On the other hand we’re talking about a structural change of digitization and that’s accepted just like that. That’s somehow directed by the economy. Up to 25% of these jobs will perhaps be cut.
‘What does the government have to do to save all that’. All that is accepted as progress, celebrated and so on. Why, and that’s a question which can only be answered through political and economic demand for interests and power, do we not acquire that same energy to modernize our climate technology, in the way we cultivate land and in the way we design mobility? Why is the one thing celebrated as progress, with all the collateral damage, for which politics and society of course has to account for, whereas the other thing is fought off until last, even though they are in completely different categories in their proportionality? Statement by scientists regarding the protests for more climate protection Dear colleagues, welcome to the federal press conference.
Today we will hear a statement by scientists to the protests for more climate protection uhm, the hashtag is also well known “#ScientistsForFuture”
We welcomem our guests: Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel, she is general secretary of the scientific council of the federal government ‘Global climate change’ Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen, physician and scientific journalist, Prof. Dr. Volker Quaschning professor for regenerative energy systems at the academy of technology and economy in Berlin, Prof. Dr. Karen Helen Wiltshire, vicarious director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Center for polar marine research and FridaysForFuture are represented by Luisa Neubauer and Jakob Blasel. Welcome!
Mrs. Göpel, the floor is yours. Good Morning, ladies and gentlemen, I would say the four of us enjoy confidence and trust to speak representatively for a great number of scientists of the germanophone, european region. In Austria and in Switzerland there are similar announcements happening right now and we speak to you as those people whose professional task it is to understand the world in how it is constituted and also in how it is held together. Other people would maybe call us the “professionals” who look at the technologically reasonable and also the economically doable. And always from the perspective of the protection of human well-being. We are not only concerned with well-being today, but also in the future. And that’s why we aditionally look at the ecologically essential. And our findings show that the assessement of the technologically reasonable and also the economically doable change rapidly if we take the ecologically essential serious. And because these findings haven’t come together just yesterday and aren’t new and wear a really broad scientific basement above them with this statement we publish today we want to take position, namely a position that fully supports the claim of the protesting students for a fast and decided acting in the matter of the protection of climate and the environment and therewith provides expertise for solutions. This is a position that acknowledges that a deep and structural change of our economy and society is a huge political task and on the same time emphasizes that the technological requirements and also the economical rationalities and the political moment are given to do this now and today, and that a longer waiting won’t make the challenges smaller, but bigger. This position is currently and today shared by 12155 scientists and until friday we of course wish to gain more supporters. The list isn’t closed yet, on friday we want to officially give it to the protesters of fridays for future and are now here for any further queries regarding the context. And also to the parts of the confessions of the science that are listed in the statement. Thank you very much. Mr. von Hirschhausen That’s a fantastic number! More than we have lung doctors. Doctors have the task to protect life and point out the health risks. The climate crisis is the hugest health hazard. That’s not what I say, it’s what scientific authorities say, like for example the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), today represented my former senior of the academy Detlev Ganten who contributed to this paper where all European scientific academies merged to say that it is an enormous challenge particularly in view of human’s health. As doctors we don’t have a pill for that but there are urgently initiated measures when Mother Earth has a fever. A lot of people think, one degree, two degrees, three degrees, what makes a difference? As a doctor I can tell you that it makes a huge difference if you have a fever of 41 degree or 43 degrees. The one is consistent with life and the other isn’t. The sources we refer to are for example the Lancet Climate Countdown or as well a small but growing group of doctors and caregivers “Klimawandel und Gesundheit” (climate change and health), in short “Klug” (clever) Which dangers am I talking about? The obvious thing is that specific contagious diseases will spread with the overheating of the earth. These include lung diseases, these include an increase of allergies. But human life is also threatened by water scarcity, by food shortage, meaning people are going to starve and there will be civil wars particularly about these lacking resources. Direct heat-related fatalities already play a role worldwide, in Germany I think, at the latest after the last hot summer we have understood, it doesn’t only concern polar bears, it’s not only about Bangladesh, it’s also about us here. The health care system is not prepared at all for this kind of human suffering that’s approaching us. But I don’t only want to give an outline of the dangers but it’s very important for me that this discussion that’s held in Germany very often about dispensation, about, so to speak, someone takes something from us. That this discussion finally gets this turn that’s necessary to reach a lot of people, that is to make clear to them, it’s about an increase of the quality of life and we don’t have a plan B because there is no earth B. I still rather breathe the pollution of 10 bicycles than of one car. Going by bike would be the healthier alternative anyway likewise for the human. If we stick to the idea of Planetary Health Diet, namely a nutrition that’s sustainably healthy for people and the planet, we get lots of benefits out of it, for each and every person. We can spare millions of people of a heart attack and a stroke if we eat less meat, if we eat less fat, if we produce less overweight, if we eat less sugar. That means, if you get this message delivered in this country, that’s it’s about positive livability, then I’m happy that espescially here a window of oppurtunity emerges where this idea is obviously interesting for wide sections of the population and I still think that science is the best way to make use of our good sense. I am really glad to be part of these professionals and I will also take part in the demonstration on friday, with my brother and my nephew too, because this topic concerns us all, and all generations aswell. Cordial Thanks.
