Climate Change

A Grand Vision

Has time already run out?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The current climate-change debate focuses almost exclusively on how to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions rather than the crucial issue of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • Facts


    • The international climate-change summit is underway near Paris, and at stake is the future of our planet.
    • Emissions-reduction commitments by the more than 160 countries at the summit might not be enough to stop the global warming trend.
    • Huge investments will be necessary to develop technologies to withdraw CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere.
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  • Pdf

As far as international climate politics go, it has been five minutes to midnight for about 20 years now. Even though global emissions of greenhouse gasses have continuously risen since the first United Nations climate summit, the core message has remained the same: Time is running out, but we can still manage things if we act immediately.

This might still be understandable as a political message. European advocates of stiff measures against climate change do not want to admit their enduring inability to get things moving, or to lend support to the fatalism that still threatens. But in a political field so strongly marked by science, it is surprising that – to stay with the same image – the hands of the clock have not moved further ahead.

How is that possible? The fact is that a few years ago, climate research established an emissions budget with which it is possible to determine with some precision how much more greenhouse gasses humanity can emit and still keep global warming at 2 degrees Celsius.

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