Does climate protection need a new narrative?

Record temperatures were registered in Paris on Thursday and in many other European capitals it was the hottest day since recording began. The press discusses whether we need to change our attitude towards climate activists and inconvenient climate protection measures in our daily lives.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

One tragic record hot on the heels of the next

Record temperatures alone might not be proof of climate change, writes La Repubblica, but

“this heatwave comes just weeks after the one in June, which had dire consequences. There was heavy storms and hailstones the size of oranges. If you look beyond national and European borders you see smoke rising in Greenland, Siberia and Alaska. Arctic countries where fires are raging for the first time. Meanwhile in Iceland a memorial will be inaugurated in August in memory of a glacier that has disappeared, 'lost to climate change'. It is not the 42 degrees in Paris that remind us of how dire the situation is but the rapid succession of extreme situations. And that is precisely what climate scientists have been trying to tell us all these years.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

To do nothing is to dig our children's graves

Many people find climate activists and groups like Extinction Rebellion creepy, the Irish Times observes:

“Public anxiety about language suggestive of overthrowing the system is entirely understandable. But so is the imperative for radical action when business-as-usual means guaranteed disaster. ... The true activists and extremists are not the ones on the streets with banners and face paint. They are instead those who pretend not to understand hard geophysical limits; the wealthy energy magnates and their legions of business and media lobbyists, as well as the political classes they have captured. In these desperate times, failure to act radically and urgently in line with the science means we are essentially digging our own children's graves.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Climate policy is no straitjacket

Right-wing climate sceptics also need to finally wake up, De Volkskrant stresses:

“No, global warming is not an everyday phenomenon. Scientific investigations published just this week made this clear once again, plunging a dagger right into the heart of the climate sceptics. ... At the same time we learned from the US that despite climate change, globally we are spending less on disasters such as floods and hurricanes - because we are adapting. ... In the midst of all the hopelessness this is good news. ... Climate policy is far more than the straitjacket demanded by left-wing activists in which we eat less meat, fly less and keep our showers short. It holds out the prospect of change and therefore represents a challenge for entrepreneurship, innovation and human ingenuity.”

444 (HU) /

Green shaming won't help

An accusatory approach is no way to motivate people to do more for environmental protection, the online portal 444 argues:

“In twenty years we might find it extremely embarrassing to use plastic bags, drive a petrol-powered car, have our food delivered, use tampons, wear 'fast fashion', heat too much in winter or turn on the air con in summer. ... But shame is a painful feeling that comes over us when we have a bad conscience. How can anyone think of using such a negative emotion to motivate people to make positive changes? ... People who feel pain remove themselves from the source of the pain. So if you want to make a movement catch on, then shaming is not the way to do it.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Talk of saving the world is dangerous

All the talk of "saving the world" is just over-dramatic, Zeit Online believes:

“It's not fact-based and represents a dangerous verbal escalation. ... What we need to preserve is the fragile configuration in which human societies can thrive: in which it is neither too warm nor too cold and nature has the strength to provide food, raw materials, clean air and drinkable water. ... Exaggerations are counterproductive in this context. People who talk about saving the world make the work that needs to be done seem overwhelming. And this much we know about the human psyche: when a task seems impossible people tend to repress it and avoid it altogether. This is why all the annoying talk about saving the world is so dangerous.”

Contrepoints (FR) /

Freedom falling victim to hysteria

We are experiencing a wave of climate hysteria, Contrepoints criticises:

“What counts is not reality but the sense of extreme urgency that is being triggered in us by activism and appeals. Ultimately these things can force us to voluntarily surrender our liberal lifestyles and submit to the tyrannical constraints of supposed climate protection measures. ... The green transition that consists of transforming society through state regulation, ideology and pressure instead of through the natural rhythms of science and competing technologies is being diligently pursued through taxation, bans and subsidies. It's impossible to think of what else it could do without further slashing our already drastically reduced individual freedoms.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Without Germany it will all come to nothing

