Will global greening reduce CO2 levels

Sustainable development and innovation in the energy sector

Almost all energy scenarios are based on trends that result in enormous growth in energy demand over the next few decades. At international conferences, however, one deals with the opposite: a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, especially the CO2 emissions caused by the consumption of energy. Experts also point to the political risk of dependence on oil and the exhaustion of resources. How should this gap be bridged? How can the existing energy system be made more sustainable? The hopes are mainly directed towards technical progress and innovations. So far, however, no concrete proposals have been made as to the extent to which innovations can actually contribute to reconciling constantly growing energy consumption with the limitations in terms of resource availability and the environment as well as the structural requirements of an energy system. The present study brings together economic, legal, scientific and philosophical competencies with regard to such proposals. Based on a solid reconstruction of the sometimes confusing variety of terms, assessments of the existing energy system are presented and sustainability potentials are shown. The strategically bundled recommendations for action take into account the various conflicting goals of environmental and energy policy and are supplemented by implementation proposals.


CO2 emissions Energy demand Energy use Energy policy Energy systems Energy consumption Sustainability Reefs Greenhouse gas Transport Growth Sustainable development

Authors and affiliations

  • Ulrich Steger
  • W. Achterberg
  • K. Blok
  • H. Bode
  • W. Frenz
  • C. Gather
  • G. Hanekamp
  • D. Imboden
  • M. Jahnke
  • M. Kost
  • R. Kurz
  • H. G. Nutzinger
  • Th. Ziesemer
  1. 1.IMD LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Bibliographic information