Roland Dürre
Thursday May 7th, 2009

Climate Catastrophe – a Simplified View!

I keep reading extremely complex deliberations on the matter of the climate catastrophe.

For instance, last week I read in the SZ how much more carbon dioxide a meat eater produces than a vegetarian, how much more carbon dioxide is generated in winter if you heat your rooms to 22 degrees Celsius, rather than limiting it to 18 degrees Celsius. Or how many tons of carbon dioxide are produced if one single person goes to Mexico by airplane. Not to mention how much worse going by plane is for being so far off the ground. Another SZ article said that producing cheese is even more detrimental for the environment than producing meat.

I hear on the radio that an oak has a storage capacity for carbon dioxide that equals that which a Golf produces when driving 80 kilometres. Then I read so-called calculations that are actually based on sheer speculation telling me how many tons of further carbon dioxide world-wide will increase the temperature by two degrees Celsius. This is how I am constantly confronted with postulations and computations that are not really any help to me.

Being a layman, this is how I see the matter: we simply produce exponentially too much carbon dioxide. I often come to the conclusion that people “no longer see the wood for the trees”.

Actually, the matter is a very simple one:

If we burn all the carbon available as a fossil property on earth, then we will soon reach a dangerous state of affairs. Because there is a limit the carbon dioxide in our air should not exceed. As soon as that limit is reached, our planet will gradually become uninhabitable for certain species of mammals. We have been there – in the case of dinosaurs.

The question is only where this critical line is. There is probably still enough fossil energy in the ground for us to burn before we reach that stage.
As things stand today, the assumption that the market will regulate the affair by itself and limit the use of fossil energy through higher prices when the source gets scarce is a naïve one.

Consequently, we hardly have a choice other than changing our habits of living on a global basis: less meat (and cheese!?), less cars, less airplanes. Instead, intelligent mobility and the provision of energy based on a closed circuit of production and consumption provided by electricity. And maybe we should not try so hard to find luck outside ourselves, but instead in ourselves. The question is the one Dr. Edwin Ederle asked in his article Öl wird knapper who will start and how are we to manage it?

And after having achieved this, all we can do is hope that somehow all will get well again. If not, then humanity will just be finished. Life will continue regardless.


The image is taken from wikipedia and shows the plastic reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in front of the Senckenbergmuseum in FFM on the grass strip of the alley ring (Senckenberg Site).

2 Kommentare zu “Climate Catastrophe – a Simplified View!”

  1. Wolfgang Stief (Friday May 8th, 2009)


    Du hast nicht zufällig Quellen (URL, Bücher) zu Deinen ersten beiden Absätzen (Kohlendioxid-Erzeugung) parat?


  2. Chris Wood (Friday May 8th, 2009)

    I read some relatively simple facts about it recently:
    1. If we carry on with oil, as at present, almost all will be gone by 2050.
    2. So much CO2 will raise the average world temperature at least 2 degrees, with drastic effects.
    3. This leaves out the effect of coal, which produces more CO2 than oil does for a given amount of energy.
    4. Chinese coal is now producing more energy than all the oil coming from the Middle Easi.
    5. Coal will not run out until the world climate is really dramatically changed.

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