Ten signals that give hope

Berlin. With floods, droughts and melting glaciers, it is easy to lose hope that man-made climate change can still be slowed down. But they do exist, the signals that can give hope – even if not in large numbers.

“Humanity is still going in the wrong direction: global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, international cooperation is needed, but unfortunately there is less and less of it,” says climate researcher Mojib Latif in an interview with the German Press Agency. “As a scientist, I am relatively frustrated and without much hope. As a person, I say: we have to strengthen and dynamize the positive view. We know how to achieve the Paris climate goals, but we do not implement the knowledge, or do so inconsistently. A lot of things are going in the right direction, but not at the right speed.”

role model function of Germany

Germany has a historical responsibility and, as a large industrial nation, a role model. It therefore makes sense to emphasize national successes in climate protection, even if the global balance sheet shows a different picture, says Latif, who works at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (Geomar). “And Germany has actually achieved a lot there.”

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There is still a long way to go when it comes to expansion, but it is visible. “Hope means there is a way. We don’t have to invent anything first,” emphasizes Latif. “The hope would be that politicians will now change the framework conditions so quickly that the industry will see: There is no other way than that of renewable energies.”

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declining meat consumption

The declining production is likely to have something to do with the above-average rise in prices as well as the declining appetite for meat among Germans, who have been eating less meat for years. The slump was particularly severe last year: 52 kilograms of meat were consumed per person in 2022, around 4.2 kilograms less than in the previous year, the Federal Information Center for Agriculture (BZL) announced at the beginning of April, based on preliminary figures. This is the lowest level since calculations began in 1989.

Foodwatch emphasizes that although meat consumption is falling, it is still far too high for the climate, health and animal welfare. “If we want to achieve the climate goals, the animal population must be at least halved – we are miles away from that.”

Six percent fewer emissions per year

There isn’t much time left. Uba President Dirk Messner recently declared: “In order to achieve the goals of the federal government by 2030, emissions must now be reduced by six percent per year. Since 2010, the average has not even been two percent.”

Huge areas of forest are still being destroyed year after year worldwide. The United Nations Agricultural Organization (FAO) says an estimated 420 million hectares of forest were lost to deforestation between 1990 and 2020. Deforestation continued, but at a slower pace, in the final years of the period analyzed: between 2015 and 2020, the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, compared to 12 million hectares annually in the previous five years.

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According to the association, 274 open packaging shops were members in March. In a challenging environment, the number is currently declining, but many players in the industry are reacting “with a high degree of creativity, innovation and resilience”. The association has 115 members with the status “shops in planning”, “so that we can expect further shop openings”.


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