“No one would want that”

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Von: Sven Trautwein

A firefighter throws water on a forest fire in Alaska. © Alaska Division of Forestry/AP/Eric Kiehn/dpa

As temperatures soar to 40 degrees in many places, scientists are worried about future generations. Just like economist Klaus Wiegandt in his book “3 degrees more”.

Berlin – It’s not an easy book that you can just read through. “3 degrees more” brings together renowned scientists with a clear commitment: If we do not succeed in massively limiting the increase in global warming within a short period of time, the future for our children and grandchildren will look bleak. The economist Klaus Wiegandt is the publisher of “3 degrees more” and answers the most important questions in an exclusive interview with us.

Mr. Wiegandt, is “3 degrees more” your most important book?

“3 degrees more” is absolutely the most important book. If we don’t get the problem of global warming under control, the future will be so cruel that it will not be accountable to our children and grandchildren. Society needs to be shaken up. If people knew what was in store for their grandchildren, nobody would want it.

Haven’t we as a society internalized the word “climate crisis” yet?

No, we haven’t internalized it. The majority of people have to understand how serious the situation is for politicians to really act. In the past 25 years, the media have been mantra-like declaring that the polar bear is dying out, that areas in Bangladesh are being flooded and that the sea level in this country is rising by 35 centimetres. That’s not the case. The scenarios look much worse: 3 degrees more means a temperature increase of at least 6 degrees in the country. This leads to climate refugees, crop failures and damages of around 7 trillion US dollars per year. Nobody can want that in this form.

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What are the biggest societal challenges we face?

People need to get rid of the notion that it only affects distant regions. Bangladesh or the polar bear may be far away. But that’s a misconception. It affects us all. Right outside the front door. If we do nothing now and continue as before, this will have serious consequences for all future generations.

Tipping points of the climate crisis: economist Wiegandt sees deforestation as the “biggest problem”

Klaus Wiegandt - publisher of the non-fiction book
Economist Klaus Wiegandt warns of global warming © Anne Wiegandt

Have we already reached a tipping point?

No, we have not yet reached a tipping point. We still have everything under control. It may be that this point has already been exceeded in some ecosystems, such as coral reefs, but countermeasures can still be taken. The biggest problem is the deforestation of the rainforest. According to scientific statements, the tipping point here is a deforestation of 20 to 30 percent. Here we are already at 20 percent. One percent more can throw everything overboard. With huge changes for the entire world population. If we stop cutting down the rainforest where we harvest palm oil plantations, soybeans and sell precious woods, we could save five billion tons of CO2 a year.

What solutions are there?

First of all, the deforestation of the rainforest should be stopped. The British economist Nicholas Stern calculated that the lower limit we have to invest in climate protection is two percent of the world’s national product. That’s around $1.6 trillion a year. We spend this sum on the military worldwide. Action and redeployment is required here. This two percent of the world community is well invested and highly profitable. Anyone interested in economics can easily figure out what that means. The money is to be used, among other things, to support developing countries so that they can set up a sustainable energy system. Renewable energies are the goal, not coal-fired power plants, which are currently being offered cheaply by China to the poorest countries. Then we have a chance.

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Cover of the non-fiction book
Klaus Wiegandt (ed.): “3 degrees more” © oekom Verlag

The book “3 degrees more” is an impressive and important anthology to better classify and understand the effects of the climate crisis. Here is the book tip.

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