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung argues that individual countries must lead by example with respect to climate change mitigation:

“Global climate mitigation is conceivable only if individual countries demonstrate that what is necessary is actually possible. That you can get clean without being impoverished. And these individuals can only be those that are firstly rich enough for such a major effort and secondly especially to blame for the problems of our time because they produce more greenhouse gas per capita than others. Both are true of Germany. It may be true that we will not succeed on our own. Germany isn't everything. But without Germany, it will all be for nothing.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Green revolution is antisocial

Jyllands-Posten comments that socially just implementation of climate mitigation entails major problems:

“If taxes and fees skyrocket, it will become apparent how antisocial a green revolution can be. Of course the parties are aware of this, but they are not being candid about it. One example is the announcement of the Red-Green Alliance [that supports the ruling Social Democrats] that it seems safe to say that flying to Thailand will become more expensive, but that a mechanism should be established that compensates less well-off groups. That shows the full extent of their powerlessness: if the goal is that fewer people fly to Thailand, then it makes no sense to make payments that can then be used to pay for airline tickets.”

Público (PT) /

Capitalism and climate protection clash

The institutionalisation of the green movement will not be enough to stop climate change, stresses activist João Camargo in Público:

“What was lacking a year ago was a social and political movement for a just climate policy that can stop the collapse. Today this movement exists around the world. It would be important to continue strengthening it, but the urge to institutionalise the movement is a great threat to it. ... Capitalism will not survive this crisis. The question is: will capitalism lead us into the abyss, or will we put an end to it? There simply is no political and social program that could stop the climate crisis without demolishing the capitalist power structure at the same time.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Massive mobilisation needed

Climate change should be met with a positive vision and not with panic-mongering, former Labour leader Ed Miliband writes in The Guardian:

“Martin Luther King is remembered for proclaiming at the March on Washington 'I have a dream' not 'I have a nightmare'. We need to collectively outline that dream and decide what our society will look like. ... Tackling the climate crisis offers a profound opportunity to create better lives for people. We need to change the way we heat 27m homes and power our industries, take 40m petrol and diesel cars off the road and plant tens of thousands of hectares of trees every year. In other words, we need the biggest peacetime mobilisation of labour, land and investment we have ever seen.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Climate apartheid is already a reality

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston has warned about "climate apartheid" on a heating planet. Writer Gerolamo Fazzini Alston agrees in Avvenire:

“In a not too distant future discrimination will not only be about skin colour, it will also be about the ability to avoid the terrible consequences of climate change. In other words, the world will see a new phase shaped by 'climate-driven apartheid'. ... The issue, let's not forget, has long been on the agenda of the 'prophets of doom'. Now that the UN has more or less 'certified' it, we must really take heed. Let's hope that those who have more and are able to do more will commit to the fight against climate change when they understand the dangers of growing inequality. ”

TSF (PT) /

Don't celebrate too soon!

The June heatwave hit Central Europe the worst. People in Portugal, on the other hand, are complaining about another miserable summer. But the climate crisis is a threat to be reckoned with, Nádia Piazza warns in TSF:

“The worst is yet to come! Thanks to our Azores and the good tradition of São João [the popular saying that the summer solstice is mostly chilly] Portugal was spared the heat and blessed with mild temperatures. But soaring temperatures are on our doorstep, according to the weather forecast. ... You can detect the alarming tone in my voice. Because we live in dangerous times and in a climate emergency. .. So we must be prepared, all of us.”

Postimees (EE) /

Waste no more time

The Estonian government must act now, demands Sander Jahilo, expert for sustainable production systems, in Postimees:

“Prime Minister Ratas should at least be respected for not doubting the human factor in climate change. As an intelligent politician he understands the value of looking to experts in areas outside his competence. In this case that means scientists, environmental organisations and authorities who inform us that climate change is largely man-made and that the changes are taking place at a devastating speed. ... We no longer have time to get angry at yesterday's short-sighted energy decisions. We must declare a climate emergency because we've already lost such a devastating amount of time.”