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The path to climate neutrality by 2050 misses the Paris climate targets

The rocky road to truthfulness in climate politics

Key messages

It is widely scientifically recognised that a global temperature increase by more than 2°C threatens to lead to a so called Hothouse Earth scenario in which human civilisation as we know it can no longer exist.

While point of no return is near, this possibly extinctive threat is not perceived as such by the political world, the media and to some extent not even by science itself. Political goals and scientific scenarios which still involve the use of fossil resources and therefore include greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, meaning after exceeding 1.5°C, inevitably lead to a Hothouse Earth.

For this reason, scientists designing scenarios based on climate neutrality by 2050 must clearly articulate that such a path cannot be a contribution to averting a global climate catastrophe. In most cases, however, such scenarios do not contain any warnings of that kind. In doing so, some climate scientists also contribute to the fact that humanity is not taking the necessary measures to combat the climate crisis.

The central Paris target of 1.5°C will be exceeded by 2030 at the latest, and even compliance with 2.0°C will only be achievable through an immediate and profound change of course. Anyone who claims that the Paris agreement could be met with the target of climate neutrality by 2050, like the European Commission, is simply deceiving the public.

At the same time, it is technically and economically possible, albeit with the greatest efforts, to implement a global zero emissions economy in conjunction with large carbon sinks by 2030. This requires political will with a clear agenda, which is supported by climate-sensitive media, and backed up by sustainable economic structures and the efforts of each and every one of us.

Anyone who considers such rapid change unrealistic should at least admit that they cannot propose an alternative way of combating the climate crisis and safeguarding human livelihood.

Read the full Policy Paper right here: Download