Conference Summary: The Great Transformation - Greening the Economy

Conference Summary: The Great Transformation - Greening the Economy

Conference Summary: The Great Transformation - Greening the Economy

July 5, 2010
The Great Transformation – Greening the Economy
Conference Summary

This summary divides up the wide range of issues discussed during the two-day conference into four broader components of the Great Transformation.  Most of these classifications are not clear-cut, however, and many discussions were cross-dimensional and pertain to other components as well.

 An extended version of the Conference Summary is available on the conference website.


  • Smart Policies: political parameters and regulatory instruments, frameworks that will effectively guide us into a post-fossil age

International Frameworks to combat climate change
Although the Copenhagen summit was not really endorsed as a success by most speakers at the conference, it was pointed out that many important things did result from it, especially the high level of attention that world leaders paid to the issue.  There was an overwhelming consensus to continue to pursue binding targets through the UNFCCC process; however, there were also calls to build quickly on the momentum by using other frameworks and complementary processes. 

One such suggestion came from Andrew Light of the Center for American Progress, who advocated the ‘Core Elements’ proposal, published by his institution and the United Nations Foundation.  This proposal would achieve 70% of reduction goals by 2020 by focusing on four core elements and working with the seventeen largest economies of the world (the EU counted as one). 

Climate Change Legislation in the United States
There are currently two bills in the United States Congress that contain carbon reduction targets and include a cap and trade system, as well as a range of incentives for developing renewable energies. If a climate package bill is not passed, there is what Andrew Light called a ‘fail-safe mechanism’ that will go into effect.  Under the Endangerment finding by the EPA and a ruling by the Supreme Court on the Clean Air Act, this would give the government the ability to regulate greenhouse gases including CO2 even if Congress does not pass legislation.  There was hope by a few panelists that the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will invigorate calls to move away from a fossil fuel economy. 

ETS (European Union Carbon Trading Scheme)
In a panel devoted entirely to this carbon trading scheme, all the panelists agreed that ETS is a successful regulatory mechanism which has led to reduced carbon emissions as well as alterations in investment strategies by power companies because of the long-term nature, and done all of this despite the economic crisis.  All the panelists preferred a cap and trade solution to emissions over a tax option to curb emissions because it offers flexibility, signifies long-term commitment, and sets limits on emissions. Unfortunately the prospects of a carbon-trading program developing globally or in other regions are dim at this point.

Green City Policies
Suggestions and examples of policies that shape modern cities to be greener and more sustainable were discussed in two forums. There was a consensus on the importance of goal-oriented and specific policies at the municipal level to achieve a greener urbanity. The retro-fitting of older buildings and increasing energy efficiency are only two examples of policies that can be fulfilled by public and private sector cooperation in cities. 

General Guidelines and Goals of the Great Transformation
There was wide endorsement for the need for massive public and private investment in the Great Transformation and the necessary steps it entails.  Investment in research and development are critical for innovation and entrepreneurship, and Western countries need to act accordingly. 

Renate Künast, the chairwoman of the parliamentary group Alliance 90/The Greens emphasized that the Great Transformation and the Green New Deal are not about creating a designated ‘green sector or industry’ or creating ‘green collar’ jobs, but that the objective is to reform all sectors and make all jobs green jobs - that this transformation is all inclusive.

Although there is evidence that there will be a net gain in jobs and growth in the long term from a transformation to a carbon-free economy, there was a sobering reminder that in the short term, there will be losers and the transformation will in fact impact certain sectors.  This is something that politicians and experts need to be honest and sensitive about.


  • Smart Technologies: innovative technologies and key projects for an ecological turnaround

Christopher Flavin, the President of the Worldwatch Institute, claimed that we are currently in ‘a period of technological and policy acceleration,’ and that there is a tremendous momentum now in technological developments and instruments designed to move us to a carbon-free or carbon neutral society.