Thank you very much. Mr. Quaschning. Oh, I see, you commence, go ahead. I, Karen Wiltshire, as a mother of two childern, often stand in front of journalists as a scientist, and I am asked, “Your sober way, Miss Wiltshire, to deal with science, may not implicitly be emotional enough.” Now I am in the happy position to be sitting here as a private person with my collegues and experts and submit to you my point of view and, actually, my knowlege here. Mr. Hirschhausen has illustrated the human problem marvellously just now in my opinion but that brings me to the point that maybe not everybody knows that in the next fifty to a hundred years 70% of the human kind will be living at a coast. The mega-cities are already coastal towns. But what does that mean for us all? That means, that the pressure of usage is increasing immensely. Our coasts are already an inevitable biosphere. We know that in the future people from inland areas will drain to the coasts because the inland is simply going to be too warm in the summer. We need our coasts worldwide for our nutrition. We need them for our shipping and we need them for example for the tourism industry. The pressure on the coasts is really immense. But how are we supposed to live at the coasts if the sea level continues to increase in 1-3,7 mm annually for example at the North Sea? The sea level is risen since 1990 on the worldwide average for about 20 centimers. Without dikes, and that’s something most people don’t know either, we would already have to move now. 4% of the German population and our neighbor states for example 40% of the Netherlands would be already affected by the sea level how it is now. Without dikes. For example on Sylt, where I am from, in respect of coast protection, we are really calculating a 10% increase of torrents for the next years. We, as people, need to admit to a new nutritional spectrum. The cod is no longer resident in the North Sea, he has moved to the North long ago. We have new organisms that substantiate our nutrition. We will have to cultivate much more aqua culture to cover the nutritional, namely the protein demand of the human population. Sea products are still among the most important nutritional deliverers of protein for humanity. Principally, we will have to assimilate to the heat and we will have to get used to the sea levels and protect ourselves, which means money. Or we need to move away, it’s as simple as that. And we will really have to nurture ourselves in other ways in the future. The pace is extremely high and we humans are slow. They have been really slowly running away as we had climate problems during human history, have been running out of Africa. But we are not helpless. The fuse is tripped and all lamps are red but my collegue next to me, he will tell us how it goes and, well, we are really not helpless. Thank you very much. Mr. Quaschning. Yes, fortunately we have the Paris Agreement for climate protection where there was internationally defined for the first time that we need to limit the global warming down to 1,5 degrees celsius, we have to if we hear which dramatical consequences will follow otherwise. To reach this, the net greenhouse gas emmissions worldwide need to be reduced to zero at the latest in the 2040s-2050s. And for the global climate justice we need to reach it in Germany and Europe preferably faster, which means we should seek an emission-free target for Germany at the latest for 2040, as possible even earlier. The climate protection aims of the German Government with a decrease of emmissions of 80-95% until the year of 2050 are not sufficient for that. This means, there needs to be done amendment urgently and we have to or we need a decrease of greenhouse gas emmissions during the next 20 years roundabout 5% per year. If we look at what was reached the last 20 years we only have a decline of less than 1% That means we have to raise this pace, the climate protection efforts in Germany, in about the factor of 5, and that has to happen rapidly. This means we have to act quickly and ambitious. The cole phase-out is one of the simpler methods how we can approach this and that’s why we recommend to end the usage of coal near-complete until 2030. However, coal produces only 30% of greenhouse gas emmissions so it’s not just about replacing coal with gas but also to keep backing out from the usage of petroleum and natural gas. This means, the question one could to ask now is if it makes sense to build an import infrastructure for natural gas we want to use until 2070? From my point of view that’s a clear “no”. We need to substitude the fossil fuels directly with renewable energies and science actually says: That’s not a problem. We do have the technological solutions today We can build a secure energy supply in 100% on the basis of