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ifo economist Pittel on the WBGU report: European digitalization strategy needed

Summary:
Today, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) is submitting a report entitled “Towards our common digital future” to Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister of the Environment. The report examines the challenges and opportunities of digitalization and highlights how they affect the sustainable development of the economy and society. Karen Pittel, member of WBGU and Director of the ifo Center for Energy, Climate and Resources, says: “Designing digitalization initiatives is about more than short-term issues like providing internet access in remote regions. It is particularly important to develop a European digitalization strategy that preserves Europe’s

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Today, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) is submitting a report entitled “Towards our common digital future” to Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister of the Environment. The report examines the challenges and opportunities of digitalization and highlights how they affect the sustainable development of the economy and society.

Karen Pittel, member of WBGU and Director of the ifo Center for Energy, Climate and Resources, says: “Designing digitalization initiatives is about more than short-term issues like providing internet access in remote regions. It is particularly important to develop a European digitalization strategy that preserves Europe’s competitiveness without jeopardizing its values.”

In its report, WBGU emphasizes that it is not only policymakers who must grapple with digitalization, because this new era also calls for sustainability strategies and concepts to be reworked from the ground up. The most pressing short-term challenges relate to the attainment of global sustainability and climate goals. Without appropriate policy frameworks, the digital transformation threatens to further accelerate not just resource and energy consumption, but environmental and climate degradation as well. But it is also essential to create the conditions now for coping with the medium- and long-term challenges that digitalization may entail for the economy and society. This is a particularly thorny problem when it comes to getting the economic framework right – not only in energy and climate policy, but also as regards labor markets, public finances, and economic cooperation, to name but a few examples.

A detailed press release from the WBGU and a summary of the report can be found at: https://www.wbgu.de/.

Press release from the WBGU (PDF Download).

Clemens Fuest
Clemens Fuest took over from Hans Werner Sinn as chairman of the IFO Institute in April 2016. He is professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Munich.

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