In order to prevent environmental disasters of global proportions, we need to radically reduce toxic emissions and consumption of non-renewable resources within the space of a few decades. This poses an enormous challenge to the financial and the real economy. It requires that we reform and further develop the global economic governance system and restructure incentive systems at national level. We are examining three overarching questions: (1) What instruments of ecological structural policy work in specific contexts and how can they be harmonised with socio-economic goals?; (2) How can the consumption patterns of the rapidly growing middle classes in developing countries in particular be influenced in such a way as to prevent greenhouse gas emissions?; and (3) How can global regulations concerning financial markets, trade, direct investment and technology transfer be reformed in order to support corresponding transformation processes? The unifying elements when researching these questions are consideration of political and economic interests and constellations of actors on the one hand and the interdependence between national policies and global frameworks on the other.