climate-neutral renewable energies, in combinations with storage. Solar energy and wind energy are by this time able to compete with fossil energy sources, that means we can afford that, so the financing shouldn’t be a huge problem. Of course we need to be mindful of the costs being distributed in a socially balanced way. But politics needs to build the needed frames for it quickly. Like I said, the pace factor 5 is too minor. That’s why we are happy about the enormous mobilization of the younger generations by Fridays For Future and I’m glad you are sitting here on this podium today, because there are lots of voices in politics that have said, go to school again, you don’t know a thing. That’s why we are sitting here too because we are the professionals and we say, the young generation is right and we actually have to give them a fantastic amount of thanks and credit for their courage. Because it actually is brave not to go to school and this is the impulse that might move something now and that’s why we demand with emphasis to implement these claims here and to act rapidly. We will also be there on the demonstration on Friday, on the huge demonstration here in Berlin, and there we will announce the final number of supporters which most likely will be much more than 12000 by then. Thank you. Yes, thank you very much, we have already had lots of scientists on this podium, but in my assessement the first ones who managed to come through with their introductions in the given time. Now we can start with the questions in time. Go ahead. Collegues who aren’t members of the press conference of the press conference can ask questions too. But Mr. Jung will begin now. Mr. Quaschning, can you tell us which parties that are currently present in the Bundestag at least want the smallest of things that are essentially needed? None? I mean, there are some parties, the Greens and the Left, which are a little closer to what we need to do but I haven’t seen any concept yet, how we really can make Germany climate-neutral during the next 20 years. We do have measures that strive for the right direction but from my point of view all of the measures that are offered by now too minor. I may ask both of the student representatives how they feel about this support by the science and second, how they felt about the sentence of the FDP politician Lindner who stated this was a matter of professionals. Well, maybe to Lindner first, I consider this quite rediculous, espescially in respect of the press conference that was alredy public on sunday Linder spoke about how we should listen to professionals and tried to discredit us this way too and if you listen what the scientists here have to say it’s just wrong. We need to do something about the climate crisis now and Mr. Lindner should understand that too if he listens to science. And … We aren’t sad that we are here, no, that’s of course extremely positive. We have been going on the streets for three months and emphasizing that now it’s the time to listen to science and that it’s time to act. And with an official support by Scientists For Future it’s much easier for us to communicate, maybe even unto inside the FDP. The collegue, please. Hello, Carel Mohn, Klimafakten (climate facts), I have a question for the students Miss Neubauer and Mr. Blasel, what should happen, you are adressing “the politics”, “the politics”, what should happen politically, so you would stop striking? Well, in the last 20 years we noticed that knowing full well about the climate crisis not even approxiemately did politically happen what would have to happen and this is in context of the Paris Agreement which the whole Bundestag has decided on in 2016 extremely disappointing. It doesn’t give us any reason to believe that the politics will reach the self-defined goals in the future or would set them ambitious enough so that it’s enough for our future to be secured. That means, two things are needed: First of all, we need a plan that guarantees us that what the scientists confirm here actually gets some influence in the innerpolitical happenings and a political plan that will also approve that the government and the decision makers in Germany understand that we are currently in the hugest crisis of humanity and on the same time we need to see that there is actually change happening because we are astonishingly good in making plans but even better in making them collect dust in the drawer. That means, of course the will to act has to be shown. Miss Buscho. Corinna Buscho, IPD, I don’t know your statement in detail yet. If I heard you just now you circle a lot around the topic of energy. Did I understand you correctly? Maybe the question to Mr. Quaschning, if we solved the energy problem we rescued the climate? Or are there other problems if for