Intergenerational justice - the greatest challenge of climate policy
We have heard it many times now, the term “climate choice”. Climate activist Luisa Neubauer says the next 5 years are the period in which we have the last chance to still comply with the 1.5℃ limit. The system change in all areas is at the top of the agenda!
YOLO as part of our DNA?
Intergenerational justice should become the linchpin of climate policy. How could it be otherwise? Global warming , floods, forest fires, heat waves and melting polar ice caps - climate change is already clearly noticeable. And yet the ever-approaching catastrophe is still not tangible enough for many to take responsibility and act in a climate-friendly manner. Why is that?
We humans are naturally reluctant to look too far into the future. In principle, we are more interested in the present for the sake of surviving and weight the future much less in our decisions - actually bizarre, isn't it? Where the future can surprise us every second.
However, we find it easy to ignore events that we have not yet directly experienced, which means that we often only imagine the future from our present perspective. Upheaval is always associated with uncertainty and can feel uncomfortable. So we hold on to what has worked for us - yesterday's systematic progress - without questioning whether it would work again; this is also called historically grown path dependency.
And while it remains politically comfortable for our decision-makers, it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable for the young people of this planet. For the first time in human history, this could really fall on our feet. Or our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all future generations who will look back and say: “You failed colossally back in the 21st century”.
So what will happen in the next few years if we continue as before?
The fact is, the worst is yet to come.
A study by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at the end of May made it clear how close the global climate is to exceeding 1.5 degrees. According to this, the global average temperature could exceed the pre-industrial level by more than 1.5 degrees within the next five years. There is a 40 percent chance that this important limit from the Paris climate agreement will be reached between 2021 and 2025, the WMO said
Kai Schöneberg: "The worst is yet to come" , TAZ 2021
The latest "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" draft report ( IPCC ) not only warns of unbearable temperatures, but also of the collapse of entire ecosystems. Among other things, this leads to food shortages and extreme hunger, which could affect up to 80 million people worldwide in the next 30 years.
- 1.5 degrees: heat waves, periods of drought, floods and flood disasters, strong storms and storms, coral reefs are threatened by bleaching, the sea level is rising significantly, which means that residents of flatter island states (e.g. the Netherlands and the North and Baltic Sea coasts) have to be resettled
- 2 degrees: Destabilization of parts of West Antarctica, Alpine glaciers continue to melt, the Arctic becomes ice-free in summer, coral reefs die off
- 3 degrees: The sea level has risen by more than half a meter. Coastal areas partially flooded or only sustainable with great effort; strong change in global weather phenomena, such as distribution and strength of monsoon winds, etc.
The World Database predicts over 200 million climate refugees by 2050 because life on our planet as we know it would no longer be possible in some parts of the world unless we act now.
Climate policy must no longer be an either/or question
The balancing act between intergenerational politics, social justice and prosperity is sporty, but feasible. Climate policy can be the greatest driver for innovations and also lead us economically worldwide into a position of strength and role model function. But for that, and to stay below 1.5 degrees, all parties have to argue about the best possible way, and not about whether this way is to be taken at all.
It can no longer be an either or question. Everyone has to pull together! We need all parties and all their approaches, we need scientists, stakeholders and a council for intergenerational justice.
If we want to stand a chance as a movement, we have to be tactically smart. We must stand in the way of the status quo with all our might and change it.
Carola Rackete: "Be sand in the gears", TAZ 2021
Because there is no such thing as a liberal, conservative, left-wing or green climate. There is only one thing - and we as a society as a whole must take responsibility for this. If we don't, it becomes uncomfortable. Because #they will ask.
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