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#rC3 Climate Change and the Corona Pandemic

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    rC3 hacc preroll music
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    Herald [DE]: Ja, einen wunderschönen guten
    Tag. Herzlich willkommen zu Tag 4 auf der
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    XHain Bühne. Unserem letzten Live Talk
    hier. Der Talk wird in Englisch sein.
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    Darum wechsele ich jetzt auch mal auf
    Englisch.
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    Herald [EN]: So. Good afternoon,
    everybody. Welcome to day 4 of the remote
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    chasos experience. Our last live talk here
    on our XHain stage, which is as was the
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    talk about self-driving cars yesterday, a
    production we do for the Munich channel. I
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    kind of forgot to mention that yesterday.
    Sorry. Thank you Munich for choosing nice
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    talks and we are happy to produce them.
    And yeah, so today our guest is Dr. Kira
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    Vinke. She is from the Potsdam Institute
    for Climate Impact Research and she is
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    going to tell us a little bit about Corona
    and the climate crisis. And is going to
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    compare those emergencies. And yeah,
    without further ado, the stage is yours.
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    Kira: Thanks, so much, Felix. And it's a
    pleasure to be here and talk to you today
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    about the parallels of the Corona pandemic
    and the climate crisis. This talk builds
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    upon a research paper that we released
    over the summer, and it will follow its
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    structure more or less. At the end we'll
    have time for discussion. So let me just
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    start by giving you a quick run through
    what I will go through. We structured our
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    talk into several sections called
    diagnosis, prognosis, therapy,
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    rehabilitation, and of course, the
    conclusion. And on the right hand side,
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    you can see the paper. So during the
    Covid-19 pandemic, institutional deficits
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    surfaced, one could see there was a lack
    of preparedness. Risks that could have
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    been averted were not. And there are
    significant parallels between this global
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    health emergency and the climate
    emergency, which have become apparent over
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    the past years. And the questions that
    arose were, how can global society manage
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    the shared risks and avert emergencies and
    what can we learn for emergency prevention
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    and management? So what is an emergency?
    This is the first thing we started out
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    with. And we rely upon a paper that was
    published before this on on the climate
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    emergency. And here already the parallels
    unfold. It is called the emergency
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    formula, and it basically defines
    emergency as risk multiplied by urgency.
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    But what is risk? Risk is the probability
    times the damage and the urgency is the
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    reaction time over the intervention time.
    So here you can see a picture of what is
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    supposed to be the Titanic and the
    iceberg. And this is exactly the situation
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    that that provides a metaphor for what an
    emergency is. As I said before, emergency
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    is identified by risk times urgency, which
    is the probability times damage for
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    multiplied by reaction time over
    intervention time. And I will go more into
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    detail of what this means in terms of the
    climate crisis and the Corona crisis.
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    Basically, what is important to realize
    that, is that if reaction time and
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    intervention time converge, so the time to
    avoid damages and the time that is
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    available to do so, we have lost control.
    So it's very important to to avoid this
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    and we will go structure the talk with
    this emergency formula. So let's first
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    look at the diagnosis, which is providing
    scientific understanding. If we do a risk
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    assessment of the SARS-CoV-2 and climate
    change. There are several factors that you
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    need to look at. For example, in the case
    of Covid-19, the contagiousness, the
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    duration of infections, the transmission
    pathways, the mortality, which groups are
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    more at risk and why? What are the options
    available for therapy? This, of course,
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    changed throughout the duration of the
    pandemic. How is immunity structured? Does
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    it, are you immune after the infection, so
    on, so forth. In the case of climate
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    change, of course, one very important
    variable are greenhouse gas emissions and
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    the concentration of greenhouse gases in
    the atmosphere, but also how the climate
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    system reacts to it. So what is the
    climate sensitivity here? Then temperature
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    rise, the resulting climate impacts, sea
    level rise, extreme events such as
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    tropical cyclones, floods and droughts, et
    cetera, and also our adaptive capacity,
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    how how we are able to respond and adapt
    to these different changes. So this risk
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    assessment, this diagnosis is the basis
    for all further steps that we're looking
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    at. One example here, and that became
    quite clear early on in the Covid-19
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    pandemic is the Case Fatality Rate of
    Covid-19. This is basically, this graph is
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    basically showing you that the older the
    age groups are, the higher the mortality
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    rate is. So this means that elderly people
    are much more likely to develop severe
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    symptoms and are also much more likely to
    die from those symptoms than younger
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    people. In, in the case of climate change,
    the projections are also quite clear. Here
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    you can see two different graphs on
    climate change projections. On the left
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    hand side, you can see how greenhouse gas
    emissions would drive temperature change
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    over time. So you can see the change until
    2100. And you can see that it strongly
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    depends on the emissions pathway we take.