example we think about how there is a lot of talk about the ways of agriculture. Miss Wiltshire said that the importance of cultivation will increase in the future, what kind of role does that play in the whole conglomerate? Totally correct, in climate change different kinds of greenhouse gases play a role, the most important is the carbon dioxide. Worldwide the burning of fossil energies makes about 2/3 of the greenhouse gas emmissions. In Germany it’s over 80%, so that means for Germany it’s most important now to make a dive on the segment of energy transition. Of course we have other greenhouse emmissions too, like methane, the cause is for example the agriculture, internationally the deforestation of the rainforests play a huge role and there we need to start to act too, so, preservation of the rainforests, we need to reorganize a lot in the nutritional area too, that means a clear reduction of animal-based food and these are more facts for Germany, but we have cornored it about the energy first, because with 80% it’s the hugest greenhouse gas problem for Germany. But the nutritional sphere has a similar huge leverage as the mobility field. So, this idea that we make people healthier if they start eating differently and on the same time can prevent carbon dioxide emmissions massively significantly through less meat and less animal products That is also very important in the discussion because that’s the lever everyone has on their own. On the other hand it was also a fault in my opinion only to recommend the people individual measures because non of us can arrange it so that kerosene will be taxed, that’s a political question. And if it’s still cheaper to fly instead of going by train it’s just crazy and you don’t need to be a scientist, you understand it anyway. And these are things that need to intertwine and that’s why we are sitting here in representation for those over 12000 people where a lot have aquired practical solutions but that haven’t been listened to yet. I would like to add that on one hand it’s magnificent that we even see the attention on the climate change again but on the same time we are not at the end of it. The German Advisory Council on Global Change and lots of other scientists who signed the paper speak about planetary boundaries in the widest sense. Something like the usage of land goes with it which means that there is a set number of flatlands we cannot seal and cannot exploit intensively for nutrition or to build cities and secure them. That includes possible dimensions of forest areas which we need for water cycles to work and the freshwater supply can regenetare itself et cetera. So it’s really about a new understanding of what we have basically received since 1987 through the recording from space. There is one limited planet where humanity can ensure its existance and carry it to the future and to understand it well, that’s why we have lots of scientists who also devote themselves to biodiversity or others who look closely at the usage of land We need to embed our way of economic management inside of these planetary boundaries and organize our structure there circularly and reasonably. And this alone is a totally different way of thinking about economy, not the linear taking from the earth, using and throwing away wherever “away” might be, lots of ecological models don’t tell us about that. In case of doubt it’s left lying somewhere on out planet and that’s why this vision of a real circulatory economy is very, very important, no matter in which sector and no matter with which materials or emmissions we will have to deal with. And the metaphor that helped me to see through all of this insanity of growth is, again, a medical one. If something in your body is growing continuosly, then it’s not a good development, then it’s cancer. And this tought that we buy more and more things we don’t need with money we lend to impress people we don’t like is just sick, for ourselves and for the planet. An additional question if I may, these more than 12000 scientists, are they limited to Germany or are there already the scientists from Austria and Switzerland counted too? And are they from all scientific disciplines or how can one conceive them? It’s the collected scientists from Germany, Switzerland and Austria at this point. There are parallel initiatives, in Belgium was one, in the Netherlands, in France there is one being prepared et cetera. So it’s a trend that science sees it’s the time to get involved proactively. There are scientists, climatologists, there are scientists of transformation. We didn’t make any restrictions, we have economists with us, we have people from every discipline, the invitations have been very broad and it has been supported very broadly as well, what has been a positive surprise for us.
