How dare they! In the middle of a turning point with war and serious economic and social consequences, young people from the climate movement took to the streets.
Fridays for Future and other climate groups called for a big climate strike worldwide and also in many German cities on Friday. There are people who think it’s outrageous, who say you have to deal with reality now, not with things that are in the distant future or may never happen.
This thinking is based on feelings such as fear and being overwhelmed. How many crises should you solve at the same time? If climate activists stick themselves in museums, streets or pipelines, we get angry, aggressive, scared or ashamed.
We think: We already have enough to do, we can’t need that now! Those feelings are okay. Everyone feels what they carry within themselves. That’s not to say you shouldn’t question those feelings; it doesn’t mean that civil disobedience isn’t right or necessary.
Evolutionarily we are trained to solve things that are immediately ahead of us because they frighten us more than what may come. Any action, even arguing, helps to calm down. Often, however, we do not act very wisely or in a forward-looking manner.
In fact, say economists, we will solve the problems of war, corona, high gas and living costs in the short to medium term. The climate crisis, on the other hand, remains and is getting worse. In the Global Risk Report 2022 from the World Economic Forum, the risks of the world are evaluated according to probability and dangerousness: The climate crisis comes first among the probable risks. According to the analysts, it is not yet the most dangerous, that would be weapons of mass destruction.
Degree the world will get warmer on average in the future. This has serious consequences.
The researchers point out that it is difficult to calculate future models for the climate catastrophe because you have nothing comparable to base the models on. That is why climate researchers recently called on politicians and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to think more in catastrophe scenarios. Because they become more likely.
The emotional is always connected to the factual. The climate activists not only have moral motives, but also see a concrete failure of politics.
One example is law, which the federal government itself does not abide by. There are, for example, the provisions of the emissions budgets that are written down in the Federal Government’s climate law: All ministries must comply with them in order to meet the CO2 reduction targets they have set themselves.
The transport sector, for example, exceeded the specified emissions in 2021. According to the law, an emergency program must then take countermeasures, but what the Federal Minister of Transport wrote in it was rejected as insufficient by the Council of Experts set up for this purpose.
Now the ministry is facing a lawsuit asking the ministry to ensure compliance with the annual emission levels for 2023 to 2030 specified in the Climate Protection Act.
Anyone who breaks their own law should not be surprised if they are no longer believed. Germany will probably have exhausted the emissions budget that is still available to achieve the Paris climate targets of 2015 by 2028. Climate neutrality by 2045 would then be very unrealistic.
Paris had set itself the goal of capping global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees. Now we are marching towards a 2.8 degree warmer world. This means that by 2050 large parts of the earth will no longer be habitable.
It is true that we must and are allowed to stay warm over the winter. We just mustn’t buy it with actions that make extreme heat waves possible in the future. This is the fear that drives youth onto the streets.
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