COP26 – The Last Chance

COP26 – die letzte Chance

It has been six years since the world’s nations agreed to limit man-made global warming to significantly below 2 °C in the landmark Paris Agreement. Since then, there have been many announcements and promises. But we are still waiting for concrete steps and effective measures to curb the climate crisis. It is crucial that COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow next week, finally brings a breakthrough. Before it is too late.

The climate crisis is the biggest health threat facing humanity

The fact that we do not have much time left to save the climate should be obvious to even the most skeptical by now: heat waves, droughts, crop failures, devastating forest fires and floods have cost lives in many regions in recent months, including in regions that were barely affected by such extremes in the past.

In a recently published report, the World Health Organization calls the climate crisis the biggest health threat facing humanity and states that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the deaths of millions of people every year. We must not accept their fate with a mere shrug of the shoulders.

The global temperature has already risen by 1.1 °C

The dramatic nature of the situation is also illustrated by the sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in August. For this report, 234 scientists from 66 countries compiled data and facts over years of scientific work, in some cases using new methods. According to their findings, the CO2 concentration in the air over the past two million years has never been as high as it is today. As a result, the global temperature has been rising ever faster since the 1970s. Today, it is already 1.1 °C above pre-industrial levels. And if we continue as we have been doing, we will have exceeded the 1.5 °C threshold in as little as 20 years.

What are politicians waiting for?

But it doesn’t have to come to that, because we still have the chance to limit global warming and thus to keep our wonderful planet livable for future generations. However, to that end, what we need now – and the scientists of the IPCC stress this too – are fast-acting measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately, rapidly and significantly.

That’s why one thing is clear to me: following the disappointing results of the last UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid in 2019, a decisive breakthrough must be made at COP26. We have the knowledge about the climate crisis and its devastating effects, and we have the technological solutions to halt its further progress in a socially responsible manner. What are politicians waiting for? Any hesitation, any further postponement, would be fatal.


Here SMA CEO Jürgen Reinert writes about topics that move him.

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