What is the worst-case scenario: What could Saxony-Anhalt look like without climate protection in 2050?
Claudia Dalbert describes the problems Saxony-Anhalt could face if nothing was done about global warming in the next 30 years: the cities would be less livable due to the increasing heat. There would be conflicts over water in Saxony-Anhalt. It is unclear how agriculture would develop, what could still be planted at all. Because there would probably be no precipitation in summer and shift into the cooler months, according to Dalbert.
Smoke adds that damage from heat, flood, or drought could increase. This increase does not have to be linear. The damage could also increase exponentially.
So that the average temperature of the earth only warms up by around two degrees, CO2 emissions have to be reduced – to zero in the medium term. The people in the discussion agreed on that. Because CO2, carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas that is the main cause of global warming.
For example, CO2 is generated in the energy and transport sectors. In Rahmstorf’s view, the most important measure to reduce CO2 emissions is a “realistic CO2 price”. The Federal Environment Agency has calculated that a ton of CO2 should actually cost 180 euros, said Rahmstorf. This price must be paid according to the polluter pays principle, so that not the general public has to bear all the costs, but those who have emitted the CO2.
Rahmstorf also emphasizes: Even if CO2 emissions are reduced to zero at some point – according to the climate protection plan, Germany wants to achieve this by 2050 – the carbon dioxide that has already been emitted will not be gone by then. CO2 has a long half-life; it will remain in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years. The consequences of global warming would therefore be felt for a long time to come. This is why Rahmstorf sees climate change as a more serious crisis than the corona pandemic. Climate change should therefore also be treated as a crisis, but without despair, “because we actually know the possible solutions”.