Klima­schutz braucht kein Degrowth

Am vorletzten Sonntag (19. Februar 2023) war Ulrike Herrmann mit ihren Thesen zum Ende des Kapitalismus im Podcast zu Gast. Im Nachgang hier noch ein Beitrag von Martin Sandbu in der FINANCIAL TIMES (FT) mit einem rationalen Blick auf die Klimapolitik. Näher an Bjørn Lomborg als er wohl zugeben würde, aber eben erfreulich nüchtern und keineswegs pessimistisch:

  • „Start with the wonderfully clarity-inducing Kaya identity, which simply sets out that total carbon emissions are equal to the multiplication of three or four relevant factors: carbon emissions per dollar of gross domestic product (which is, in turn, the product of carbon emitted per energy unit and energy consumed per dollar of gross domestic product), GDP per capita, and the number of people in the world. The website Our World in Data, from which I have taken the image below, has a good exploration of the actual numbers that go into it.“ – bto: Das ist irgendwie keine Überraschung, aber gut, es sich noch einmal vor Augen zu führen.

Quelle: Our World in Data / FINANCIAL TIMES

  • „(…) reducing emissions arithmetically requires either cutting the carbon intensity of GDP, making the average person poorer, or shrinking the population. In other words: green growth, ‚degrowth‘, or a programme ranging from anti-natalism at best to eugenics at worst. So, taking as given that decarbonisation is necessary, which is it going to be?“ – bto: Verzicht bedeutet Verarmung oder Bevölkerungsschrumpfung. Beides wird in Deutschland als Lösung propagiert, ohne zu bedenken, dass es nichts ändert, ob es Deutschland nun noch gibt oder nicht. Wäre es nicht besser, wir mobilisieren die verbliebene technische Kompetenz?
  • „In practice, decarbonisation will not mean literally zero carbon emissions. The ‚net‘ in ‚net zero‘ allows for emissions, combined with activities that draw carbon out of the atmosphere in the same amount. Planting more trees can do some of that (…) compared with renewables, we are investing far too little in such technologies, which include carbon storage in underground or subsea reservoirs, and the capture of CO₂ or other greenhouse gases at the point of emissions or directly from the air.“ – bto: … vor allem in Deutschland, wo dieser Weg politisch ausdrücklich ausgeschlossen wird.
  • „I do not think population control and degrowth are useful policy strategies even for more modest emissions reduction goals. Reducing the global population by an amount that makes even a dent in the carbon problem would require unacceptable control over people’s lives.“ – bto: Wobei wir schon überlegen sollten, ob unsere Entwicklungshilfe nicht das Problem vergrößert und wir deshalb eher daran denken sollten, die Hilfe mit Maßnahmen der Geburtenkontrolle zu verbinden.
  • As for degrowth, I think it is misguided.“ – bto: So ist es. Es ist völlig falsch. Wie begründet er das?
  • „First, because letting poor people enjoy economic growth is no danger to the green agenda. Why? Because they emit so little at the moment that they could even engage in ‚dirty‘ growth for some time before making much of a difference. (…) the poorest half of humanity produces only 10 per cent of all global emissions.“ – bto: Deshalb sollten wir ihnen auch erlauben, fossile Brennstoffe zu nutzen.
  • „Sensible degrowth advocates accept this, and suggest it is about rich-country residents reducing their consumption. But I find that unconvincing too. One thing is that it will not work unless the cut in material standards is draconian. In my interview with Branko Milanović earlier this year, he pointed out: ‚People don’t realise that the median income in western countries is at the 91st percentile of the global income, so even if you were to bring everybody in the rich countries to the median, which is actually for 50 per cent of people a loss of income, you would still not solve the problem.‘ And if you were to curtail the purchasing power of rich-country residents, Subramanian points out that through trade this would hurt poor countries too.“ – bto: Es ist schon interessant, wie es dennoch von der Politik als Argument genutzt wird. Es offenbart, dass es um etwas anderes geht als das Klima.
  • „Sometimes people speak of degrowth as simply meaning to reduce material consumption — the physical stuff we emit carbon to produce. This can be done by shifting consumption from physical goods to services or simply leisure (working less), and it can be done by systemic change that reduces our material needs. (…) But then we have really moved to talking about cutting the carbon intensity of GDP or income or wealth, not GDP or income or wealth itself. That is to say, green growth.“ – bto: Das kann man so sehen und m.E. auch machen.
  • „A number of countries are already ‚decoupling‘ growth and emissions (…). Decoupling is taking place even when accounting for the carbon embodied in production offshored to places such as China. The question is not whether it is possible but whether it can happen fast enough,(…) carbon emissions come (…) mostly from energy use, in particular from industry, buildings and transport. Then comes farming and land use, industrial processes and waste.“ – bto: Deshalb muss man die Energiefrage beantworten.
  • „(…) you can electrify almost everything, and you can decarbonise that electricity generation. (…) the technology exists to decarbonise almost everything our material lifestyles depend on and decarbonisation is therefore compatible with maintaining those lifestyles.“ – bto: Allerdings sind die Voraussetzungen, diesen Weg zu gehen, regional sehr unterschiedlich.
  • Two caveats are in order. The technology to take us to net zero could still deplete other resources (rare earths needed for batteries, for example) or cause other environmental problems. The techno-optimistic argument here is only about net zero carbon. And while it is technologically feasible to decarbonise our lifestyles, it will still be expensive. The International Energy Agency puts the needed annual investment at $4tn, nearly 5 per cent of current global GDP.“ – bto: Nun kann man dabei aber auch effiziente und weniger effiziente Wege wählen.
  • „It will be difficult to get to net zero, but it will not be painful once there.“ – bto: So ist es.

ft.com (Anmeldung erforderlich): „Why I am a climate techno-optimist“, 12. Mai 2022