The scientific magazine New Scientist calls for action in an unusually sharp form. An editorial says that we are at the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. If everything continues as before, the +1.5 °C will be reached by 2030, and in the following decades the annual average worldwide will rise to +3, +4 and +5 °C, with no end in sight. What is shocking, according to the editor-in-chief, is that there is practically no realistic scenario any more according to which global warming can be limited to 1.5 °C. This is a scenario that is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Only if CO2 emissions drop drastically from 2020, are net zero from 2050 and are compensated by a lot of newly planted forest would this still be possible. All other scenarios envisage geo-engineering, in which CO2 is at least captured and stored underground, but better still sucked out of the atmosphere. According to New Scientist, nobody knows how this could be done.
The limit of 1.5 °C is based on the assumption, based on calculations, that this warming will not have any dramatic effects. At any rate, absolute catastrophes are to be expected from 2 °C onwards. The New Scientist recommends a path to 1.5 °C in 7 steps:
The use of fossil fuels for energy production must end. At the beginning of 2019, however, the worldwide consumption of crude oil exceeded 100 million barrels per day for the first time. Only a quarter of the increase in global energy consumption was taken over by renewable energy sources.
90 % of traffic is currently fuelled by oil, especially air traffic. Transport is responsible for about 25% of climate change – rising by 2.5% per year. Cars must be converted to electricity, air traffic must be reduced to biobenzine and traffic must be reduced by 20% – travel must be dispensed with.
Heating in houses is responsible for 23% of climate change. All houses and apartments must therefore be very well insulated. But in particular, heating with oil and gas must be stopped. New buildings must no longer be built with CO2-intensive steel and concrete, or a way will be found to produce these materials without CO2 emissions.
Energy consumption in industry. In particular, the use of coal must be phased out as quickly as possible. The IPCC is pressing for the development of new production methods that do without CO2. And it is said that this will take time, and therefore an artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere will be unavoidable.
Land use is currently responsible for 25% of climate change. The New Scientist proposes to intensify agriculture and at the same time move away from animal production. Willows are a gigantic source of CO2 and methane. If a forest could be grown there instead, this CO2 would be drawn from the atmosphere.
Removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The IPCC clearly says that 1.5 °C is no longer realistically achievable. Ideas would be: plant new forests or produce biodiesel and intercept and bury the resulting CO2.
Change your own way of life. Praiseworthy New Scientist says first of all that you have to become vegan. Further suggestions are: More on foot or by bike, significantly less by car and certainly not by plane. Heat as little living space as possible and isolate your own living area as much as possible. Have fewer children. Less energy consumption at home, i.e. do not use a tumble dryer, do not keep electrical appliances on standby, set the hot water tank to a lower temperature. And especially in offices, lights should be turned off overnight, computers turned off and phone chargers disconnected.
To be honest, I can’t even imagine that humanity could bring about such a global change. Nevertheless, or precisely because of that, I will be taking part tomorrow in the climate strike and the worldwide protests.