We have two Nobel Prize laureates among the people who signed And the list will be available starting 10:30, there are really a lot of renowned people. And I may also greet them from my imparting collegues, from (name I couldn’t find out) and Sven Klöger who have also recognized the urgency of this topic for the public. So, the next question from you, dear colleague. Manfred Ronzheimer, freelance journalist, I have a question to the scientists, You support the students now because they have achieved such a mass movement. What’s next for you? Is there, under cirumstances, to expect, that there will also be a movement in the scientific area too, that you are going to start to close the laboratories every friday and go on the streets and so on? Question one: So, is there a movement perceptible on your side or is it done with you signing this resolution and spreading it? Question two: How far are you going inside your own self and reflect why you are so extremly inefficacious with your warnings? You have explored everything, you are all telling us what is threatening us but you haven’t found a handling how to actually implement it. And question three if I may: How do you assess what the students are going to reach? Now you get a lot of attention also from us in the media and in politics but will you actually be able to turn the thing around and at the end of the year we will have pathbreaking decisions here in Germany and Europe that will have brought us on the way? I, thanks a lot for your, yes, fit occasion I have to say now. We are all moving something together, you aswell, by the way, not only us, and we scientists are indeed capable of communicating very well, we have learned the points of intersection by now, how you do that, and how you can see it here. Now it’s actually the next point of intersection who is in demand and there I also willingly look to the press and say: positively, with courage, above all: we are not helpless. We scientists are there for the facts, I, as a mother, am at the moment further there for the future. But in the end it goes the way that the different communicational interfaces, scientists to politics, politics to politics, press to politics, scientists to press, we are all in demand here together. And if we will all spread the massage, together, with different languages, and we do have different languages, to humanity, respectively to the politicians, what else are we given as acts, overall? That is, well, given then. And another sentence to that, it is, from my point of view, not like we just sit here and just put the solution down for everyone. We do know what has to be done but every single human is in demand. Even if it’s just one time more turning the light switch off, or shifting their diet, or maybe actually cultivating millet in Lower Saxony, that’s for every person to decide on their own, but we are actually able to do so, and that’s the poin And from me maybe, in addition, we often get the accusation that we are sitting in the ivory tower and do our researches, and it is true a little, we indeed made that publications, there are ten thousands of publications what is happening because of climate change, you can look it up in professional journals, but it somehow got through to the public slightly, but not really yet. What surprised me very positively right a the start, I was here from the beginning, Gregor Hagedorn gave it a push and how enourmously science beat a path to our door and really said, we need something like that. And that’s why I believe … so … We don’t have any plans for the future yet, we have done it all in our free time, with few sleep, and further one has to see, there is no organization behind that would carry it or anyhing, so that means really avocational engagement, but the broad resonance which was really overwhelming, shows that most likely it will not stop. That means we will keep intervening, clearly, If we will close a laboratory on friday, I believe it will move little in the world but if we talk to the press and support, scarcely when things happen as Mr. Lindner’s statement, we say, okay, we take a stand on it. Then I believe that we can move something by all means. And the solution, we can only propose it. The problem is certainly also that the fight against climate change is partially uncomfortable. And we have to lead that in a societal discourse, meaning that the question if I can still fly on a plane to Mallorca, if I have to buy my third t-shirt of the week, those are naturally things one has to bring into question. And we have to do that in the societal discourse now, and that’s why I’m glad to see that on one hand the younger generation, namely the students initiated it, so that we firstly come into the discussion, and now we really need all together. We need politics, it cannot on its own too, one has to state that clearly. If they talk about speed restrictions immediately half of the German population is against it although it would be useful somewhere. That means, we have to engage in the debate. We also have to accept that we will have uncomfortable change. And for that, there is furthermore pressure from all sides needed. And I hope that we scientists can contribute to that at least a little bit. Mr. Koch. Ms. Neubauer, at the moment you are calling the students up to strike on fridays, not to go to class, are you planning a tightening of these actions for the next time. Where do we go from here? Do you have something developing? The week has a few more days. We have been striking for three months, quite accurately, and in these three months we got an impressive amount of resonance, from lots of directions, positive and negative. But in fact, nothing changed for the planet. Some people may chalk it up as a success that we bring young people to the streets and politicize them, that is nice on a discoursive-political level but irrelevant for climate change policy. That means, we will continue to strike and in the way how they are already talking about compulsory education and the need to attend school on fridays it might even be radical if one wants to put it that way because certainly we are continuing to exhaust the boundaries of what is still accepted or supported societally and/or in educational politics. On friday we will experience the hugest climate mobilization of young people in Germany that has ever been. At over 170 places there will be strikes in Germany. In no country there are more strikes