Climate Protection: ″We need to change our behavior″ | Tomorrow Today - The Science Magazine | DW | 17.11.2014
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Tomorrow Today

Climate Protection: "We need to change our behavior"

We are joined by Martin Cames who heads the Energy and Climate Division at the Institute for Applied Ecology in Berlin. He talks about the new synthesis report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It says climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly.

Watch video 03:47


The report states that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heatwaves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts.So is it fair to say that politicians now have no more excuses to really get involved in climate protection?

Martin Cames:

I fully agree and that's what needs to be done and that is also the focus for the next negotiation or the negotiation which are planned for 2015 in Paris.

The synthesis report 2014 of the IPCC just had a message which wasn't much different to the ones of the years before. Climate change is really a tough thing for mankind. Can these IPCC reports still raise pressure on politicians?

I think they are still important in order to design the policies and to know what impacts policies would have. But also in terms of adaptation and mitigation. The number of politicians who deny climate change is really decreasing so the IPCC is the body who declares what is common sense.

So the message really has reached so to say politics. Is there really any alternative to reducing green house gas emissions for climate protection?

Not at all I would say. The only thing we can do is to do what is possible and what will be possible in the future. But we need to change right now our politics and our policies and our behavior as well.

Now the US and China, the biggest greenhouse gas emission countries actually intend to cooperate and to do more for climate protection. Are they on the right path?

It depends. The direction, I think is correct, but in terms of the challenges which are explained by the IPCC I think it's certainly not enough. But for me, it's more important to be in the right direction right now. It was agreed a few years ago in the climate negotiation that parties declare their intentions for the period post 2020. And that's what China and the US now delivered and therefore I consider this a positive move.

Are you satisfied with the concrete plan?

There are positive things and there are also things which are more critical. So they refer to a number of things like carbon capture and storage which are not easy, I would say, but still positive. But on the other hand there are also strategies like clean coal which lasts more than 35 years. I have a lot of concerns about that. The IPCC sent the message that we have to be decarbonized by 2050 already.

And have to head on for renewables. Thanks a lot for the talk.

(Interview. Ingolf Baur)