The report highlights the key findings of the project PolRess. We firstly summarise the central debates on resource policy. We then present a possible action target for the advancement of resource policy: By 2050, the use of materials might be reduced to 10t / capita annually. By this, numerous positive side effects would be achieved for other natural resources such as land, water, air or biodiversity, for which planetary boundaries are already or might be exceeded. A reduction of material inputs into the economic cycle appears as a necessity for environmental policy as this addresses the causes of environmental degradation.
To achieve such a goal, efforts in various policy domains and on different policy levels are required: resource policy is an integration task. market mechanisms alone will neither suffice to achieve the goal of the Federal Government to double the raw material productivity by 2020 nor to achieve the proposed target of 10t / capita until 2050. Therefore, various strategic approaches and policy mixes are discussed: creating awareness on resource efficiency, setting price signals, promoting resource-efficient modernisation, creating fair markets and implementing resource efficiency in foreign trade.
For these strategic approaches, two policy scenarios are derived and analysed in terms of their economic, social and environmental consequences. One scenario is based on an ambitious updating of the current policy mix. An alternative scenario models an induced structural change by 2030. The analysis is carried out with the environmental economic model GINFORS, that covers a range of commodities, sectors, countries and trade. The model calculates effects on emissions, material utilization, employment, value added, investments and other key parameters. The findings of the modelling show that accelerated resource policies can achieve positive effects, inter alia, on economic performance and employment as well as a potential for reducing CO2.
The report concludes with considerations on how the German resource strategy can be strengthened in order to implement such ambitious targets and instruments.