Now people are spitting in their hands again, we lower the gross national product .
Extensive waiver is often considered a solution to the climate crisis.
And why not: abandonment is a luxury issue , right?
But luxury problems are, for a good reason, also first world problems .
And in industrialized nations, just over a billion people live .
Renunciation does not save the world, least of all the third world .
two-story huts in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai
The global view as a traveler
You travel as much as I do? Then you know the global unequal distribution: In the vast majority of countries you have much more money as a traveler than locals.
In the 21st century, more and more of them are crossing the poverty line or are even reaching modest prosperity. We could not just stop it, even if we wanted to.
Abandonment in industrialized countries may be conceivable. But in developing countries that's completely impossible. There people finally want a piece of the cake.
It's not about a few SUVs in industrialized countries. It's about what happens when all of China wants to drive SUVs. Many discussions about the climate crisis lack the global perspective.
You are one of the richest people in the world
We hear about the victims of globalization in the news, but you can not really imagine that from a distance.
Therefore, first a grounding: If you can read this, you probably belong to the richest tenth of humanity.
With 1,000 euros per month of net income, you're richer than 91% of people, according to Global Richlist . With 2,000 euros per month net, you would even be in the top 1.3 percent.
According to Our World in Data, 5 billion people live on less than € 270 per month ($ 10 per day). 3.5 billion people even live on less than 90 euros per month, that's every second person!
Available Daily Budget Worldwide - Source: Our World in Data CC-BY-4.0
Less poverty means more climate crisis
Poverty slowly disappears over the centuries. In exceptional cases, China even reaches decades.
The more money is available, the more the consumption increases. The more consumed, the more climate damage and environmental damage is caused.
Prosperity is harmful to the climate in our economic system. If we want to conquer both poverty and the climate crisis, we must decouple growth and the climate.
This is all the more important because the consequences of the climate crisis in the global South are the worst. Fighting the climate crisis means fighting poverty .
Impossible Burger: 100% flavor, 0% meat
Technology is an alternative to abandonment
The climate crisis is a side effect of technology. But we can just as well replace bad technology with better technology instead of giving it up.
It's too late for a waiver solution anyway. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , it is imperative that we use technology, even to remove CO2 from the air.
Also, many CO2 emissions can be lowered without sacrificing a technology upgrade:
- Agriculture 2.0 : Impossible Food Insects instead of factory farming
- Heat Electricity 2.0 : Renewable Nuclear Power instead of Coal, Oil Gas
- Transport 2.0 : Public transport expansion Rideshares instead of private cars
- Industry 2.0 : Rolling out current technology increasing efficiency
Technological solutions are complicated and expensive. On the other hand, they are socially easier to implement. This is even more the case in developing countries, where abandonment is not an alternative.
These guys from Ethiopia need a role model
Industrialized countries must be a role model
Of course, technology and abandonment are not mutually exclusive. But abandonment must be low enough not to cause no loss of wealth. Industrialized countries must be a role model.
Many people in developing countries look to us industrialized countries. You see in films and TV series, how high our standard of living is and want to live that way.
If we give up too much of our wealth, that does not just lead to acceptance problems with us. We also lose our role model function in the rest of the world.
Of course, we can only be a role model if we act exemplary. Against idleness or bad solutions, the best role model status helps nothing.
For example, the German energy transition is too expensive and ineffective for imitation . In France, electricity costs half as much and per capita CO2 emissions are half that. That's more of a role model, but it also has to get better.
Well meant: call for voluntary meat renunciation
Voluntary resignation certainly does not help
That was my global view of the climate crisis as a long-term traveler. Could I convince you that renunciation alone will not save the world?
If you continue to be convinced of resignation, at least commit to mandatory laws. Voluntary resignation has never worked.
Voluntary resignation assumes that a notable part of the population lives by abstinence. That's a nice idea, but it does not fit the human psyche at all.
To renounce a moral issue is even more harmful than useful. In my article about flying shame , there is more to why it needs laws.
"Climate wants to be fine": politics is inactive
Join in: Fridays for Future Extinction Rebellion
That does not mean that you are powerless personally. There are much better levers than voluntary waivers.
Granted, the policy obviously fails because of the climate crisis. It does not matter which country and which party.
But two major global movements are campaigning for solutions to the climate crisis. Both plan major actions in the coming weeks:
- Fridays for Future calls for a big climate strike for all on Friday, September 20, 2019.
- Extinction Rebellion blocks Berlin and other European capitals from 7 October 2019.
Extinction Rebellion regularly hosts actions, perhaps in your city too. For more information look at an introduction to the XR Café, in many major German cities .
What are your thoughts on the climate crisis?
See you at the demo and the blockade in Berlin?