At least one thing would have been said about 2020 shortly before its end: Lesson learned.
This may even apply to the next global health emergency, at least one cannot imagine that the Federal Republic will slide into a pandemic again without an iron reserve of masks and hygiene articles.
We should also have the basics of infection protection for the next few years.
But the hopes that the coronavirus situation might also give rise to convincing arguments for solving the climate crisis, which had been running almost in secret for all these months, were initially disappointed.
In the spring it still seemed as if the state and citizens were showing what they had not been able to do with the climate so far when dealing with Corona: problem-appropriate action.
When it became known what dangers the virus had in its luggage, politics took action.
Crisis teams have been set up, far-reaching resolutions to ward off the threat have been made and financial aid for those affected has been initiated.
The scientific assessments met open ears in ministries and authorities, and experts were heard across the country.
And the citizens - perhaps the most important aspect - recognized the gravity of the situation, went along with the measures and did their part.
It should have stayed that way if the solution to the corona crisis were to become a blueprint for climate rescue.
Only in retrospect does it become clear how the mood changed from the summer and the discussions about the corona pandemic began to resemble the climate debates that had been going on for many years: After the first shock of knowledge, the hour of relativization struck.
The dangers are great, no question about it, but do we also think about economic issues sufficiently?
Do we not have to weigh much more between the necessary health protection and the severe recession that it brings with it?
Don't we need clearer scientific findings before we paralyze an entire country on suspicion, especially since even researchers have very different assessments of how bad the situation really is?
The looming crisis was far away
Although the experts never tire of emphasizing that the virus has not lost any of its lethality and that society is at the mercy of it as defenseless as ever, the country began to feel safe as the number of infections fell.
The winter, which one already suspected that it would drive up the number of cases again, was far away.
Of course, the comparison between the corona and climate crises is vulnerable because it limps in several places.
Ambitious climate policy, for example, would not result in a shutdown of the economy, contact restrictions and travel bans.
Rather, climate policy is a medium-term, well-organized transformation policy, the fruits of which would make people's lives more pleasant - keyword air pollution.
Prosperity and distributive justice could even increase, better jobs could arise.
Nevertheless, the parallels in dealing with the various crises are interesting, especially with a view to the summer months.
The time between the first and second corona wave in Germany underlines how difficult it is for society to adapt to crisis developments in the medium and long term.
In August, a contribution by researchers led by Kira Vinke from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research appeared in the journal Global Sustainability, in which the authors dealt with the parallels between the corona pandemic and climate change.
Accordingly, it has been shown that people are ready to make short-term, profound changes in their lifestyle in order to curb the virus pandemic.
Conversely, citizens are hesitant when it comes to mitigating the climate crisis with much smaller but longer-term changes in their everyday lives.
An essential difference between corona and climate is now of all things the time window of the options for action: While in the virus situation it is never too late to react with measures to prevent the worst in the case of acutely high case numbers, climate policy requires foresighted action over decades, because today's emissions will fix the situation in 2050 and beyond.
What follows from this?
When communicating about the climate crisis in Germany, the focus should not primarily be on the fact that we are already in the middle of the escalating catastrophe, but that we are at the very beginning compared to what is still to come - but the intensity of our actions today is determined.
More important than an awareness of the threat that is already beginning in the present is one for the future.
The corona pandemic is not over yet, compared to the quiet summer, winter is more like spring, the beginning of the crisis.
So it cannot be ruled out that we will still draw the right lessons.
But not this year anymore, that's for sure.
If you like, I will inform you once a week about the most important things about the climate crisis - stories, research results and the latest developments on the biggest topic of our time. You
If you like, I will inform you once a week about the most important things about the climate crisis - stories, research results and the latest developments on the biggest topic of our time.
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Environmentalists lose battle against Norway's Arctic oil production: Norway's Arctic oil and gas production does not violate the country's constitution.
The Supreme Court dismissed environmental organizations' climate action.
Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images
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Green Paper on Public Safety: Disaster Warning for 2030
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Now Joe Biden has presented his team that is supposed to take up the fight against the climate crisis.
Term of the week: Kyoto Protocol - a milestone in climate policy
Kyoto has long been synonymous with climate protection.
The protocol adopted in 1997 had primarily a symbolic effect.
Its importance is still unbroken.
The climate term of the week.
Have a good new year,
Your Kurt Stukenberg
Your Kurt Stukenberg