Energy Efficiency
Great strides are currently being made and can still be made in increasing energy efficiency, and this point was best illustrated by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker who presented research from the book ‘Factor Five,’ in which he and his co-authors present how much can be achieved in this field.  It proves that we can get five times more energy from each kilowatt we use, just by being more efficient.  He also described how this technology can cut resources required for given sectors and raise productivity.  This technology continues to develop, as evidenced by the fact that this book and its research are only a continuation from an earlier version called ‘Factor Four’ which was published only in 1997.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
One forum dealt solely with whether or not CCS is a feasible idea, and what advantages and disadvantages the pursuit of this technology would entail.  While several panelists support pursuing CCS research and development, this was not a consensus.  All of the panelists agreed that renewable energies are the long-term solution to climate change challenges and want to see a movement away from coal.  The difference in opinion was whether or not CCS is a ‘bridge’ solution until this happens. However, even among the panelists who would like to see development of CCS, there was an admission that there are many unanswered questions about the technology, especially as to whether it would be cost-efficient and how viable storage options are.  There was also broad acknowledgement that there might be difficulty in getting public support, especially for storage.


  • New Alliances: actors and alliances that need to cooperate to stop climate change

Jermone Ringo, of the Apollo Alliance, gave a moving introduction to the topic of new alliances and actors in the Great Transformation.  He spoke about the green movement which must engage the ‘poor, the middle class, the white, the black, the rich,’ and talked about his initiative which works with civil rights groups, faith groups, and trade unions.  He also spoke of making sure that those who have been disenfranchised by change have a voice and are able to make a positive impact.  ‘Alliances of strange bedfellows is what we need,’ he claimed, and indeed these unusual alliances were a major part of the conference.

The most central alliance is a blue-green cooperation, meaning the alliance of the green movement with representatives from the industrial and labor organizations.  Michael Sommer of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) spoke at length about this type of alliance, and remarked that during the recent G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, the steel industry helped organize events on clean energy. He embraced this cooperation in his speech and pointed out he was open for more blue-green cooperation in Germany as well.  Harald Kächele suggested ‘fireside chats’ with trade unions, where the press is not involved and open discussions can be held.  Renate Künast pointed out that labor organizations and greens have many of the same interests, such as making work more efficient and most productive through minimizing materials and energy.

Many proponents of the blue-green alliance also pointed out that there are inherent tensions within such an alliance, because they simply have differing viewpoints on some issues.  Mr. Sommer spoke about labor organizations helping the Greens get started with renewable energy firms, but having to make sure that working conditions were safe and appropriate.  Hans-Jürgen Urban of the German industrial union IG Metall spoke about a learning process during blue-green partnerships, and he is open to forge alliances with the individual political parties.

Networks between cities were suggested at different moments throughout the conference to achieve sharing of information, experience, processes, and successes and failures of specific initiatives and policies.

Stephen Mutimba from Camco Kenya urged more cooperation between civil society and the private sector in Africa in order to get enough support for renewable energy productions and projects off the ground.

Renate Künast pointed out that the European Union needs to reach out to its neighbors in African and the Middle East and in Eastern Europe through its Neighborhood Policy in order to achieve gains in the field of renewable energies and to coordinate energy policies.


  • Green Society: fundamental changes and debates that will shape our societies

One clear consensus throughout the conference was that for a comprehensive approach to combating climate change it is not enough to develop only policy and technologies, but rather a cultural and social shift is required as well. 

Consumers and Lifestyles
One panel was devoted to the green lifestyle and the power of the consumer. There was a consensus that consumers are overwhelmingly interested in making choices that are good for the environment and are sustainable, however in practice people consume without a clear political goal, and are generally unable to commit large amounts of time and energy to making decisions.  Therefore it is important to have labels that are clear, honest and effective.  However the wallet has a significant vote, and people often only invest in green products when they can see that it makes financial sense for them to do so.

