Speaker: Ernst Von Weizsäcker

THE BREN SCHOOL OF Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Ernst Von Weizsäcker
Co-Chair, International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bren 1414

"The Case for a Tax Shift From Labor to Energy"

Hosted by John Melack



The world is preparing for a post-Kyoto regime to mitigate global warming. We should reduce emissions by 80% within a few decades. At the same time we want to keep and enhance human welfare, secure jobs, and reduce social tensions. Tradable emission permits can help but have many drawbacks. A revenue neutral ecological tax reform, slowly and gradually progressing seems like the best option. China may go for it, as well as some European countries. When will America join?


Ernst von Weizsäcker is co-chair of the United Nations International Panel for Sustainable Resource Managment and was previously dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. He founded the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy in Germany, which became the largest climate policy think tank in Europe and earned von Weizsäcker recognition as one of the most respected climate policy experts on the continent. He attended several Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the Climate Convention, including the Kyoto COP 3 in 1997, from which the Kyoto Protocol originated. In 1998, he became a member of the German parliament, and was soon chairman of the Environment Committee, overseeing the establishment of the carbon trading regime and the introduction of a powerful incentive system for renewable energies in Germany. His book Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use, co-authored with Amory and Hunter Lovins, was translated into 12 languages, including English, and has since become influential in making energy productivity a key element of climate mitigation policies. From 2003-2004, he served as Germany’s representative on Tony Blair’s Study Group on climate policy, which prepared UK policies for the Gleneagles G8 Summit. Another book, Ecological Tax Reform, which von Weizsäcker wrote with Jochen Jesinghaus, was released during the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and became instrumental to government officials as they introduced ecological tax reform into the climate policy tool kit.



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