Sustainable Development Strategy of the EU

It is clear that the present structures of economies worldwide will not lead to a sustainable development. We deplete non-renewable resources at high rates without engaging to the extent necessary for their replacement by renewable resources. Because rapid climate change can destroy all efforts to reach sustainable development climate change mitigation is the most urgent measure to keep the corridor to sustainable development open. Climate change mitigation encompasses not only CO2 emission reduction, but many more long- and short-lived greenhouse gases and its precursors must be reduced, for example nitrogen oxides (NO + NO2) that - jointly with hydrocarbons - lead to tropo-spheric ozone, whose climate change contribution is already at the same level as accumulated methane. A sustainable development strategy - as adopted by the EU - has to deal with ecologic, economic, social and cultural goals going well beyond mere climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. It is a continuous process searching for the best approach to remain in a sustainable corridor by joint action of science, politics and society in regions, countries and at the international level. As expressed in Schellnhuber (2001), it is a co-evolution involving all actors from the beginning. We still have to learn this joint action.

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