registrated what says a lot about the condition of our climate policy. And we are continuing to grow, we experience that other societal groups are joining us, what we appreciate a lot for example the Parents for Future who are also calling, which is very important because we, as young people, will proceed to draw attention to it but we also cannot do the homework of a republic and we emphatically invite others to join us, like the scientists, the grown-ups, the parents, and everybody else, who feels responsible in some way to stand up for our future. Maybe, just to add, of course we will continue to count on the voters. For the European elections in May we demand all people to give really good thoughts if they actually want to give their vote to a party which has no plan for our future and the climate. Yes, we want to turn the European election into a climate election. At the moment the election programmes are written and we want to make clear already that no party will get votes from our supporters that doesn’t follow a climate policy enough and that don’t fight enough against the climate crisis and have enough of a plan to operate climate protection on European levels. That concerns every party. Luisa is a university student, Jacob, you are still a pupil, aren’t you? Yes, I’m a pupil. This argument: Man, why don’t they strike in their free time? I cannot recall any strike in Germany where pilots, enginemen, unionists would have done that in their free time. So, I find this is absurd, this idea, to say, we need a system change, also needs this urgency. Maybe a little water to the wine, societies are complex, and sensitive if you want to change the course so radically. In the climate policy you will generate social and political dislocations You didn’t give any statements to them here, or maybe in your papers, I don’t know about that. If you don’t do that, the dislocations can be as bad, or even worse, like the dislocations that will be generated by the climate change later. Then you haven’t won anything. I want to bring up the example of Lausitz, coal phase-out, they have been wrestling that long, to give the people there in Lausitz a perspective. You don’t get anything out of it if all people have to move. So you didn’t say anything about it and if you aren’t going to say anything about it you won’t be able to convince the people for a faster climate change. This is why I am asking you what you have to say about the consequences of an economical and social climate protection. As a scientist, I can only watch this whole discussion about the coal phase-out in astonishment. So in Germany, we are talking roundabout 20.000 jobs in the brown coal industry, which means that we don’t have any more jobs there. Of course they are in structurally weak regions, that is clear, on the other hand during the last four years we have dismantled 80.000 jobs in the photovoltaik industry without flinching because between 2012 and 2015 the federal government has reduced the expansion of renewable energies distinctly because of cost issues. But at the same time in China emerged a huge amount of jobs. By now China has more than 1 million people working in photovoltaik. In Germany the number of jobs has decreased from 120.000 to 40.000, and it is not only fatal for climate policy to bet on outdated technologies but also for economical policy. That means, at the moment we really see a boom in new technologies in China, be it the photovoltaik, the wind energy, the electromobility, where certainly a lot is happening. We bet on old technologies, on diesel and brown coal and that will have dramatical consequences for Germany in the long run. That means, here isn’t any contradiction about us making a fast transition and protect the climate, but with the climate protection and new technologies there appears an enormous chance, especially for the business location Germany, which we turn our back on at the moment. Certainly there are dislocations, utterly clear, so, in the Lausitz there is the question if one will settle the new jobs there but exactly that is the task of politics then, to accompany and distribute that. From the perspective of costs, there are lots of studies that say that a renewable energy supply for a 100% is not more expensive than the conventional energy supply, which means it is doable, and the spread, the change, has to be accompanied by politics. I would like to supplement that, because I think, also from that point now, “technology and forwards”. On the other hand we discuss a structural change of digitalization, it is just condoned as it is. It is somehow led by markets, it comes, maybe 25% of jobs will eventually vanish, what has the state to do to save all that, that’s just condoned as progress agenda and celebrated. Why, and that’s a question that can only be answered by political-economical questions about interests and power constellations are we not finding this same energy in the modernization of our climate technologies, our ways to do agriculture and the way we shape mobility? Why can the one thing be celebrated as progress with all its collateral damage for which politics and society of course have to stand straight, and the other one is being repelled until the last moment although proportionally we are having totally different scales? And that’s the question I want to ask. Why can’t we grasp this atmosphere of departure generally and use it for a mutual idea of economics of the 21st century? For all areas. And then adding again, the irreversibility of the changes of ecological systems in their regeneration has simply not been understood yet, I think. If we reach this tipping points, where the climate tilts, where biodiversity tilts, where the oceans tilt, we cannot just say we just switch this technology off. We have totally altered necessities of life for humankind for the next generations and that’s not considered adequately in any economical calculation. It’s not even plannable or predictable. And this is why we have to turn the risk hierarchy in that perspective. And the world Economic Forum is already advancing in that direction, where I really ask myself, if the SEO’s and the economical decision makers of this republic and the world are saying by now that of the top six of global hazards five are ecological and the sixth is mass destruction weapons. Then the time has long expired when we had to talk about if ecology might cost something. May I add something … Here you are.
