This is probably no coincidence: just as the 28th World Climate Change Conference (COP 28) begins in Dubai, both the conference and the Higher Administrative Court in Berlin-Brandenburg have strengthened climate protection.
The local court is forcing the German government to present effective emergency climate programs for transport and buildings as quickly as possible. Environmental associations such as Germanwatch and Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which brought the case, are celebrating the ruling. COP28 also began with good news in Dubai. The fund for damage and losses caused by climate change in small island states, which was agreed at COP27, comes into force with immediate effect and has been made operational. The host country and Germany pushed for this. The fund has so far been filled with 400 million dollars.
It’s a double whammy for the climate. It is also absolutely necessary, because the industrialized countries in particular are lagging miles behind their climate protection commitments, even though they are the ones responsible for the climate crisis. A German person emits around 20 times more greenhouse gases than an Indian or African.
Good news, at least at the beginning of the conference. Environmentalists and climate enthusiasts are less optimistic about its progress. For a long time, the topic was suppressed and postponed at the world climate conferences. Now, however, the confidence of developing countries in the financial commitments of industrialized nations is being strengthened.
Two issues in particular are in question: Will the phase-out of fossil fuels succeed and will the tripling of renewable energies worldwide by 2030 really be agreed and supported by the oil-exporting countries?
In Germany, the federal government and the Bundestag must now implement the decisions of the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Regional Court. This could be a boost for heat pumps and thermal insulation, but also for a 100/80/30 speed limit. Rising CO2 prices and the payment of a climate bonus that rewards climate-friendly action could also be helpful. This could save millions of tons of CO2 in Germany in the future.
In addition, climate-damaging subsidies will be seriously put on the political agenda for the first time. A ground-breaking ruling, unless the Federal Administrative Court overturns it. In addition, the Federal Government must now for the first time deal with the reduction of climate-damaging subsidies such as diesel and kerosene subsidies as well as the company car privilege. According to calculations by the Federal Environment Agency, this amounts to 65 billion euros.
The climate crisis is also a major health crisis in the future. Around 60,000 people in the European Union died from the unaccustomed heat in the heatwave year 2003. In China, around 600,000 people died from the heat in 2022. The climate catastrophe is already causing great human suffering and increasing damage worldwide. The floods in the Ahr valley alone caused over 40 billion euros in damage in Germany.
Climate scientists see COP28 as the last chance to perhaps just achieve the Paris climate target of 1.5 degrees of warming compared to pre-industrial times. In reality, the world is on a three-degree course. And this year 2023 will almost certainly be the warmest year for around 450,000 years.
The world is waiting for more positive news from Dubai
Since 1990, i.e. after 28 world climate conferences, we have almost doubled global greenhouse gas emissions instead of reducing them. The only ray of hope is the accelerating expansion of solar energy and the increasing sale of electric cars.
The world climate conferences are currently the most important global event – precisely because the international situation is so threatening. That is why 70,000 participants from 195 countries have gathered for COP28. The outlines of a new world order will be shaped in Dubai over the next two weeks. After all, even the USA and China are still working together here. Climate policy is geopolitics. Global politics is being negotiated here. Progress is still possible. The operating system of the global economy must be rapidly converted from fossil-nuclear to renewable.
No country is immune to global warming. But all countries can switch to renewable energy. It is climate and environmentally friendly, cheaper than the old energy and the sun will continue to shine for around 4.5 billion years, while coal, gas, oil and uranium will run out in a few decades. What’s more, the sun sends us around 15,000 times more energy than all eight billion people consume today. The solution to the millennium question is in the sky.