A flood in the Ahar Valley in 2021 killed more than 100 people. Thousands lost their belongings. How could the masses of water have caught so many unprepared citizens? Did people also die as a result of heat waves or landslides – extreme events that experts attribute to global warming?
Journalists Susan Goetsi and Annika Juris investigate these questions in their new book Climate Out of Control and come to a sobering conclusion: For years, Germany has failed to adequately prepare for climate change. The authors conclude that a lack of political will, bureaucratic obstacles, and conflicts of interest stand in the way of adaptation.
This can be seen, among other things, in flood protection: the so-called flood zones are actually intended to protect against flood disasters, and therefore construction on them is not allowed. However, exceptions to the relevant law often allow municipalities to convert it into profitable building land. However, there is little money for preventive measures to protect the climate.
Not just a black board
Götze and Gueres analyze Germany’s shortfall in climate protection succinctly and with great experience. But they do not leave it there, but also indicate possible solutions. At first, some of them may seem overly ambitious – for example, when the authors, following the philosopher Byung-Chul Han, write that we have to “take our thinking and perception to a whole new level”. However, according to the 2021 Global Climate Report, global warming is now accelerating at an exponential rate. But Götze and Joeres also encourage by naming the benefits of comprehensive environmental change: For example, fewer cars in cities could mean parking lots become green spaces that cool in the heat and collect water in heavy rain.
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