Protection of Earth system services is essential for sustainable development. This is why a paradigm shift is needed in society and the economy. It is thus up to all actors – from individuals to businesses to nation states – to assume responsibility. The WBGU uses both local and global examples to portray the range of instruments and initiatives, social movements, clubs and alliances with which attempts at climate protection are already being made. This is where the horizontal dimension of a responsibility architecture is forming, in which global civil society is taking on responsibility itself and supplementing the vertical delegation of responsibility to climate diplomacy. In this context, different initiatives can mutually reinforce each other and extend their impact to different actor levels. This world citizen movement increases the legitimation pressure on state actors in the international negotiation system and extends societies’ horizon of values and standards. This strengthens the democratically legitimized mandate of states for tasks that only they can take on: (1) promoting pioneers of climate protection, (2) translating self-commitments based on the Paris Protocol into concrete decarbonization roadmaps and monitoring their implementation, (3) honouring funding pledges and supporting global technology development. This ensures that arrangements agreed at the global level are implemented at the national and local levels. Climate protection is a task for the whole of humankind and must be perceived and tackled as such. International climate policy and civil-society initiatives are not opposed to each other; rather, they can powerfully complement each other. A world citizen movement can show that climate protection in and with society can work and even generate economic benefits. This is the form of interaction in which global climate protection can and must succeed.
Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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