Today, the climate conference (I almost wrote: climate catastrophe) comes to an end. Allegedly, it was a success. Listening to the news, however, I do not understand what is supposed to make it a success, or even what will change in the future.
Consequently, I will now comment and write what I, personally, consider absolutely necessary. I will limit my suggestions to us here in Germany, because you should always start with your own front door, shouldn’t you? As I see it, it is basically quite simple, about the climate. All you need is a little courage and then you would have to act.
Let me start with the oil lamp. It is the best example for a product that needs fossil energy. It is made of iron. So you need raw materials and energy for its production. As soon as you use it, you will constantly consume oil.
Consequently, the early producers soon understood that the best thing you can do with a lamp is give it away for free and then earn through the supply. It is a wonderful business model that, to this day, has proved its efficiency in many sectors.
The reason why an oil lamp is such a bad idea is that it is perhaps one of the most expensive technologies for making the nights shine a little brighter. And because the poorest of the poor use exactly this method in order to produce their light.
This is where I also see a problem. Because light is particularly important. After all, it makes it possible to read and continue with your education when it is dark, after you have finished all the day’s work.
So you need energy both for creating and maintaining the system. Consequently, what you want with many products is a way to avoid fossil energy both in the production and processing stages of a product.
As a logical consequence, we need to look at what the systems use up while running in the same way as at what energy you need to invest initially for the production. Let us first look at the running consumption:
- The first rule:
As of now, the consumption of all fossil energy must become subject to considerable and equal taxation. It is important to include all fossil energy, which means that kerosene must be taxed just as much as gas or diesel gas. This will also necessitate another equality process, namely a higher tax on diesel gas. And if the EU complains because, due to the low oil prices, a detrimental recession comes, then there is an easy way out: taxation on the cheap oil. Remember: Energy must become more expensive, because otherwise it does not pay to save energy through technology and to economize by doing without! And I am sure that those countries that start the process will have a technological advantage.
- The second rule:
All subsidies supporting the purchase and use of systems that need fossil energy for their production or processing must be terminated. The best example is the immense added value tax subsidy for so-called “business cars”. But I also mean the enormous subsidies for the entire automobile traffic, where, among other things, all consequential costs are socialized.
- First additional measure:
In order to promote awareness for the changes, we need an immediate and drastic speed limit. I am in favour of the model 200 (motorways: 100 km/h, highways: 70 km/h and inner cities: 30 km/h). This measure would immediately drastically reduce the fatalities due to motorized individual traffic, as well as cause a considerable reduction of fine dust pollution.
- Second additional measure:
Along with this, the people must be made aware of how beer out of cans and yoghurt out of plastic containers (and such) are the opposite of improving your quality of life. That “active mobility” is more likely to make you happy than the weekend in London or the short trip to New York or to the DomRep. That it is certainly nice to go to Australia, but that there are wonderful regional alternatives.
Perhaps the medicine against the poison of cat-gold salespersons and happiness whistlers (also known as the marketing industry) is to campaign in favour of making people understand that there is no simple “buy happiness!“. Even if this is constantly suggested through exquisite methods and techniques of manipulation and the use of billions of euros.
- We also must again remember that a long-term use of products also saves fossil energy. Especially with infrastructure objects, it is often forgotten that a long-term use is more efficient than building something new. For instance, Munich rejoices about its new concert hall that is to be built opposite of the Munich East Railway Station. Yet they totally forget that this means another cost and energy intense huge project – one that will probably again cost a lot more than predicted. Just like they totally forgot that the discussion about the concert hall basically started with the question how to continue with the Gasteig. If it now is to be demolished (because Munich, after all, does not need two music halls for big concerts), then this would be the economic nonsense par excellence. And it would also be anything but good for saving fossil energy. But then, the continuing use of the Olympic Stadium – which, incidentally, also needs renovation – is something that does not interest anybody, either. With the possible exception of the city treasurer. Perhaps it is enough if, a few years from now, these buildings will serve as monuments commemorating the times when we in Germany still believed in the unifying power of Olympic Games and everybody was in favour of them.
- Investments promoting the use of fossil energy will, of course, also have to be stopped immediately. There must be no Third Runway at Munich, just like the plans for Memmingen Airport are nonsense for more than just ecological reasons.
- First note: I often hear that the problems can be solved by electric mobility. Naturally, that is also nonsense. In production, electric cars are far from sustainable. When running, they need an inefficient amount of electricity that will still be produced by burning coal for many years all over the world. To be sure, electric drive might well be a good chance for supporting active mobility and in infra-structure, for instance when it comes to organizing delivery on the last mile. But it is certainly very stupid “bullshit” if you wish to exchange individual mobility with combustion motors for battery vehicles at a ratio of 1:1. Neither will the fine dust caused by the tyres on the roads or the noise caused by the friction disappear if the car is powered with electricity.
- Second note: Other arguments, too, are well known to me. The situation of the citizens living in the country, the detrimental effect on the automobile industry, the loss of jobs, etc. Here, too, I say: this is all nonsense. There has to be and there will be change anyway, and mostly those who adapt to it earlier are better off. To be sure, it seems to me that lowering our standards of living is inescapable, but we still have quite some reserves in that sector. And we should be more concerned about the destruction of the rest of the world, with the detrimental consequences for us. Or about the strong polarization of our society into poor and rich that is accompanied by a reduction of the middle class and a movement into the poor sections for many. And we should think about how to fight concerns in all sectors that have become independent and manipulate and ignore a cowardly federation of states through lobbyism and other measures.
- Third note: Now I see yet another argument on the horizon: what good will it do if we do all those things and others do not follow suit? For instance the evil Americans, Chinese and Indians? They continue to pollute the air with carbon dioxide. Well, I think someone needs to start. And the others will later see what it gains them. And as I see it, they will all follow suit quite quickly and we can profit enormously through the business.
Well, it is the same as always. It might be a nice gesture to sign the Paris Treaty. Except – we must not forget to actually do something and we have to START NOW. And I mean every one of us individually!
(Translated by EG)