    So the blue, the blue areas that you see
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    here is the pathway that would be in line
    with the Paris Agreement that would
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    require rapid emissions reductions. And
    the red pathway is what would happen if we
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    do not stop growing the emissions and
    would lead us to what we call a business
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    as usual scenario, which could lead to 4
    degrees plus by the end of the century. On
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    the right hand side, you see the so-called
    Burning Ember graphic also from the IPCC,
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    where you can see the different levels of
    risks associated with different
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    temperature levels on the right hand side.
    So, for example, unique and threatened
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    systems such as coral reef systems are
    already under pressure right now as we are
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    around above 1° Celsius, above industrial
    levels of average temperature. So when you
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    look at pandemics, when you look at
    climate change, in the case of Germany,
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    these threats to global security are
    already mentioned in certain documents. So
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    you can see it here and the guidelines on
    Civilian Crisis Prevention and also in the
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    Whitebook of the German military, the
    German Bundeswehr. I posted 2 quotes for
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    you here. For example, health risks can
    have destabilizing effects on whole
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    regions and can undo long standing
    development gains. So these aspects are
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    mentioned, climate impacts and pandemics
    are mentioned as challenges for German
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    security, but there's no concrete strategy
    of what to do with this risk. So looking
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    at the next step, the prognosis, we can
    see here, how we define urgency again. So
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    urgency is a reaction time over
    intervention time and intervention time is
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    a time span from the point that a risk
    identified to the point of impact.
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    Reaction time is a time span needed to
    change course and avoid impact. And the
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    reaction time depends both on hard
    factors. So what type of infrastructure
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    you have or what type of technology you
    have? And also on soft factors such as
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    information networks, political leadership
    and willingness to act. So it's not only,
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    only the system that defines how we are
    able to react, but also the choices by
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    society and political leaders. So again,
    urgent action is required if the risk of
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    damage is high and the reaction time and
    intervention time converge. So we know
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    that control is lost if the reaction time
    is longer than the intervention time
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    available. Then basically, the impacts
    cannot be avoided any longer. When we look
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    at the urgency in the case of SARS-CoV-2
    the coronavirus that has caused the
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    pandemic over the past year, there are
    critical time points after which a certain
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    level of damage can no longer be avoided.
    And this critical time spans encompass,
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    for example, national outbreaks. So it
    could have been contained locally or, or
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    to certain regions within one state. It
    could have been that a pandemic could have
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    been avoided and just limited to an
    endemic so that the virus would not have
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    spread beyond China. And another critical
    time span is that the number of intensive
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    care patients is not larger than the
    number of intensive care beds. And even
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    small delays in testing and tracing can
    have large and deadly consequences. So
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    this means that even if you then invest in
    adaptation, meaning you start buying
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    intensive care units, ventilators, trained
    staff, etc., if you are already on this
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    exponential curve, this will not suffice
    to prevent the damage which you could have
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    prevented if you had started to to act
    earlier. And a similar situation on a much
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    larger scale we are facing with the
    climate crisis. We know for intervention
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    time that at the current levels of CO2
    emissions, the carbon budget, so the
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    amount of CO2 that we can still release
    into the atmosphere will be exceeded in
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    less than 8 years under the current
    emissions pathway. And this would mean
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    that, as I showed earlier, some graphs
    that certain risks would materialize. For
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    example, tipping elements could occur in
    the Earth's system as early as 1.5
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    degrees. And this could mean that there's
    potential points of no return after which
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    these these risks and these changes can no
    longer be undone. The reaction time herein
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    is the decarbonization of the global
    economy. So if you imagine that we have to
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    go to net zero emissions globally, this
    requires also time to do so. We cannot
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    just simply switch from one day to another
    and it's time to decarbonize energy
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    system, to build new structures to, for
    example, change the way we practice
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    agriculture, the way we construct
    buildings, etc. All of this requires
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    certain times until we have both the
    technology available, but also the system
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    infrastructure available to us so that we
    can transform all of this. And yeah, the
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    control is lost when the time left for
    intervention to avoid harm is smaller than
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    the time needed for reaction. So this is
    the point at which the Titanic sunk.