The main theoretical debate of the panel was to what extent we can realistically combat the consumerism mindset and habits of our society.  Author Kathrin Hartmann and Member of Parliament for the Alliance 90/The Greens Bärbel Höhn argued that forgoing or relinquishing certain things products can be fun, for example waiting for strawberries to be in season locally and only eating them then.  However, Klaus Müller of the Consumer Advice Center North Rhine-Westphalia and Andre de Freitas of the Forest Stewardship Council were more skeptical of making the concept of this forgoing of products more acceptable and of trying to drastically change consumption habits, such as drinking coffee. They argued that people fundamentally want to consume, and enjoy doing so, and warned against efforts to do too much too fast.

The concept of ‘green washing’ was also explained during the panel, and there was a disagreement among the panelists as to whether voluntary efforts on behalf of companies to accredit their products as more eco-friendly have a positive or negative effect.  Ms. Hartmann argued that regulations should be in place that can be monitored and enforced, while Mr. Müller and Mr. Freitas saw more benefits to allowing companies or industries to have their own labels or standards.

Outlook on Green Mobility
A panel on the future of mobility focused mostly on personal transportation options in an urban environment, and all of the participants agreed that mobility will look very differently in the future, and that there is a basic human need for mobility.  However, there was no consensus on exactly how this future mobility would look.  Representatives from Daimler and BMW had a stronger focus on the continuation of individual mobility solutions such as cars, while the other panelists emphasized shared collective modes. 

The panel generally agreed that in the future there needs to be a stronger linkage between different types of transportation, a so called multi-modal system where many different types of transportation intersect. New projects linking cars and public transportation are underway, and Daimler has had positive results with its Car2go program, and BMW would like to offer a subscription for public transportation along with each new Mini model that it sells.

The introduction of electric cars was debated on the panel as well.  Although one panelist vaunted it as saving on emissions and perfect for an urban environment, it remained unclear on how widespread introduction of electric cars could be achieved.  Overall, it was viewed as only one possible part of the solution.

Publication Cover Boell.Thema 1/2009 Green New Deal


Böll.Thema Number 1/2010 - Going Green

No doubt, Copenhagen was a major setback. Although much remains to be done, the great transformation is on its way: within the energy sector, in construction, in industry – and in Europe, the US, and China alike. To be sure, political decisions will be a major factor in how swiftly and powerfully change will occur. Yet, the future is not the exclusive domain of governments. All of us can be and will have to become actors in an ecological turnaround.

Table of contents and the complete publication.


Böll.Thema Number 1/2009 - Green New Deal

A green wave is currently sweeping the United States. Renewable energies and environmentally friendly technologies are being promoted on a large scale. We are in the middle of a transformation crisis for capitalism - clearly a paradigm change is under way. This issue of Böll.Thema sheds light on how we can set the course for the future.

Table of contents and the complete publication.

Conference Documentation "The Great Transformation - Greening The Economy"
May, 28-29th 2010
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin

Audio and Video recordings of the conference are provided for downloading below. The links to audio files and video streams can be found in the conference agenda. A complete set of audio files can be downloaded here. Please be aware that the conference was bilingual, therefore some of the recordings are partly in German.


Friday, 28th May 2010 

  • Ralf Fücks, President, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (MP3)
  • Michael Ettlinger, Vice Presiden for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress (MP3)
  • Andre Wilkens, Director Centre for International Affairs, Stiftung Mercator (MP3)


– Beyond Copenhagen – Greening the Economy 

  • Andrew Light, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress 


  • Renate Künast, Member of the German Bundestag, Chairwoman of parliamentary group, Alliance 90/The Greens  (MP3)
  • Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Spanish State Secretary for Climate Change (MP3)
  • Andrew Light, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (MP3)
  • Stephen Mutimba, Managing Director, Camco Kenya (MP3)
  • Moderation: Ralf Fücks,  President, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung


