What does the corona pandemic mean for climate protection? Can you learn something from the global health problem for the fight against the climate crisis? Green Group leader Anton Hofreiter, a doctor of biology, spoke to our editors about it. The interview took place via video switch.
ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Hofreiter, have been staying for two weeks
most planes on the ground and many cars in the garage because of factories
reduce their production and work in the home office or no longer takes place
and travel is no longer possible. Good times for that Climate protection?
Anton Hofreiter: The talk about the intrusion caused by Corona
I do not share the economy to help protect the climate. This is a
cynical reasoning. The main thing now is to save human lives
and the social and economic consequences of the pandemic under control
to get. We can only cope with the climate crisis if we manage our economy
rebuild – but we have to get it first.
ZEIT ONLINE: But the emissions are in Germany and elsewhere
dropped significantly. The effects are therefore positive for the climate. Can you do this
Don’t use impulse?
Hofreiter: The sinking Emissions are temporary at best
effect, because after the crisis you will travel, work and produce again –
maybe even more than before. And besides, the cost is this
declining emissions unbearably high: people die, economy and
Jobs are under massive threat. This is not how climate protection works! Climate protection
is not a short-term task for the next few months, but a project for
the next ten to 15 years. What to learn from the Corona crisis for the future
can, is two different things: First, it is worthwhile to proceed based on evidence and on
to make science-based politics. Second, major crises can occur
can only be fought globally.
ZEIT ONLINE: But even in the global corona pandemic is international
Cooperation difficult. Instead, limits are being drawn, separate
States primarily take care of their own protection. That gives us clues
on the conditions under which global cooperation can succeed
– and in which case not?
Hofreiter: A pandemic is a global crisis, and that also applies
for the climate crisis. But it is different if you know that an abstract
global threat requires a global response, like in the climate crisis, or
whether you experience it yourself in a specific case, as is now the case with the corona pandemic.
I believe that current experience changes the way we look at it
Respond to crises. For example, the experience of being bundled with everyone
hopefully global forces will find a vaccine that everyone can
benefits. Populists like Donald Trump are delegitimized again.
He has already ignored scientific facts in the climate crisis, that
he is now doing again in the corona crisis – with dramatic consequences for his
Country. His nationalist policies have not helped him. That should be us
be a lesson to everyone.
ZEIT ONLINE: Politics intervenes in the fight against
the corona crisis to far-reaching means. One could argue that the
Climate crisis a much more fundamental
Is a threat to our existence. Couldn’t politics be exactly like that
Hofreiter: The two crises are very different in nature. The
a crisis unfolds rapidly, the reaction is about days. Because of that
there is a high level of acceptance for drastic measures. The climate crisis unfolds
against it over years and decades. The threat is less immediate.
That is why politics has to react differently to them.
ZEIT ONLINE: Are you afraid that the current crisis is the
Climate crisis displaced from public awareness?
Hofreiter: I think it is absolutely right at the moment that we are focusing on the Corona crisis
focus. But I think the violence of this pandemic raises awareness
strengthens the need to tackle crises preventively, i.e. preventively. If
if we act correctly now, we as society will experience what we do
are capable. We can get this pandemic under control. And it
Hopefully there will also be the will to get the climate crisis under control,
where we have a little more time to react. Many people see
now that such crises get worse if you don’t act early enough.
ZEIT ONLINE: Will the money that is now saved to the rescue
Economy is spent, not for the planned renovation
a more ecological economy is missing?
Hofreiter: What would be the alternative? Watch the economy
Bach goes down and millions of people become unemployed? No, if we have this
Wouldn’t spend money now to save businesses and people
to support socially, that would cost us a lot more in the medium term –
socially, economically, financially.
In a second step, when the acute crisis is hopefully over,
we need a program to get the economy going again. And the
then has to be a green deal. Then economic recovery and
Climate protection go hand in hand. Because it still applies: The ecological conversion
is not a danger, but an opportunity for the economy. We see that
other countries have long been leading: Tesla with the production of electric cars in
the USA and now also in Germany or China with the expansion of
renewable energies. If we stayed behind, it would be really right
ZEIT ONLINE: Shouldn’t politics already now
State support against the corona crisis with ecological requirements