Desire and reality in climate protection

Flight shame and veggie burgers will hardly help in the fight against climate change. What is needed is something in which Germany is a world leader.

Climate activists in front of the Bundestag

WITHWipe wish and reality are worlds apart in the fight against climate change: In order to ensure that no greenhouse gas is emitted by 2050, investments in new oil, gas and coal production are no longer permitted anywhere in the world, the experts at the International Energy Agency calculate ( IEA). Cars with combustion engines would have to disappear from the world market as early as 2035.

How can this distant climate world go hand in hand with the status quo and unstoppable progress in poorer countries? In the emerging countries, three times as much electricity will be required by 2050 as it is today, and traffic around the world will double by then.

Applause in the election campaign

And as long as renewable energies are not available everywhere in a sufficient, safe and storable manner, governments will not be able to avoid investing in fossil fuels. Since 2010, an average of more than half a trillion dollars has gone into oil, gas and coal every year. Such investment flows cannot be dried up overnight or redirected towards renewables.

Bringing desire and reality together seems like a suicide mission. If this greatest transformation in recent human history can be possible at all, it will be through new technologies.

Clean steel production, electric and hydrogen cars, more efficient solar and wind power plants are the key to success – not moral appeals and behavioral changes. The latter can enable a maximum of 8 percent of the necessary savings, clarify the authors of the energy agency.

German industry is the world market leader in green technologies. This is a tremendous opportunity: Germany, which causes only 2 percent of global emissions, can promote climate protection with its products and earn good money from it.

However, this does not match the skepticism towards new technologies in one’s own country. For example, unlike in other countries, injecting CO2 underground, which is likely to be essential for climate neutrality, is prohibited. Changing this is more beneficial for the climate than making domestic flights more expensive – but unfortunately it doesn’t bring any applause during the election campaign.