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Climate change: “We are not equipped for it”

Climate change: “We are not equipped for it”

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is one of the world's most famous climate scientists. The German researcher is known for his pioneering work in Earth system analysis and has contributed significantly to global recognition of climate change. Schellenhuber was the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and is a member of several scientific committees. Among other things, he has advised Angela Merkel on climate issues for almost 20 years, and is now doing so for the European Union Commission.

The German scientist is a long-standing member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since December he heads the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg (IIASA). “The term system means that you take a holistic view of things,” says the scientist in an interview with the editor-in-chief of ORF Lower Austria, Benedikt Fuchs.

“It's very important to address the climate crisis because it will punish inaction very severely. Of course, a lot of people have much bigger day-to-day concerns, that's clear. You think: yeah, climate change is something that maybe will become really important in 20, 30, 40 years and threaten you in your lifetime.” Daily.But our failures today will be severely punished by climate change.

Climate change: “We are not equipped for it”

Climate researcher Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber in an interview with ORF-NÖ editor-in-chief Benedikt Fuchs

Heat stages up to 47 degrees

According to Schellenhuber, global warming will exceed two degrees by the end of the century at the latest. “For continents, two degrees of global warming means three to four degrees of global warming – and if we go to an area like the Pannonian Plain here, we'll be at four to five degrees of global warming,” the climate researcher said. Schellnhuber talks about peaks of 45 to 47 degrees in the summer. This poses very significant challenges for agriculture, forestry and tourism. “We are not equipped for this,” he says clearly in the interview.

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Schellnhuber says that Lower Austria in particular is an agricultural state and will face special challenges. For him, climate policy in Lower Austria is backwards, he says. The expert said a climate law and strategy are needed. “You hope that by floundering your way through, you will somehow find your way.”

New strategies for agriculture

According to Schellenhuber, we will enter a phase in which there will likely be significant heat waves as well as periods of heavy rain. “So the land tends not to become drier with global warming, but instead becomes wetter – but only in certain areas. When this heavy rain falls, I have to make sure it is absorbed properly. So the closure of agricultural areas represents A big problem, as enclosed areas cannot act like a sponge when it rains.

In the same way, you have to make sure you get through the hot summer when the temperature reaches 45 or 46 degrees – with the plants and crops planted. “That means I have to strategize: what crops, what fruit trees, what wine crops can really keep up.” The German climate expert believes that there are winners and losers due to global warming. “If I adopt a forward-looking development policy now, I can be one of the winners,” the expert said.