The world’s climate is changing – faster and with more severe impacts than ever projected by climate science. Everywhere glaciers are melting quickly and ice shields in the Antarctic that were breaking away this year were bigger than ever seen.
While the public is expecting UN delegations to reach an ambitious agreement to halt global warming our politicians argue whether they aim for a political or a legally binding outcome. Yet President Obama and Prime Minister Rasmussen who are pushing for a less binding solution are fooling themselves and the international community by assuming a global emergency plan will be achieved with voluntary pledges. We need action that will lead to global emission cuts in the range of 50-85% by 2050 meaning industrialized countries reducing their CO2-output by 45% until 2020 AND additionally assisting developing countries to take a more sustainable development path.
Reading the figures it gets obvious that we can’t afford any longer to offset our emissions elsewhere and keep the current way of life. By buying rights to pollute from poorer countries, we allow our industry to follow old patterns. We do need cuts everywhere and therefore can’t protect our national utilities and industries from making a change. We have to invest into a complete change of energy supply aiming for 100% renewable resources. Further we have to cut our energy need dramatically both by being more efficient and by using less energy. A change like this comes along with challenges and opportunities. We expect more than 100 000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector in Germany but we are also aware that industries which do not adapt to a zero carbon society will have to close down.
As all humans tend to stick to the well known and watch changes suspiciously these changes will hurt in the first place. We therefore need strong international commitments so that all industrialized countries are acting in the same frame and some do not benefit from the actions of others.
Antje von Broock (born 1976) studied Political Science, Communicational and Media Science and Linguistic in Germany (Göttingen, Potsdam and Berlin) and France (Rennes). From 2003 to 2006 she ran the German office of Elisabeth Schroedter, MdEP and followed the deployment of projects under the EU structural funds in Eastern Germany. Since December 2006 she is Head of International Environmental Policy at BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany and responsible for international networks and international climate policy.