[Climate] Change in Economics

Student Climate Days for Transformation
FU Berlin

German Website

As the first university in Berlin the Freie Universität has declared a state of climate emergency in 2019. Together as a university community we set ourselves seven main goals to be achieved by 2025. One of these is the comprehensive inclusion of the climate crisis in all our teaching. Especially at the faculty of economics this goal seems to be far from being accomplished and our faculty is not alone in this. Internationally the economics discipline has not treated the climate crisis adequately (Oswald & Stern, 2019). As students of our faculty we want to help bring a change to this dangerous status quo. With generous support from the sustainability office of FU Berlin we are organizing a series of events to make the climate crisis the centerpiece in our economic teaching.

Concept

Our way of doing business and the consequences for society and the environment, that is everybody’s concern! Therefore, we will organize several climate days during the year, linked to our plenaries on Mondays at 6 pm. In this context we will discuss climate economic issues together with the interested public and different speakers. The idea is generally to have an input followed by a discussion. Over the course of several months, we will focus on the core topics of transport transition, green fiscal policy, energy transition, and the future of growth. One focus is on a critical examination of these issues and the development of creative impulses for economics and politics. Together with guests from academia and civil society, we will explore future paths and transform the Dahlem campus into a laboratory of ideas.

During the week of June 13 – 17, 2022, we want to bring the climate crisis directly into regular lectures in cooperation with the faculty. We have in mind both the large compulsory modules of the Bachelor, as well as small in-depth seminars of the Master. The aim is to be able to introduce new impulses in each case. In this way, the various aspects of the crisis will be examined and discussed on a lecture-specific basis. Also we will discuss how the topic can be given more space in courses in the long term. In the light of the latest IPCC report, it has once again become clear how important it is that prospective economists are able to deal with climate economics issues at an early stage in their studies in order to create a good basis for later decisions as potential decision-makers. For one week, the students will experience in a very practical way what economics can look like in times of climate crisis. Based on this impulse, we explore with the course coordinators how a change towards a teaching in which sustainability and the limits of the planet are treated according to their importance can succeed in the long term. In addition, we welcome speakers on selected topics to our faculty on individual days after normal classes. All events are open to all interested people. We will announce the dates here on our website, as well as through our social media channels.

About us

Climate change, financial crises, inequality. These are the big topics of our time, which led us to study economics. Unfortunately, we were disappointed to discover that our studies only offer us a one-sided and in many parts flawed perspective on these problems. For more than 20 years now, we have been organizing critical events as a student group in order to change economics. For example, in each of the past 15 semesters we have organized a lecture series that can be credited as a regular module in the VWL Bachelor. Over the years, we have welcomed a wide range of guests to our events, from German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, DIW President Marcel Fratzscher, or Director of the Dezernat Zukunft Philippa Sigl-Glöckner. Together with more than 30 other local groups, we support the Germany-wide association „Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik“ and are internationally connected through our global umbrella organization „Rethinking Economics“. Our demands for a plural economics are thus shared by students at hundreds of other universities worldwide.

More about us
Our Position paper