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    Then... even though the iceberg was
    visible relatively early on. There were
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    only a few seconds in which the captain
    could have turned the ship and avoided the
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    impact. After that, it was no longer
    possible and the fate was sealed,
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    basically. So what you here sees is that
    tipping points in the Earth's system can
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    start as early as around 1.5°s for some
    systems. And the tipping elements are
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    connected potentially in somewhat of a
    domino effect, meaning that they can start
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    influencing each other when one system
    tips it affects the tipping probability of
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    the others. So, for example, one element
    here is the Amazon rainforest. It can tip,
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    change it's its character from a tropical
    rainforest to more of a savannah type of
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    forest when the temperatures rise above 4°
    or when deforestation reaches a quarter of
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    the of the forest cover. So this is very
    worrisome because right now deforestation
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    rates are very high and also warming is is
    increasing. So this tipping point is
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    approaching sooner than is comfortable for
    our risk assessment. What is the role of
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    science in this prognosis? So what is
    interesting about the role of science and
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    here is that we learned in the Corona
    pandemic that science can help us to
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    understand risk before they arrive at our
    doorstep. So before we can see the effects
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    of these risks. So long before the impact
    occurs, we can, through science, for
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    example, through epidemiological models,
    through climate models, anticipate the
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    risk and therefore act very early on and
    so to say, increase our perceived
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    intervention time. So we need to assess
    the risk. What is the probability and what
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    type of damages could could occur and what
    is the urgency? What is intervention time?
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    What are critical point that we really
    need to avoid? And what is the reaction
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    time when how can we still intervene? And
    we know for both Corona and the climate,
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    that cascading impacts could overwhelm our
    capacity. In the case of Corona, of
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    course, is mostly refers to our health
    systems capacity. And we know that
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    immediate action is required to avoid
    damages such as deaths. And what is the
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    therapy, our headline for the therapy is
    avoiding the unmanageable and managing the
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    unavoidable. So the unmanageable in this
    case is health system overload or collapse
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    because of extreme demand for intensive
    care. And in climate change, it would be
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    more than 2° global warming. And to avoid
    really this tipping cascade and potential
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    ecosystem collapses that would follow.
    This would require mitigation and
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    prevention of infections in the case of
    Covid and mitigation of greenhouse gas
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    emissions in the case of climate change.
    The unavoidable is in the case of Covid-19
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    disease outbreaks and deaths from
    infections that have already occurred and
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    in climate change, warming and impacts
    from already released greenhouse gas
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    emissions, which we are already witnessing
    today. And throughout this entire year, it
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    has become abundantly clear that wildfires
    are destroying habitats of both humans and
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    animals. And the unavoidable requires us
    also to invest into adaptation so that we
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    can limit the experience of damages that
    are occurring. Yeah, what can we learn
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    from the pandemic, it is that people can
    and are willing to change their behavior
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    if they perceive a crisis and that the sum
    of many individual actions matter. So it
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    does matter if I the way I behave
    personally, it does matter. It can change
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    the course of a global and national
    crisis. So this insight is very, very
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    important for for both crises, actually.
