The long road to climate neutrality – Knowledge

Even to us journalists, the climate crisis sometimes seems like a huge, almost inscrutable tangle, consisting of threads that are constantly being added and wildly linked with one another, new studies, new theories, acute weather events, uncertainties, forecasts, connections with other major crises, political logic , Lobby interests. Keep the overview? Exceedingly exhausting to impossible.

The result of our journalistic disentanglement attempts: Many different stories in the past few days alone, in which, for example, the Arctic sea ice volume loss since 2007, or the action program, worth billions, with which the federal government also wants to save Moore. We report about the World Water Conference and go on to explain what’s been released over the past week new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to mean.

All these stories explain important and not so small details from the tangle – and yet we also ask ourselves from time to time how much our readers long for overview pieces in addition to all the individual threads: What are they key climate change issues, which is currently the issue? And where are we standing in the great transformation process that the climate crisis is demanding of us?

I would like to give you an almost enlightening overview the latest episode of the SZ podcast “In peace” recommend, in which my colleague Carolin Emcke talks to Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency, about the climate crisis. A kind of “If you want to consume a story on the subject, take this one” episode, which deals with the cascades of global crises, for example. And why it is a problem that until now climate transformation has essentially been thought about in a kind of aseptic space.

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But it is also about the fact that although we as a society have started to turn away from fossil fuels, we have not yet understood the speed at which this is necessary. And how problematic it is at this speed when you consider how long it takes people to get used to structural and moral changes. Messner quotes the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, according to which we automatically fall back on learned thought patterns to 85 percent when perceiving and sorting the world – and only 15 percent can really deal with new arguments, findings, studies (i.e. the individual threads in the ball). For the climate transformation, according to Messner, we would have to get to the automated patterns and basically weave them from scratch. That takes time – which we don’t have.

The fact that the hour and a half conversation, despite this huge dilemma, gives hope rather than a bad mood is due to the curious attitude of the discussants and their view of the opportunities that lie in all of this. Dirk Messner describes himself as a “notorious sustainability transformation optimist”. A word that probably only comes from the German language. And an attitude that is good because it could turn the climate crisis into a description of progress.

(This text is from the weekly Newsletter climate friday you here for free can order.)

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