– Political Parameters and Regulatory Instruments 
Panel Discussion

  • Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Environmental Scientist and Climate Expert (MP3)
  •  Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Programm, World Resources Institut (MP3)
  • Jürgen Trittin, Member of the German Bundestag, Chairman of parliamentary group, Alliance 90/The Greens (MP3)
  • Matthias Machnig, Minister of Economics, Labour and Technology of Thuringia, Social Democratic Party SPD (MP3)
  • Moderation: Barbara Unmüßig, President, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung


Forum Round I
Ia    Research for the Great Transformation


  • Fred Steward, Professor für Innovation und Nachhaltigkeit, Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster (MP3)
  • Uwe Schneidewind, Präsident, Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH (MP3)
  • Michael Gallagher, Senior Adviser und Direktor, Ehemaliger Präsident und Leitender Geschäftsführer, Westport Innovations Inc. (MP3)
  • Moderation: Dagmar Simon, Leiterin, Forschungsgruppe Wissenschaftspolitik, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)

Ib    Green Protectionism or Open Markets?

  • Vesile Kulaçoğlu, Director, Trade and Environment Division, World Trade Organization
  • Karsten Neuhoff, Research Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) (MP3)
  • Winfried Hoffmann, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Solar Business Group, Applied Materials, Inc.
  • Moderation: Tilman Santarius, Head of Division, International Climate and Energy Policies, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Ic    Greemomg the Cities - City Profiles and Pathways

  • Malena Karlsson, Stockholm Glashusett (MP3)
  • J. Victor Hugo Páramo Figueroa, Director General for Air Quality Management, Mexico City Environment Secretary (MP3)
  • Dale Medearis, Environmental Planner (MP3)
  • Hep Monatzeder, Deputy Mayor of the City of Munich (MP3)
  • Moderation: Nikolaus Bernau, Editor, Berliner Zeitung


Id    Quo Vadis Carbon Trading?

  • Guy Turner, Director, Carbon Markets, New Energy Finance (MP3)
  • Johannes Enzmann, Policy Officer, Directorate-General Environment, European Commission (MP3)
  • Thomas Heller, Co-Director, Rule of Law Programm and Stanford Program in International Law, Stanford Law School (MP3)
  • Moderation: R. Andreas Kraemer, Chairman, Ecologic Institut, Washington DC

– Breakthrough Technologies and Flagship Projects

  • A Conversation with Christopher Flavin, President, Worldwatch Institute
    Moderation: Hermann Ott, Climate Policy Spokesperson, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
    (MP3 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)


Foren Runde II

IIa    Green Investment – Financing the Great Transformation

  • Tom Burke, Founding Director of E3G and Environmental Policy Advisor to Rio Tinto plc (MP3)
  • Gerhard Schick, Member of the German Bundestag, Chairman Alliance 90/The Greens (MP3)
  • Moderation: Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (MP3)


IIb    Towards 100% Renewables

  • Eicke Weber, Director, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE  (MP3)
  • Michaele Schreyer, Former member of the European Commission, Vice-Presiden of Network European Movement Germany (MP3)
  • Martin Rocholl, Policy Director and Programme Director for Transport, European Climate Foundation  (MP3)
  • David Porter, KEMA Consulting Europe  (MP3)
  • Moderation: Lars Grotewold, Coordinator, Climate Change Program, Stiftung Mercator

IIc    CCS vs. Renewable Energies? - Complementar Technology or Dead End?

  • Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Bundestag, Energy Spokesperson Alliance 90/The Greens (MP3)
  • Agata Hinc, Project Leader "Low Emmission Economy", demosEUROPA - Centre for European Strategy   (MP3)
  • Cécile Maisonneuve, Vice President, International Agenda and Prospective, Areva  (MP3)
  • Jesse Scott, Programme Leader, Europe in the WorldWelt, E3G  (MP3)
  • Moderation: Camilla Bausch, Head of Climate and Energy, Ecologic Institut  (MP3)

IId    Green Urbanism – Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development