    But it also requires strategic and
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    coordinated action. So we need this
    government regulations in order to
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    coordinate our collective action that
    rests on individual efforts. So these are
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    all insights that are in that sense
    encouraging in the sense that we are able
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    to cope and to overcome very complex
    crises. And when we look at how to
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    transition to carbon neutrality and how to
    reach climate stability, we can look at
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    two approaches. One is a bottom-up
    approach, people changing their habits,
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    and one is this coordinated top-down
    approach where we redefine how we want to
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    govern global commons. And one important
    insight is this solidarity that this is
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    based on. For the climate crisis, it is
    clear that we need to change the course of
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    global emissions here you can see the so-
    called carbon staircase up on which a
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    paper was built that shows that there are
    several steps that are required in the
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    next decades in order to reach net zero
    emissions by the middle of the century
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    worldwide. And there are several low
    hanging fruits that could be tackled very
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    early on. But for this, we need
    rehabilitation, we need healing of body
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    and soul across the generations, because
    it is a really interesting situation that
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    in the Covid-19 pandemic, the elderly
    generations are much more at risk than the
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    younger generations. I remind you of the
    slide that I had shown earlier where you
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    see the case fatality rate going up as you
    as the age increases. Whereas in the
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    climate crisis, the younger generations
    are the most affected because in the
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    future, like the the heap of the mass of
    climate impacts. So it is important to to
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    unite behind the science and to have a
    kind of constellation of actors that seeks
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    to protect the weakest. And this has
    worked to some degree at least, and in
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    different constellations. In the case of
    the Covid-19 pandemic, the different
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    actors who are less affected by the
    pandemic moved to protect the elderly
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    generations. And in the case of the
    climate crisis, we need the same thing. We
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    need a coalition of actors who is willing
    to change course in order to protect the
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    youth. And this is the ethical dilemma, of
    course, of weighing economic, cultural and
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    societal sacrifices against the direct
    protection of lives from the infection or
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    against severe future climate risk
    unfolding only in maybe decades, although
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    we can obviously see already very severe
    climate impacts emerge. So one key
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    ingredient for this is intergenerational
    justice. And we demand in this in this
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    paper, so-called climate and Corona
    contract. Where young generations would
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    pledge to protect the elderly and other at
    risk groups by adhering to infection
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    protection measures. As has been the case
    over the past year. Most young people have
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    adhered to to the infection protection
    measures, although they themselves were
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    not at high risk. And at the same time,
    older generations would uphold and
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    strengthen commitments on climate
    protection, such as the Paris Agreement,
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    such as the European Green Deal to protect
    the future of the youth. At the end, I
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    would like to remind you that already all
    future crises will happen against the
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    background, against, of the climate
    crisis. So we have seen, for example, in
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    the case of the Corona pandemic, that
    island nations like Vanuatu had to battle
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    on two fronts, basically trying to uphold
    infection protection measures while also
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    being extremely affected by tropical
    cyclones. And in other cases, this was
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    also the case like with droughts, with
    floods, with heat waves. It's very
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    difficult to address multiple crises,
    which is why we need to address the
  • 21:13 - 21:21
    climate crisis urgently. The conclusion
    here is it's time to act and the different
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    variables of the emergency formula can be
    influenced by mitigation, which lowers the
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    probability for damage to occur at the
    beginning. Adaptation, limiting the
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    experience of adverse effects of damages.
    Governance to be able to efficiently use
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    our reaction, time. And science, which can
    increase the human perception of the
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    remaining intervention time. So based on
    this going back through, to our emergency
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    formula, we have built a kind of
    contingency plan because we know some
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    damages can no longer be avoided, both for
    climate change and the Corona pandemic.
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    But there are certain things that we can
    do to limit the damages and limit the
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    experience of the damages. With this, I
    look forward to our discussion and I close
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    the talk. Thank you very much.
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    H: There are already some questions in the
    pad. If the audience wants to add more
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    questions, now it's the time for that. The
    1. question is, what do we know about
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    people, groups spreading misinformation to
    make climate change and the pandemic
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    worse? Is there evidence for my impression
    that they are mostly the same for both
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    topics?
    K: Now, that's a very interesting
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    question. For the case of climate change.
