This week, the Bulgarian national TV station interviewed several TH!NKers about climate change and the COP15 summit. In my interview on the morning show, I tried to talk about the aspect of global responsibility, to highlight some possibilities for individual action and to emphasize the importance of ambitious emissions reduction goals and comprehensive adaptation funds for developing countries.In the face of moderate prospects for an ambitious global treaty at the COP15 summit, I think that it is important to see Copenhagen not as an endpoint but as a further starting point on our way to the necessary more ambitious targets. Here is the video of the interview as well as an English translation:
“Why should we pay attention to climate change?I think it’s a matter of responsibility, actually responsibility in two areas. On the one hand, there is our responsibility towards future generations, i.e. our future children and grandchildren, as we should give them a world that is at least as livable as the world that we inherited from our parents. On the other hand, there is our global responsibility towards those people in poorer regions of the world, especially Africa and Asia, who already feel the effects of climate change today. In fact, longer droughts, floods or rising sea levels lead to poor harvests which intensify the global hunger problem. Moreover, if you look at the scientific facts, it becomes clear that we only have five to ten years to counteract which is essentially the next decade and which makes climate change the biggest challenge for my generation. So, we now must take matters into our own hands in order to achieve a livable future.
“Many small people who in many small places do many small things can alter the face of the world” is written in your Facebook profile. Is this also true for climate change?
In my opinion, there are two levels of action. One is the political level where major levers can achieve a lot. The other one is the personal level where each of us can do something in our everyday lives and in our lifestyles. And if many people do something, we can also achieve a lot. For example, one can use public transportation, cover shorter distances on foot or by bike, consume regional or organic food, buy electric appliances with low electricity consumption, avoid stand by of electric appliances, or even use photovoltaics on one’s own roof to produce renewable electricity. There are a lot of things that everyone of us can do and which do not mean deprivation but might even mean a higher quality of life.
What do you expect from the summit in Copenhagen?
The two important topics are the targets for reducing carbon emissions and the developed countries’ support for developing countries to cope with the effects of climate change. Several months ago, the chances for a global treaty seemed very small but in recent days the United States, China, Russia and other important countries for the first time mentioned concrete numbers and indicated readiness to act. This made me a bit more optimistic. Nevertheless their targets are not ambitious enough, given the enormous challenge to drastically reduce emissions as recommended by scientists. So, I expect that there will be no mandatory treaty or only a weak treaty in Copenhagen. Therefore, Copenhagen should not be regarded as an endpoint but as a further starting point with a treaty that can be amended in the future to become more ambitious.”
Note: This blogpost was also published on the TH!NK ABOUT IT website.