End of business as usual: Get out of the climate crisis: Club of Rome calls for "about-turn" for a sustainable and fairer world

Concrete way out of the climate crisis.

End of business as usual: Get out of the climate crisis: Club of Rome calls for "about-turn" for a sustainable and fairer world

Concrete way out of the climate crisis. The news of the day could hardly have made it clearer that this is needed:

The reports seem like a description of the situation that the Club of Rome (CoR) anticipated 50 years ago. If the population continues to increase exponentially and non-renewable resources continue to be exploited, as the groundbreaking publication "The Limits to Growth" put it, the economic system will collapse just like the ecosystem. It will then no longer be possible to guarantee people's care, or at least a significant deterioration in living conditions can be expected. All of this was then scheduled for the years 2000 to 2100 – that is, for now.

Five decades later, not all of the forecasts have come true in detail and the methodological approach of the Club of Rome studies has been repeatedly criticized. Still, for many people around the world, 2022 feels like what the coalition of experts for the current century expected decades ago. In this situation, the Club of Rome presented a new report together with a research group on Tuesday. This provides a "survival guide for our planet", according to the title, prepared by the "Earth 4 All" initiative, which was launched by the CoR, among others. Co-author Johan Rockström formulated a key tip for the survival of the planet: "A lot is actually possible, but one thing is not: business as usual."

"We are at a crossroads," said Jorgen Randers, also co-author of the new report, on Tuesday in Berlin. Humanity is currently laying the seeds for the "collapse" of entire regions of the world. Maintaining the existing economic system will "increase tensions and reduce prosperity," explained the Norwegian professor emeritus for climate strategy. It's about "building an economy that works within planetary boundaries," added the Swede Rockstrom, who is also director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The conversion must begin "before the end of this decade".

As a way out of the global crisis, the authors propose far-reaching "about-turns" in five areas:

Together, these five points form the "Giant Leap" approach, which the authors believe can lead to global warming being stabilized below two degrees compared to the pre-industrial era, and the world population below nine billion remain, material consumption will be reduced and the end of global poverty can be approached by 2050. In this scenario, social tensions would decrease and well-being would increase over the century as incomes could equalize.

The "too little, too late" scenario contradicts this. PIK Director Rockström emphasized that it is an essential feature of climate change that it is unfair. "Hardest hit are those who have contributed the least to global warming - the poor people of the world. Whole livelihoods are being destroyed, as we are seeing in Pakistan right now, due to extreme events compounded by human-caused global warming." Climate and environmental changes deepened inequality by destroying or damaging life support systems such as farmland, fisheries or freshwater resources. A more sustainable world is also a fairer world.

Specifically, the authors of the "Survival Guide" call for investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency of one trillion dollars per year. In addition, higher taxes for the wealthiest citizens to reduce inequality. A citizens' fund should also allow more people to participate in the wealth of the respective countries.

According to the authors, if the necessary changes were not initiated, there is a risk of a scenario in which the earth would warm up by around 2.5 degrees by 2100, poorer countries would be exposed to "the most extreme conditions" and global prosperity would increase by the middle of the century "by an average 40 percent compared to the 2020s".

The authors of the report are also aware that these are demanding requirements. "'Earth 4 All' report shows that nothing short of a rapid global transition in energy, food and justice is required to have a chance of a secure and prosperous future for people on a stable planet within planetary boundaries ", Rockström formulated in a message from the PIK. But in the climate crisis, pretending that business as usual is an option would ultimately only lead to the collapse of the economy.

With material from AFP and DPA

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