“We need rapid climate tests ”

Are growth and sustainability compatible at times like these? Ottmar Edenhofer, climate economist, answers.

Climate protection and economic growth are compatible.
Climate protection and economic growth are compatible. Seventyfour - stock.adobe.com
Klimaschutz und Wirtschaftswachstum sind miteinander vereinbar.
Ottmar Edenhofer is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

The corona crisis has revealed society’s great willingness to make sacrifices. What can climate policy learn from this? Ottmar Edenhofer, climate economist and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research provides an answer.

Professor Edenhofer, the corona pandemic and the climate crisis are two very different threats. Nevertheless, are there overlaps between the two?
Fundamentally, both crises show us how vulnerable our societies are and that decisive and, above all, early action is required to keep the damage they cause to a minimum. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and man-made climate change result from our inability to protect global common goods like the atmosphere and biodiversity.

We need rapid climate tests.

Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

People have been willing to make sacrifices during the corona crisis. What can climate policy learn from this?
First of all, the pandemic has cost over 800,000 human lives and done enormous economic harm. Social distancing and new forms of solidarity have played a decisive role in ensuring the virus has not done even greater damage. What is required to stabilise the climate, however, does not so much involve changes in individual behaviour, but a complete changeover to an emission-free economy.

What role does Germany play when it comes to stopping climate change?

I was pleased that the Federal Government took climate protection into account as a crucial goal in its corona economic stimulus package – I particularly welcome the measures that are part of the “future package”. The German EU Council Presidency has also indicated that it attaches special significance to this matter.

We need rapid climate tests that check and monitor not only the entire economic package, but also individual measures with regard to their compatibility with the goals of climate protection legislation. Europe and especially Germany could assume a pioneering international role here.

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