mental questions will it have to answer? We will discuss these issues at our confer­ence “Ecology & Freedom” on 29 November in Berlin. Among others with: Robert Habeck, Ursula Weiden­feld, Claus Leggewie, Michael Zürn, Ralf Fücks, Lukas Köhler, Andreas Jung and many others.

Climate change presents us with immense chal­lenges. If we do not succeed in keeping it within tolerable limits, living condi­tions on Earth will change dras­ti­cally. As a conse­quence, the climate crisis also threatens our liberal demo­c­ratic order. If the earth’s climate gets out of control, we will have to reckon with an increase in inter­na­tional conflicts and fiercer distri­b­u­tion struggles for scarce resources. There is a threat of a kind of permanent emergency regime with drastic inter­ven­tions in everyday life.

The magnitude of the challenge and the narrow window of time left to stabilize the Earth’s climate are already inten­si­fying the disputes over the necessary and goal-oriented responses to climate change.

In the climate movement as well as in the scien­tific and political debate, voices are growing louder that call for drastic govern­ment inter­ven­tion in produc­tion and consump­tion, for self-restraint and economic shrinkage. In this logic, massive restric­tions are the only way to effec­tively protect the climate. Freedom shrinks to the insight into ecolog­ical necessity, which must be enforced by coercion if necessary. However, it is not enough to criticize the author­i­tarian temp­ta­tion of the climate movement from a liberal perspective.

What has been missing so far is a coherent blueprint for a liberal climate policy that takes climate change seriously and shows ways of containing it on the basis of a market economy and liberal democracy.

A liberal climate policy must answer some funda­mental questions:

  • What does freedom mean in times of climate change? How far must indi­vidual freedom be restricted in order to preserve that of future generations?
  • What are the alter­na­tives to restric­tions, prohi­bi­tion and self-restraint?
  •  How can a dynamic of ecolog­ical inno­va­tion and invest­ment be unleashed?
  • What regu­la­tory framework does the ecolog­ical trans­for­ma­tion need?
  • Are democ­ra­cies capable of imple­menting the necessary changes at the required speed, or do author­i­tarian systems win this systems competition?



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