I believe that I speak for a lot of young people but also for a lot of representatives of science. We are not indulging in an illusion here that we are not standing in front of the biggest challenge of all time and that the transformations that are necessary exceed anything we have ever experienced. But if this press conference transports one message, then it shall be the one that there are no excuses left. We show on the streets every week that action is needed and in science there are endless answers to be found. There is no excuse left to look away now and not to take the challenge because the alternative would be an ecological collapse in the next century and that’s no option at least for our generation. No additional questions? Then it’s your turn, please. I wanted to ask, (Christopher Jehnert from the ARD Hörfunk) how did you find each other? Who adressed who? How did it happen that now you four are sitting here at the front? How did that come out? It was a highly emergent process and the responsible initiator is sitting here Dr. Gregor Hagedorn, he just wrote an e-mail and said: Look, that happened in Belgium, I think it absolutely makes sense, are you in? And the rest is precisely the volunteer activity from all the people who received e-mails, passed them on, wrote them, pulled an all-nighter, espescially on this side, and the selection? We were reflecting upon how we get a representation as wide as possible and how we show that it’s not only a few silverbacks in this republic who defend this position but that it really is a broad consensus. Volker Hagedorn, academical director of … Gregor, I’m sorry, but, er, Volker Michel, no … so many Volkers here! So, essential organizators were Gregor Hagedorn and Volker Quaschning. And then everybody has looked in their network which dedicated people they know but it’s not an association, not a new lobby organization, we are really sitting here as private people, not for our institutions, that’s important, also as part of the alley. We are just people, not only scientists. Really important! Mr. Jung, please. I’d like to know how many economists have joined you, I mean in the end, it’s also about the capitalism that is making this planet what it is, has made the planet become as it is, and for that it also requires economic answers, alternative models. If you listen to the parties, Mr. Quaschning, what you are also criticizing, they are mostly betting on the protection of consistent prosperity, which certainly also means on the protection of growth and that means capitalism has to keep going as before and the destruction of the planet as well, do you have economists who can give an answer for that? Firstly, I’d like to add, I have dealings with economists in my consultative committee, you will be surprised that lots of them are saying that they don’t understand why politics is still defining and propagating inept growth as an aim. In theory building it is a means to an end. And that’s what we have to reflect on politically. And that can be done for productivity, for competitiveness, for innovation, lots of these terms we are carrying around as an objective in itself are free of quality. And you will find a great many economists who say we need to give it a definition again which can bring an orientation of direction at all. What do we mean if we say growth? What has to grow and what might have to shrink eventually? It’s about a structural change, it’s not about us turning of the lamps tomorrow morning. But we also need to ask where there are constraints of growth anchored in our economy which don’t allow us at the moment to make these investments which will operate very positively middle- and long-term. And precisely these discussions are taking place and you will have different camps there like you have it as well in all other disciplines but it’s certainly not like there are no answers and it’s certainly not like these discussions aren’t held very honestly and seriously. By the way, outside of Germany much more significantly and deeper boring than here. Here we are a developing country. The OECD has an own initiative for it, “New Approaches to Economic Challenges”, broadly carried by the members. In the world economic forum itself it is discussed. There are post-autistic economy movements, university students again, who apply to their teachers to finally stop teaching them senseless models which have nothing to do with reality. So we have things to do but it is certainly not like there is nothing of the sort.
It’s called “post-autistic”? Yes. The homo economicus as the figure that underlies the whole modelling has zero qualities of human empathy, sensitivity, anything. A totally peculiar creature that we should approach step by step with the incentive systems we give, with the money systems we create for our models to function.
Oh, God. I had the impression that Mr. Quaschning wanted to add sth. too.
Yes. I want to remind of my question. The question is how many economists we have on board. We didn’t break it down to specialist disciplines so we cannot answer your question expicitly.
There are some. Yes. There are indeed some, for example from our institution of higher education we have the chairwoman of the coal commission who also signed, she is an economic collegue, insofar, our president also signed, he is an economist too, insofar I can tell about two people I know by name. We are 12.000 altogether so I assume that there will be a few hundred economists too. My brother is an industrial engineer, does that also count? He is here at the technical university and this is a good example, he has been writing assessements for years that state why we don’t need brown coal anymore, why we don’t need nuclear power in Germany and he is joining demonstrations now because he says, only writing assessements is not enough. And I also see that the frustration of the people who have devoted themselves to the topic in depth is growing and that’s a good thing. Because we have only really few years left, we are the first generation that is witnessing what climate change means and we might be the last one that might change something about it. Further questions. We don’t have any, so we are at the end of this press conference on the Tuesday For Future and I thank our guests.