    It has been proven many a time that there
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    are companies, especially fossil fuel
    companies, other lobbyist groups, who are
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    investing in spreading and the spread of
    misinformation, basically. So this is
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    often very well done. It's concealed
    behind very fancy looking graphics and for
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    the layperson, very difficult to
    distinguish what is information provided
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    by scientists and what is information
    provided by somebody who can make nice
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    graphs, basically. So this is this is a
    very crucial element why action has been
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    delayed over decades. I mean, a lot of
    this knowledge about climate change was
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    already available decades ago. We knew
    about the risk. Now we even know more
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    about the risks. Yet people are hesitant
    to act. And the spread of misinformation
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    for the Covid-19 pandemic also goes into
    the direction of science denial,
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    basically. And I think it comes from the
    same sort of mindset sometimes, not from
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    exactly the same sources. Exactly. But one
    element is, of course, the the
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    availability or non availability of
    reliable news formats. So in Germany, we
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    have news formats that I trusted by the
    public that everybody can rely on in order
  • 24:06 - 24:12
    to receive information. But this kind of
    publicly funded news is not available in
  • 24:12 - 24:20
    every country. And this has led to news
    channels being more or less on one
  • 24:20 - 24:26
    political spectrum or the other. And it
    has led to the politicization of issues
  • 24:26 - 24:32
    like climate change and the Covid-19
    pandemic, which is very problematic
  • 24:32 - 24:38
    because. It's fine to have an opinion
    about which policies should be made. But
  • 24:38 - 24:41
    the facts should be the same in our
    discussion, even if we have different
  • 24:41 - 24:47
    opinions about the policies and such. And
    I see here also a lot of danger in the
  • 24:47 - 24:53
    spread of misinformation over social media
    networks from which a lot of people are
  • 24:53 - 24:58
    now relying on for their news source. So
    this is also problematic because there's
  • 24:58 - 25:04
    no real fact checking going on there.
    H: Thank you for that answer. The 2.
  • 25:04 - 25:08
    question would be, given that our CO2
    budget will be used up within 8 years
  • 25:08 - 25:14
    while mainstream politics reject the very
    concept of a CO2 budget and fossil lobby
  • 25:14 - 25:18
    groups seem to be as influential as ever.
    Do you think that we already crossed the
  • 25:18 - 25:26
    point of losing control?
    K: Um, I mean, it's it's difficult to say.
  • 25:26 - 25:31
    For once, there are still a lot that we
    can save by our actions. So I personally
  • 25:31 - 25:37
    have a lot of hope that the transformation
    will be more rapid than what from what we
  • 25:37 - 25:42
    can foresee from this current standpoint.
    And there's still a lot that a lot of
  • 25:42 - 25:50
    systems that are stable for a lot more
    time, a lot more emissions. So it's very
  • 25:50 - 25:55
    important that we keep those safe.
    However, we have already lost a lot as
  • 25:55 - 25:59
    well. So it's really, it really depends on
    your standpoint. So if you live on the
  • 25:59 - 26:04
    Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific,
    which are 2 meters above sea level. Yeah,
  • 26:04 - 26:09
    it's it's we are at a very critical point.
    And also, if you're in Bangladesh, if your
  • 26:09 - 26:12
    child has died from a tropical cyclone,
    that would have normally not occurred in
  • 26:12 - 26:18
    that strength, the point of no return has
    been crossed for that child. Right? So
  • 26:18 - 26:23
    it's it's very it's very dependent on your
    your standpoint here in Germany. Here in
  • 26:23 - 26:28
    Europe, we have the money to fortify our
    housing et cetera. We can we can adapt to
  • 26:28 - 26:32
    some degree of climate change, we are also
    not as exposed as other countries because
  • 26:32 - 26:41
    of our geography. But it's important to
    emphasize that it's worth the fight to to
  • 26:41 - 26:46
    limit emissions now. And I also see some
    positive indications that it is now being
  • 26:46 - 26:51
    taken more more seriously.
    H: Thank you, all the good things are 3.
