Climate talk on “Hard but fair”: Hinrichs: “We are being ripped off”

Climate talk at “Hard but fair”
Hinrichs: “We’re being ripped off”

By Marko Schlichting

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The disaster fund that is being launched at the beginning of the World Climate Conference is “groundbreaking”, “phenomenal” and “historic”. That’s what those who worked on it say. Carla Hinrichs from Last Generation thinks this is window dressing.

The World Climate Conference, which opened last Thursday in Dubai, started positively: the states agreed on a disaster fund from which climate damage will be financed. Germany paid $100 million, as did the United Arab Emirates, and other countries followed suit. The President of the COP28 conference, Sultan Al-Jaber, was full of praise: It was “historic” and “phenomenal” that this decision was made at the beginning of the conference. Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulz from the SPD was also enthusiastic and spoke of a “groundbreaking decision”. The hundred million euros, around 0.2 per thousand of the federal budget, are intended primarily to benefit developing countries that suffer from the climate policies of the world’s major nations.

Climate activist Carla Hinrichs from the Last Generation can’t do much with the fund. On “Hart aber fair” on ARD she clearly expresses her displeasure. “We are being fooled,” she says: “We are being fooled by this conference, we are also being fooled by the international community, but especially by our own government, by its decision-makers, who now want to sell us that it is a big one A coup is when you put a hundred million – a hundred million – into the fund.” For comparison: According to a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics, the flooding in the Ahr Valley caused damage worth more than 40 billion euros.

Climate change global problem

Climate change is a global problem that national governments must tackle, says the President of the IFO Institute, Clemens Fuest. The task of the World Climate Conference in Dubai is to take stock of what has been achieved so far. It is already clear: by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 43 percent compared to 2019. The current conference is intended to ensure this. But according to a UN report on the status of national climate efforts, the current national climate plans of the almost 200 participating states only lead to a reduction in global emissions by a full two percent.

There’s definitely still a lot to do. Peter Altmaier from the CDU, whose Ministry of Economic Affairs was largely responsible for the climate protection law criticized by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2021, also knows this. For him, it has been clear for thirty years that humans are contributing to climate change: “We have a legal and moral duty to ensure that it (climate change) remains within a framework that is compatible with this planet.” A lot has already happened, says Altmaier: “We have reduced CO2 emissions by 40 percent since 1990, but not quickly enough, and not equally in all parts of the world.”

This could lead to the goals agreed at the World Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 not being achieved. ARD weather expert Sven Plöger explains: The warming of the entire earth should not be higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period before 1900. “If we were to apply all the adjustment screws that we have decided so far, then we would have the chance of getting to 2.1 degrees.” However, the UN report on the World Climate Conference sees things differently. It predicts global warming of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees if all climate commitments are met. Nevertheless, Plöger appeals not to give up hope for a solution to climate change.

Altmaier praises national measures

As far as the national fight against climate change is concerned, the record during his time in government as environment and economics minister is impressive, said Altmaier. “We’ll see which others were more successful than us.”

The deputy leader of the Green Party, Julia Verlinden, seems to have an idea. “We have massively reduced the climate protection gap that the coalition left us with,” she says. CO2 emissions have been significantly reduced, renewables have been massively expanded and the heating transition has been initiated. After the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling, solutions are now being discussed. Verlinden also knows that the financing of some government projects is in jeopardy.

Court: Government is not meeting climate targets

But the federal government is threatened with new trouble: last week, the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court declared its climate protection policy to be unlawful on several points. The traffic light coalition should now present an immediate program for more climate protection in transport and buildings. The federal government initially announced a revision.

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