30.10.2021 – 09:00
New Osnabrück Newspaper
Climate economist Edenhofer before the Glasgow summit: We are heading towards four degrees
PIK director calls for EU-US-China initiative for global coal phase-out – “Otherwise the 1.5-degree door will close forever”
Osnabrück. Before the start of the world climate summit in Glasgow, climate researcher Ottmar Edenhofer warned of far more drastic global warming than previously feared: “Emissions continue to rise every year, and dramatically. The current gas price crisis is giving coal an ominous comeback. That means: We control not to 2.7 degrees, but to four degrees, and thus to global warming that can no longer be controlled, which, by the way, would also be really devastating from a purely economic point of view, “said the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in an interview with the” newcomer Osnabrücker Zeitung “(NOZ).
The UN climate secretariat had previously issued the 2.7 degree forecast. However, this is highly questionable, because it will only stay at 2.7 degrees if all countries comply with their voluntary obligations. “It doesn’t look like that at the moment,” said Edenhofer of the “NOZ”. At the Paris climate summit six years ago, the international community committed itself to the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.
“We have to face the realities clearly. We pointed out the renaissance of coal five years ago. Politicians did not want to hear that. Now we are right in the middle,” said Edenhofer. Still, it’s not too late. “Only a global coal exit can save us from ruin, only that would make it possible to keep the 1.5 degrees.” If, on the other hand, all coal-fired power plants that have already been built remain in operation and those that have already been planned are put into operation, they alone would use up the CO2 budget that the earth is still entitled to in order not to exceed the threshold. “If coal is not phased out soon, the 1.5-degree door will close forever.”
Despite his gloomy analysis, the chances for a three-way initiative by the EU, USA and China are “not so bad,” stressed Edenhofer. The USA wanted to become CO2-neutral by 2050, and China no longer wanted to invest any more money in coal-fired power plants abroad, which could already reduce emissions substantially. And with the Green Deal, the EU has put together the most ambitious package to date. “If these three economic powers, the EU, the USA and China, found a climate protection association, agree on minimum CO2 prices and also get India, Russia and Japan on board, then you would already have two thirds of global emissions under one regime. Then we would be one giant step further! “said the PIK director.
Germany and the EU should start talks “very quickly” about a common set of instruments. Glasgow would “possibly be a good place for this,” said Edenhofer. The old framework convention on climate change is not sufficient to achieve the goal in time. “We also need a new format. The core can be a G3 club from China, the USA and the EU, which could also dock with the G7 and the G20. And I hope that the new federal government will act quickly.”
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Original content from: Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, transmitted by news aktuell