Conference “Ecology & Freedom”
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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