Some newspapers accuse our movement of being “driven by ideology“. Our answer: a political and economic system that ignores scientific facts is what is truely ideological.
In order to attain a realistic chance to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, we need to leave 60 to 80 percent of all fossil fuels in the ground – globally. That means that Europe has to leave 90 percent of its coal reserves in the ground.
After the Paris Climate treaty, a study by the New Climate Institute calculated which conclusions would have to be drawn from the asserted 1.5 degree target. According to that study, global greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and cars aswell as agriculture and deforestation would have to drop to zero until 2035, even earlier in industrialized countries. This translates into a German phase-out from hard coal and lignite until 2025, at the latest.
Studies that leave us more time are based on the assumption that, some time in the future, we will be able to extract CO₂ from the atmosphere, using potential future technologies (negative emissions). But even if these technologies were ready for use until 2050, they would be to late to inhibit climate change (leaving aside their side effects, both ecological and regarding human rights).
The more progress global warming is making, the more likely the so called tipping points become. Even small disturbances can prompt self-intensifying, irreversible processes in some climate system. E.g., the thawing of permafrost soils in Siberia and North America releases Methane into the atmosphere, contributing to its additional warming. Hence, once global warming crossed a certain treshold, it cannot be controlled by humankind anymore.
In 2016, global temperatures were 1.6 degrees Celsius above the level of preindustrial times. Currently we experience fatal droughts, an increase in extreme weather events and the collapse of crucial eco systems, such as the coral reefs. People in the global south are affected by rising sea levels, a scarcity of drinking water and crop failures already today. Social and ecological crises are going to intensify alongside the advancing global warming.
With respect to the heat record in the Arctic, scientists are warning that tipping points are coming closer, or have already been reached.
The more research is done in the field of climate science, the more alarming the climate prognoses seem to be: In December 2017, a comparative study aiming to examine the reliability of the forecasts that different climate models produce constituted that the most pessimistic prognoses will most likely come true.
Our logical – not ideological- conclusion is: it is incredibly urgent! Each ton of coal that is burned is one too much.