Thesis number one: The transformation must involve everyone.
Individual actions by industry, requirements from politicians, bans and coercion . . all this will not be sufficient. If it is not embedded in the broadly supported consensus of a society, which could be:
"We want to live differently than before." Behind this is also the statement, the knowledge: "Only on a healthy planet, in a healthy environment, can we humans live, survive."
Are we ready to change our behavior? Are we ready to question our values?
The equation "success = earning a lot of money" regardless of what resources are needed is no longer convincing.
"What is a good life?" is something everyone must now answer for themselves anew.
Too much? Simple examples of what each individual can contribute abound.
a) One third of all food produced ends up in the trash or spoils. This third represents 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Buying and producing what we can and actually want to eat?
b) Meat consumption is responsible for 14.5% of emissions. The climate-damaging CO2, methane and nitrous oxide go hand in hand with meat production. Wouldn't it make us happier if we reduced our meat consumption step by step? It would be beneficial for our personal health – and would help to slow down climate change.
Why not use rail and local public transport more often, supplemented by rental cars? Instead of always driving private cars that weigh tons. Which, despite all the technical progress, still produce high emissions.
Not amazingly, the University of Erfurt researched: 70% want to effectively support climate protection.
As an aside, SUVs produce about 1 Gt of CO2. After electricity, SUVs are the second largest contributor to emissions increases 2010 to 2020!
What can policymakers do to ensure that the transformation gains momentum?
1. It sets a framework that aligns price mechanisms more closely with CO2 emissions. Ideal: price CO2; but no US support, so not implementable globally. These frameworks (like CBAM) ensure that climate is integrated into decision-making and that companies that transform are protected, i.e. do not lose out to "free-rider" business?
2. Subsidy – but targeted.
Policymakers must provide compensation for poorer households to offset the impositions of transformation. Subsidies could be the means of choice here. However, they must be redirected in such a way that they no longer benefit fossil energy sources across the board. And yet help "transformation losers" and the needy more than before.
3. Together with our governments, we must also ensure that the availability, reliability and security of energy supply do not suffer on the way to net zero.
If there are breaks here, there is a great risk that ambitious climate protection will be abandoned - possibly with irreversible consequences. It is therefore essential for economies to have buffers to cushion volatility, scarcity or unavailability. I will come back to this.