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Climate crisis: what to think of the federal government's new goals


The two truths about the new goals of the federal government - and what to think of them: The weekly overview of the climate crisis.

Dear readers,

Let's start with a positive start: Just one week after the Federal Constitutional Court criticized the government's climate plans on key points, the grand coalition presented a revision.

This includes a whopping ten percentage points of ambition surcharge within a few years - by 65, instead of the original 55 percent, the federal government now wants to reduce emissions by 2030.

And the long-term goal of climate neutrality must be met five years earlier.

If everything goes as planned, it will be achieved in 2045 instead of 2050.

If you judge politics according to what is possible, as Angela Merkel said in 2019 about the climate targets that are now being objected to, then it was an excellent week.

In the middle of the election campaign, the exhausted GroKo managed to quickly and without fuss, to make significantly more climate protection possible.

The fact that a warning from Karlsruhe was needed first does not diminish the result.

So far so good.

The peculiarity of the climate crisis, however, is known to be that ambition cannot only be judged by how much effort governments and companies are making in relation to the present.

But above all, it depends on whether the steps are big enough so that the world as a whole reaches the immovably defined climate target in time (stop long-term warming at 1.5 degrees if possible).

If we wanted to ensure the 1.5 degree limit, we would have to drop by 88 percent by 2030

If you ask experts, it wasn't really an exhilarating week.

Wolfgang Lucht, member of the Advisory Council for Environmental Issues (SRU), who advises the Federal Government, told me: »If you follow the Paris requirement of» well below two degrees warming «, the Federal Republic should have at least 68 percent CO₂ by 2030 Saving in 1990, then we have a good chance of staying within our climate budget to some extent. "If we wanted to ensure the 1.5 degree limit, we would have to" even lower it by 88 percent by 2030, "says the scientist.

If you want to pour more water into the wine, you could also mention that the planned tightening should have come anyway, without any supposedly newly discovered ambition or the Federal Constitutional Court - but because of Brussels. In the new EU climate law, which was passed by the Commission, Council of Ministers and Parliament just a few weeks ago, the 27 countries are to reduce their total emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels over the next ten years - previously it was only 40 percent. Because Germany is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the EU, it has to sharpen its national targets.

Even before the ruling from Karlsruhe last week, the Federal Government's Climate Expert Council had calculated that the implementation of the new EU climate target of 55 percent greenhouse gas reduction would mean an increase to 62 to 68 percent for Germany.

By July at the latest, when the EU Commission wants to present its legislative package for the implementation of the Green Deal, it would have been clear that Germany would have to make adjustments.

Nevertheless, there is no need to belittle the development, it is a good foundation - on which the coming government can build.

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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Enlarge image

Federal Chancellor Merkel and Vice Chancellor Scholz: In the middle of the election campaign, the exhausted GroKo managed to quickly and without fuss to make significantly more climate protection possible

Photo: John MacDougall / Pool / AFP

The topics of the week

Climate change in the Union: are the CDU and CSU going green now - or is it just an election campaign?

After the ruling from Karlsruhe, the government has to tighten its climate targets - and pretends that this has always been its greatest wish.

Suddenly what seemed impossible until now should go.

Consequences of the Constitutional Court's climate ruling: "The federal government is


the numbers"

After the landmark ruling from Karlsruhe, the federal government wants to sharpen climate protection.

But she is silent on a key factor, the CO₂ budget for Germany.

Why is that now becoming a problem.

After the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court: Germany does what Brussels demands

on the climate. The Chancellor is to announce higher climate targets this Thursday at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

They would have come anyway - dictated from Brussels.

"Nature" studies on ice melting: Rise in sea level could be halved by 2100

With higher climate targets, researchers found that a dramatic rise in sea level could still be prevented by comparing hundreds of computer simulations.

Otherwise there is a threat of land under.

»Earth overload day:« Germany will live on credit from Wednesday

Environmentalists have calculated that Germany will have used up its supply of natural resources for the current year on May 5th.

The Germans are too wasteful.

Anger about the court ruling: »Peter Altmaier pretends to be the great climate protector.

That's bigoted! «

The Federal Constitutional Court overturned the Climate Protection Act - and thus sparked a new dispute in the governing coalition.

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has her sights set on the Minister of Economic Affairs.

Eco-bonds: Berlin wants to promote sustainable investments

Investments that keep an eye on ecology and ethics are no longer exotic in the financial world.

The federal government now wants to strengthen this trend with targeted funding.


Four meters of sea level rise?

So far it has been assumed that the complete melting of the West Antarctic ice will cause the global sea level to rise by more than three meters. However, it could be that another meter has to be added. The reason for this significant correction lies in the effect of the isostatic compensation. When ice masses that are several thousand meters thick and have pushed the earth's crust down melt, the subsurface slowly rises again as a result. This phenomenon can be seen in Scandinavia, for example. After the ice age glaciers melted, the ground there still rises several millimeters per year. What is special about West Antarctica, however, is that large parts of the earth's surface are currently below sea level. That means,a rise in the subsurface would displace the meltwater that initially flows there into the oceans. Geoscientists are now showing in a study that this actually very slow effect could probably play a role by the year 2100. They found that the earth's crust of West Antarctica is relatively thin and should therefore rise significantly faster than previously thought.

"Rapid postglacial rebound amplifies global sea level rise following West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse"

Pan et al., 2021

Science Advances

Stay confident

Your Kurt Stukenberg

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-05-09

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