“Hard but fair” and climate change: “does corona provide the blueprint for the climate?”

Frank Plasberg looked to the future with “Hart aber fair”. Photo: imago / Horst Galuschka / Horst Galuschka

With "Hart aber fair" Frank Plasberg has a strong and an embarrassing moment. And the 22-year-old Carla Reemtsma (Fridays-For-Future) surprised: Refraining from consumption brings little benefit and patio heaters are okay.

Stuttgart – Finally a panel discussion without the Corona topic, but without allusions to the pandemic, “Hard but fair” on Monday on the topic of climate change (“Are we burning up our planet?”) Didn’t work out. Parallels have been drawn several times, and the nature filmmaker and author Hannes Jaenicke – the moderator Frank Plasberg later wanted to convict environmental hypocrisy – described the corona crisis as “no brainer” compared to the serious consequences of climate change. Scientists had warned against this 30 years ago without anything having changed, although today politicians are constantly listening to virologists and immediately responding to any advice.

Grilling a neck steak? That must be allowed

And at the end of the program, one viewer asked what climate protection would look like "if the media only reported on climate change for nine months in a row, as with Corona". Clear decisions – that was the tenor of the evening – are also required when it comes to climate protection, and Plasberg asked the key question: "Can’t the Corona crisis provide us with a blueprint for quick action?"

Just as the crowd of guests was colorful, opinions were also divided as to whether political action was enough or not. On the moderate, reassuring side stood the Union parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Ralph Brinkhaus, who listed what the government had already done for the climate, one was among the "top three" in the world for renewable energies, and otherwise one had to be human also "take with you" on the way to climate protection, including those with internal combustion engines in the car and who like to grill neck steaks. You need the acceptance of those "who live normally in the middle".

The cement industry – an emissions catapult

"If we divide people into the good guys and the stupid ones who haven’t got it, then we’ve already lost." Incidentally, Brinkhaus has already noticed a change in awareness, his neighbor has insulated the attic and there are more and more in Germany who said they were going on a hiking holiday this year. These fine observations of the optimistic kind went uncommented, at least supplemented by cement entrepreneur Dirk Spenner, who was confronted with the statistics that 8.5 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from the car sector, but at least 6.6 percent from the cement industry. Yes, said Spenner, but you also have to take into account that, unlike when burning fossil fuels in cement, two thirds of the carbon dioxide comes from the rock, which is a natural law. Consolation? Perhaps then it is more a hint that the industry is in emissions trading and has already reduced CO2 emissions.

Can the Chinese be denied prosperity??

"We also have a strongly German-influenced discussion on climate protection, but that is a global issue," said Spenner. The fact that more than half of the cement is produced and consumed in China must also be seen, and other countries just want to “also develop prosperity and participate in it”. Germany has enjoyed such prosperity and still does – in 1965 housing consumption was still 22 square meters per person, today it is 45 square meters. So should we live closer in future? Asked Plasberg. Nobody shouted a "yes" in the guest round. The cement company pointed out that Germany could set standards in environmental technology and energy efficiency: "Then other countries will look at us."

Patio heater isn’t as bad as burning coal

The youngest among the studio guests, 22-year-old Carla Reemtsma from Fridays-for-Future, demanded that the big screws such as industry, transport and the building sector be turned in order to reduce emissions quickly. That brings more than the lifestyle “in mine WG ”to change. "At Fridays-for-Future we therefore rarely talk about renouncing consumption." Reemtsma – who has a driver’s license but has not driven a car for four years – also considers the heated discussion about setting up patio heaters in outdoor restaurants to be wrong: "4000 Patio heater have the same emission value as an hour of coal-fired power plant operation. That said everything. ”Of course, Reemtsma also demanded consistent action from politicians, as with Corona, and immediately: for example, the abolition of the almost 50 billion euros annually in climate-damaging subsidies, for example for the diesel and company car privilege or the kerosene tax exemption.

"Imagine, Ms. Reemtsma still has 70 years ahead of her"

In the case of the young environmental activist, of all things, Plasberg then delivered the most embarrassing moment of the show with a personal end time calculation. He asked the marine biologist and director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Antje Boetius, who was present, to imagine the situation of Ms. Reemtsma in old age: “Just imagine, she still has 70 years ahead of her. Then she will be 90. What else will she experience in the world? "

Boetius had little desire to take part in this personal journey through time, but then he designed a horror scenario. A rise in sea level of one meter will hit ten percent of humanity who are not protected by dykes and plunge into suffering and hardship. “Where are they supposed to go?” Our generation may also be the last to experience the Arctic covered with ice in summer. Boetius did not want to give up all hope that the Paris climate targets could still be achieved. She referred to exemplary cities such as Tubingen and Freiburg in terms of climate policy, but above all praised the "very ambitious goal" of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who wants to reduce emissions by 55 to 60 percent by 2030. "Climate protection is only possible in large alliances," said Boetius.

The nature filmmaker seeks argumentative support

The strongest appearance by presenter Plasberg is quickly told: He confronted the very determined nature filmmaker Jaenicke ("The CDU has radically slowed down the climate change!") With photos that identify him as a demonstrator against the construction of 18 wind turbines in Reinhardswald, Hesse. A vehement climate protector who wants to prevent renewable energies? Jaenicke then turned to the scientist Boetius for argumentative support, whereupon Plasberg stopped him: “No, Mr. Jaenicke, you can defend yourself.” He did that too. Forest protection is also climate protection and the Reinhardswald – a valuable mixed forest – should not simply be "sawed away". The space requirements of a wind turbine were then no longer discussed.

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