Why we become politically active
The people of Berlin are demanding an ambitious climate policy that helps us stay within the global 1.5° limit.
Berlin is the heart of the German climate movement. Last year, a quarter of a million people demonstrated in the capital, and over 40,000 signed the Volksinitiative Klimanotstand. The response from our politicians, however, has been one characterised by inaction. “Climate packages” have been agreed, and a “climate emergency” declared, but the necessary transformation is nowhere to be seen.
We only have 10 years to reach zero emissions.
In 2015, 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement, and committed – symbolically at least – to limit global heating to less than 1.5°. Despite this pledge, the climate has been breaking negative records ever since. Increasing extreme weather events endanger life everywhere, and our global ecosystems continue to destabilize, approaching collapse. This year, the German Federal Government’s Environment Council estimated that our CO2 budget will only last until 2032. Meanwhile, scientists warn us of the dangerous climate tipping points we will reach if nothing is done. We cannot continue in this vein.
If we set the right course in the coming legislature, we will succeed.
To bring emissions to net zero in just 10 years we must transform our infrastructure and entire economic model. This presents some considerable challenges, challenges that, if we are to overcome them, must be approached in a radical and disciplined manner – only then will we stand a chance. The necessary technology is at hand and large sections of the population are on board. What’s missing is the political will.
No party in parliament has a plan to implement what is necessary.
At present, no established party is willing to ask the important questions. Instead, they remain entangled in the destructive growth model from which we need to be freed. Proximity to power has softened even the progressively inclined, and most seem more intent on retaining power than addressing the climate crisis. We must stop getting mired in discussions about trivial measures when it’s the overall course that’s not right. Cosmetic change will not suffice, it must be structural.
This is why the climate justice movement itself must go to parliament.
People untainted by party politics are needed to bring a new dynamic to the state parliament and challenge the ageing power structures. Led by science, the climate movement understands that the future is at stake – a recognition that gives it the strength and necessary idealism to initiate real change.
While this is the greatest challenge in our history, it’s also the greatest opportunity.
The current moment is one of enormous transformative potential. Post-COVID-19 reconstruction offers the opportunity to realign our economy away from the needs of big business toward those of people and the planet. It’s a chance to dismantle the unequal, consumerist society in which we live, and establish a fairer, more ecological city in its place. Together let’s prove that real democratic change is possible and that politics needn’t be a space just for “professionals”, but for everyone.
We must act now, for soon it will be too late.
We – those who have opened their eyes to the truth and are prepared to put the collective good above the individual.
Must – because it’s a moral imperative to avert the coming suffering, because we will never give up our future without a fight, and because as humans we have no alternative.
Act – be loud, question the structures that govern our lives, and fight for a future that guarantees integrity for all.
Now – action must be immediate and relentless – the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are already far too high, and emissions continue to rise.