  • 26:51 - 26:58
    So a 3. question. Especially if I see the
    picture in your slide there. Do you think
  • 26:58 - 27:07
    that the Corona pandemic made the climate
    change ignorance worse in the last year?
  • 27:07 - 27:11
    So that it was more in the background and
    people are thinking about like more
  • 27:11 - 27:18
    threatening problems because that's, they
    happen faster than climate change?
  • 27:18 - 27:25
    K: I don't think so. I think it has still,
    it has still been in the media. Still, I'm
  • 27:25 - 27:30
    able to talk here to you. There are still
    people who are interested in this. So I
  • 27:30 - 27:34
    think it was not completely forgotten. But
    of course, the urgency of the Corona
  • 27:34 - 27:41
    pandemic demanded the attention of
    policymakers, etc.. So I it is my hope
  • 27:41 - 27:49
    that through the experience of the adverse
    effects also in industrialized countries
  • 27:49 - 27:55
    of this pandemic, we realized that we are
    not exempt in Germany or in Europe or in
  • 27:55 - 28:00
    the United States or wherever from global
    shocks. It matters to us if there's a
  • 28:00 - 28:05
    wildlife trade in China. We have to be
    concerned about, as should be the people
  • 28:05 - 28:10
    in Bangladesh should be concerned about
    coal mines and Brandenburg. So I think
  • 28:10 - 28:15
    this recognition that we are connected and
    we can lose control even in modern
  • 28:15 - 28:20
    societies like in Italy, for example,
    capacities of the health system were
  • 28:20 - 28:26
    overwhelmed. So even then, I think we have
    come to the realization that we are
  • 28:26 - 28:31
    actually fragile and we need to take risk
    assessment seriously and not just rely on
  • 28:31 - 28:36
    our good fortune.
    H: OK, thank you very much for the answer
  • 28:36 - 28:42
    and there's another question. If we see
    Corona as the speedrun, can we learn
  • 28:42 - 28:46
    something from our response to the
    pandemic, from our response to climate
  • 28:46 - 28:49
    change?
    K: I didn't hear the 1. word.
  • 28:49 - 28:58
    H: If we see Corona, as the speedrun. So
    like that was the fast to react to a
  • 28:58 - 29:05
    worldwide crisis. What can we learn from
    our response to the pandemic for the fight
  • 29:05 - 29:09
    against climate change?
    K: Yeah, yeah. The speedrun. Sorry I
  • 29:09 - 29:14
    didn't catch it the first time. Yeah. I
    think it shows that if we intervene early
  • 29:14 - 29:21
    enough, we really have a chance to avoid
    later damages. So we really need to use
  • 29:21 - 29:29
    this scientific means of risk and
    dissipation in order to to avoid
  • 29:29 - 29:35
    exponentially rising damages. So I think
    this is this is one very happy
  • 29:35 - 29:40
    realization. And the second is, and I
    mentioned this in the talk, is that
  • 29:40 - 29:46
    everything we do matters. It's not that we
    are just helpless in this situation, but
  • 29:46 - 29:50
    everybody can do something and does
    contribute to a larger thing. So in the
  • 29:50 - 29:55
    case of Covid-19, it's whether I will have
    a party with 10 people or not, whether I
  • 29:55 - 30:00
    will choose to meet several friends after
    another or not. In the case of climate
  • 30:00 - 30:04
    change, it does matter if you are taking
    the flights, if you're voting for a Green
  • 30:04 - 30:10
    Party or for for a party that doesn't take
    anything seriously. So these individual
  • 30:10 - 30:15
    decisions accumulate to something bigger
    and they can change the course of a global
  • 30:15 - 30:19
    and national crisis.
    H: OK, thank you very much, and I don't
  • 30:19 - 30:25
    see any more questions, so thank you for
    your talk and hope to see you soon.
  • 30:25 - 30:30
    K: Thank you as well.
  • 30:30 - 30:38
    Subtitles created by c3subtitles.de
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Title:
#rC3 Climate Change and the Corona Pandemic
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Video Language:
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Duration:
31:03

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