Topic Environment and Technology
Global population growth, climate change, scarcity of resources, safe and clean energy supply, and global environmental pollution make us face big challenges that often can only be mastered by using innovative technologies and technical progress. Managing these challenges is associated with major economic chances for those, who are technology leaders on “green” markets. Use of these chances contributes to the protection of the environment and the well-being of Germany as a location of industry and research. In the future, scientific-technical developments have to be designed such that these future markets will be opened up and technology will be applied largely without any negative impacts on the environment. For this purpose, it is required to prospectively assess the environmental impacts of technology and its potential applications over the complete lifecycle from the development to production, to use, to disposal. As the type of technology use is determined by man, analysis of impacts on the environment also has to consider social and economic boundary conditions and trends as well as interactions of technology, society, economy, and the environment. On this basis, requirements on the development and application of environmentally compatible technology can be derived and existing technical potentials to reduce environmental burdens can be exhausted in an optimum manner.