COP27 – Cuddle with climate change. About a dangerous romanticism

Once more longer: A culture of eternal climax stands against a culture of more tolerable climate.

Stefan Lindl

Climate protection is still not taking place. Preserving the current quality of life is more important than future humanity. During the past year 2022, no points could be scored either on a global or on a national level. There is still no culture of mitigation of climate change. So it is said: Better to live amicably with the consequences of climate change than to die from frugality.

The Great Substitution

What year was this 2022? If we already said goodbye to 2021 with no tears in our eyes and even less to 2020, this year is another high point of human lowliness. In 2022, national and global political action tore off the masks regarding global warming: At the political level, nobody wants to protect the climate, adaptation is the strategy of mankind. With bangs and double bangs, what is currently missing is simply compensated for in order to maintain the status quo. Just no cuts. Just no curfews, just no restrictions on freedom to support social peace today, just don’t think about tomorrow when everything collapses, even if not today. Politicians believe that the pandemic measures would have expected people to do too much.

In the new crisis, a crisis that manifests itself primarily as a resource crisis in our country, triggered by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, it does not seem possible to demand anything from the citizens again that reduces their quality of life. This applies not only to the Federal Republic of Germany, but to many, many other countries. The all-encompassing strategy is: adaptation through substitution. What breaks away is simply replaced so that the framework conditions for the usual quality of life do not have to be changed. If there is no gas, gas is bought, whatever the cost. If there is no electricity due to the more climate-friendly fossil gas, it will be replaced by the climate-unfriendly energy sources coal, oil and nuclear power. The Federal Republic of Germany is acting first and foremost. She’s booming and others can’t keep up, are annoyed at the lack of solidarity in the Federal Republic of Germany, which only sees to it that its residents don’t have to deviate an inch from the status quo of the good life. That means they should do something: save a bit of energy, switch off standby on the television, walk from one floor to the other, don’t always take the elevator. Mobility, the highest expression of German quality of life, is not restricted, neither by a speed limit nor by driving bans that could euphemistically be called a car-free Sunday. Just no bans! Just no energy lockdown!

Mitigation, the reduction of the consequences of climate change, falls by the wayside, as does the necessary reduction in the quality of life that serious climate protection entails. Of course, reduction does not have to be negative. Reduction and renunciation can be expressed more beautifully. A transformation of the quality of life could be aimed at that is based on renunciation, but at the same time brings with it a tremendous gain: the life of future generations. But the ethos of living by sacrifice is neither demanded nor propagated. Because everything should stay as beautiful as it was. A culture of eternal climax stands against a culture of more tolerable climate. This is understandable in the short term. Whether vision is hidden in it may be another matter. The status quo of the usual good life seems to have become a lived and livable ideal in recent years that can always be regained.

How well it works to return to normal life was shown during the waning pandemic. A lot could have been different, but most things went back to the way they were before. When it comes to climate change, the motto is different than during the pandemic: sacrifice is gain later. Reduction of the usual quality of life corresponds to an increase in the chance of survival. Everyone knows that, but it is not demanded or promoted.

The easy way of politics: adaptation

Consequently, the status quo of the culture of the climax must be protected as a monument. No change should be made in order not to incommode people too much. So only one remains. If we don’t sacrifice the quality of life for climate protection, we have to sacrifice the climate for the quality of life. This, in turn, can only work through adaptation. We have to adapt our environment so that our quality of life becomes resilient. We build dams and dykes, cut firebreaks, bring green into the city and provide a compensation fund with which we pay money to those states whose quality of life we have robbed or will rob through climate change for our fossil prosperity. This includes the Maldives, for example, and other under-surface countries that are disappearing under rising sea levels or simply being washed away by rainfall. Adaptation and compensation are the means of the hour at the national and global level of politics. There is no consensus on anything else. It would always be about reducing something, about renunciation, in favor of a meaningful, financially significant, meaningful transformation to a post-fossil planet. In the long term, doing without would probably be a lot cheaper than adapting due to the foreseeable catastrophes. Where should all the people on the coasts move to? Where are new cities built? With what money should these cities be built? How are these cities to be fed when they must be built on the fields that previously allowed the harvesting of plant and animal food?

All of this fell by the wayside once again at this UN climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, but of course not only there. If the Federal Republic of Germany, which likes to see itself as a pioneer of climate policy, relies on burning coal and oil, although it would have had the means to do without it, the arguments to be able to argue credibly at a meeting of the world community are of course missing.

A lot is missing. Above all, the desire to create a new culture. Adapting to the consequences of climate change is essential as is the culture of climate protection, a culture of mitigation that tries to curb climate change. This is so obvious that it sounds downright odd to have to write it.

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