  • Peter Head, Director, Planning and Integrated Urbanism business, ARUP  (MP3)
  • Matthias Schuler, Transsolar; Professor for Environmental Technologies, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University  (MP3)
  • Alfred Oberholz, Coordinator of the project „Innovation City“  (MP3 anhören)
  • Moderation: Elke Pahl-Weber, Professor at the Institure for Urban and Regional Planning (ISR), Berlin University of Technology, Head, Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR)

IIe    New Mobility - The "green" Mobility Products of the Future

  • Weert Canzler, Research Fellow, Research Group Science Policy Studies, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)  (MP3)
  • Jérôme Guillen, Director, Business Innovation, Daimler AG  (MP3)
  • Michael Cramer, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens/EFA  (MP3)
  • Glenn Schmidt, Head, Planning and Steering for Governmental Affairs, BMW Group  (MP3)
  • Moderation: Wiebke Zimmer, Researcher, Infrastructure & Enterprises, Institute for Applied Ecology


Saturday, May 29th, 2010 

Social Media and Climate Change 

  • Malte Spitz, Board Member, Alliance 90/The Greens (MP3)
  • Tom McMahon, New Partners  (MP3)
  • Julius van de Laar, German Elections Campaigner at  (MP3)
  • Moderation: Jon Worth, Euroblogger


– Actors and Alliances
Jerôme Ringo, Senior Executive for Global Strategies, Apollo Alliance

Panel Discussion 

  • Jerôme Ringo, Senior Executive for Global Strategies, Apollo Alliance (MP3)
  • Cem Özdemir, Chairman, Alliance 90/The Greens (MP3)
  • Michael Sommer, Chairman, The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) (MP3)
  • Moderation: Carlos Mulas-Granados, Direktor, IDEAS


Foren Runde III 

IIIa    Green Lifestyle and the Power of Consumers

  • Klaus Müller, Chairman, Consumer Advice Center North Rhine-Westphalia  (MP3)
  • Andre de Freitas, Executive Director, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) (MP3)
  • Kathrin Hartmann, Author  (MP3)
  • Moderation: Bärbel Höhn, Member of the German Bundestag, Vice-Chairwoman of parliamentary group, Alliance 90/The Greens

IIIb    Enabling Environments - Transformation in Partnerships between North and South

  • Alina Averchenkova, Senior Analyst, International Climate Policy, First Climate AG (MP3)
  • Frank Momberg, Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Development, Fauna & Flora International (MP3)
  • Stephen Mutimba, Managing Director, Camco Kenya (MP3)
  • Moderation: Andrew Light, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (CAP)



IIc    Transforming Society - New Alliances

  • Hans-Jürgen Urban, Executive Board Member, IG Metall (MP3)
  • Harald Kächele, Federal Chaiman, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid)  (MP3)
  • Margrete Strand Rangnes, Deputy Director,  Blue Green Alliance (MP3)
  • Moderation: Cem Özdemir, Chairman, Alliance 90/The Greens

IIId    A Green New Deal for Cities and Local Communities?

  • Hans Mönninghoff, Erster Stadtrat und Wirtschafts- und Umweltdezernent, Stadt Hannover  (MP3)
  • Sandy Taylor, Head of Economic and Environmental Affairs Department, City of Hannover (MP3)
  • Jens Lattmann, Head of Economy and Environment Department, German Association of Cities (MP3)
  • Bas Boorsma, Director, Internet Business Solutions Group and Head, Connected Urban Development, CISCO Systems, Inc. (MP3)
  • Moderation: Dale Medearis, Environmental Planner (MP3)

–  Sustainable Growth - Progressive Growth? 
Keynote (German)

  • Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens/EFA (MP3)


Panel Discussion

  • Ralf Fücks, President, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (MP3)
  • Jiahua Pan, Senior Fellow und Vizedirektor, Research Centre for Sustainable Development (RCSD) an der Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) (MP3)
  • Michael Ettlinger, Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress (MP3)
  • Derek Eaton, Programme Officer, UNEP / DTIE - Economics & Trade Branch (MP3)



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