I would like to take you with me to the Süddeutsche Zeitung tower this Friday, at least in your imagination. Like me, many of the authors of this newsletter work in the science department of the SZ on the 23rd floor of the editorial tower in the east of Munich. Sometimes you can watch a flock of sheep grazing from up here.
When I come into the office in the morning, however, my first glance is usually at the thermal power plant north of the Munich public utility company, which, by the way, still burns hard coal, and whose exhaust gases give a good indication of where the wind is blowing from (currently from the east). And right in front of the tower you can see how trucks and cars jostle on the Autobahn to Munich.
After a few minutes, the computer boots up and the news situation can be outlined. Short trigger warning: When it comes to the climate crisis, most of the news is bad. The drought on the Horn of Africa is the first thing in the morning program today. Scientists have calculated that droughts like this are caused by the climate change have become more likely by a factor of 100. France reacts to the danger of fires and introduces its own forest weather report. A news agency reports on the rapid snowmelt in the US Yosemite National Park, parts of the park are threatened with flooding. And the BBC reports satellites have captured the “best view” of melting glaciers.
Can you still? Either way, it goes on. In Nature A study has been published according to which cities in the Global South suffer particularly from rising temperatures due to high humidity. In the Journal of Hydrology researchers describe how rivers in the USA are increasingly flooded or deep. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announce a study that can only be reported on Monday, so only this much: It’s about how certain animals suffer from climate change.
The series could be continued, it all rains down on us day after day, we can only pick up on a fraction. We try to map the most important developments. For example, this week my colleague Christoph von Eichhorn analyzed what it means that the surface temperature of the oceans is increasing has been at an all-time high for weeks and does not want to go down (SZ Plus). And we select innovations in which we see constructive impulses, such as that species-rich forests apparently can store more carbon than monocultures. On the other hand, we usually sort out what is no longer new. For example the study according to which droughts 4000 years ago caused the mysterious Indus culture to perish. Unfortunately, it shares this fate with so many prehistoric civilizations that it’s hard to know where to begin, Hittite, Egyptian, Mayan, Palau, Arabian Peninsula, or anywhere else.
Every morning begins with such reflections, and in between I look out at the thermal power station and the traffic jam on the freeway, and then I wish that all this news would get the attention it deserved. And sometimes you lose the desire to look out the window.
I wish you a nice, long weekend!