JScientists had warned for decades. But now we see images that make all hope for a Happy New Year vanish: burning forests, fields that have crumbled to dust, dead zones in the seas, hurricanes, floods, plagues. The previous summer, 46.8 degrees had been measured in Karlsruhe – a new German heat record. In the Mediterranean, thermometers now climb to 50 degrees every summer, the Arctic sea ice is largely free of ice in December, and in the Alps the ski areas of yore are falling into disrepair. The climate crisis is out of control. In Germany it is exactly four degrees warmer than at the beginning of industrialization. The two-degree target has long been exceeded worldwide as well. A commission of historians is now investigating how it could have come to this. Its aim is to find out why the world community did not follow science back then, in 2021, but the corporations, and why climate change was not fought as resolutely as the coronavirus.
Freelance writer in the science of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Is that the beginning of the year 2051? Hopefully not. Is the scenario unrealistic? Maybe. But it is not improbable. In the scenario described, the trend of the past decades was continued and the “worst case” described in the context of what the climate models forecast. It’s a bleak scenario, but one that is being invoked more and more often to illustrate the dramatic consequences of the climate problem. The noblest motive of the authors of such stories is, of course, the attempt to arouse people. They should wake up, change their lives, forego a fossil-fueled lifestyle and instead behave accordingly as consumers and voters, so that the continued existence of our planet as we know and love it can be ensured. But do such dystopias even serve this purpose?