The UN climate conference will continue until November 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. So far, no major progress has been made.
NDR Info Weekly Opinion Commentary by Hendrik Brandt, Editor-in-Chief of the Hannover-based Madsack Media Group
There is no lack of goodwill. So pretty much everywhere. The history of climate and how it is changing to the detriment of all of us is well known. the oft-repeated commitment that you really want to do something. Basically, not much has been achieved, the warming of the planet continues. The target goal of leaving it at 1.5 degrees 2 better than pre-industrial times has been compulsorily agreed upon by the international community for more than ten years. In Germany, the benchmark has been in place for much longer. Representatives of more than 190 countries are now sitting together again in Egypt to find out how to get at least a little closer to the goal. And meanwhile, well-intentioned activists in this country stick to the streets or the walls of museums and think that something can be gained by doing so. Strange. the problem is known and so is what needs to be done, but surprisingly little actually happens.
Accelerate climate protection
One thing is obvious: the Earth can also withstand completely different climatic conditions. It’s not about “saving the planet” as some say, it’s about life on it. For all we know, a decent life in the true sense of the word as part of a diverse and harmonious nature is no longer possible for long if it gets too hot. It is a matter of national and international policy, for each of us to speed things up, in other words to completely reorganize the use of energy in industry, transport and households.
For this to really work, a few prerequisites are needed that transcend all technology. Civilized interaction with each other, reliability in action, and last but not least, the courage to make real changes are important. At present, however, there is a problem with the civilized attitude from the very beginning. This is generally true, as a look at Russia or China shows. But it also applies on a small scale, here with us. There is an elemental aggressiveness in our everyday life that increasingly undermines trust in science, politics, and even neighbors. In such a social climate, it is difficult to agree on a contribution to solving global climate problems, even if it is necessary, reluctantly.
Be civil to each other
For example? Since, for obvious reasons, it is now about using less gas, some of our pools have lowered the water temperature by several degrees. The result: there are much fewer visitors. Parents’ initiatives even seriously complain that it is unreasonable for children to learn to swim in cold water. Meanwhile, several elderly people stand at the edge of the pool and point out that the water had not warmed at all until a few decades ago. The argument is there, but climate protection is far from over. Maybe it won’t be so difficult to sit down and think about how to heat a swimming pool in the future without blowing carbon dioxide into the sky. Or how warm should it really be? If you treat each other in a civilized way, act reliably and do not consider every change to be rude, when you are fed up with prosperity, then you can find a way. This is also possible with new onshore gas terminals.
Many are already up to their necks in water
In this sense, it is good that the Egyptian conference once again broadens the perspective and makes it clear that environmental changes are already causing such serious damage in the world that prevention is no longer theoretical. While we are arguing about the temperature of the pool, people in Pakistan and elsewhere are already up to their necks in water. Or it is missing. Parts of Africa have not received significant rain for years because the clouds are now moving in different directions. It is only a matter of time before these problems reach us. Quite practically or indirectly in the form of refugee trains, the size of which we can hardly imagine.
Help is needed in every corner of the world
Yes of course. Germany’s CO2 emissions are hardly relevant on a global scale, but if there is a significant change here now, at least the sixth-ranked country on the global emissions hit list would suggest that it is possible. With the use of wind, solar, geothermal energy, energy crops, with the intelligent addition of nuclear power and medium hydrogen if necessary, European living standards can be maintained to some extent. At the same time, help is needed in all corners of the world where it is not so easy. It remains to be seen whether our society is ready, whether it can withstand all that. “Uncertainty and fear are not good prerequisites for testing innovations and breaking new ground globally,” Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently said. That’s right. But it couldn’t be, could it?
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