Germany – our well intentioned behavior has done nothing to protect the climate
In a recent interview with German Government adviser Kai Konrad in Spiegel Online, Kai talks about how Germany and Europe need to take a new approach to climate change. Kai believes that Germany and Europe have made a mistake in taking a pioneering approach climate protection, “It’s a mistake to believe our noble behavior will so greatly impress others in these talks that it will move them to make concessions in return. Kai goes on to say “On balance, our well-intentioned behavior is expensive for us and does nothing to protect the climate.”
The new approach to climate change – “Instead of avoiding CO2 at any cost, we should prepare ourselves for continued global warming. It’s a credible threat”. It is also a refocus that we see in many corporations and also in the built environment – I have personally heard a few times the phrase “tackling global warming is for tree huggers and environmentalists; adapting to climate change is a Board Director fiduciary duty, we have a legal responsibility”.
Kai goes on to talk about where our efforts should be focused in tackling climate change when the greatest rate of rise in CO2 is coming from developing countries who don’t have the economics to deal with not just climate change, but also health and education. “We are spending a great deal of money to protect the children and grandchildren of the same people we’re allowing to starve today. The amount we’re spending in an attempt to reduce CO2 would be better invested in education and health in the regions that are under threat.” Our goal should be to improve economic conditions in developing countries, because that in turn strengthens those countries’ ability to adapt to climate change.”
I wonder where that leaves developed countries like Australia that haven’t taken a pioneering approach to climate protection? Our very intentional behaviour may have saved ourselves loads of money, but what are we doing to help the developing countries in the Asia Pacific region to strengthen their ability to adapt to climate change?