Deserted streets, markets and offices. Global supply chains are disrupted and supply shortages appear. Many face growing food insecurity. This is not the storyline of a dystopian film, but reality for many people around the world. Considering that, according to the WHO, around 7.6 billion people have no or only limited access to preventive health care, the current situation in many countries is all the more precarious.
It took a corona virus on a global scale to remind us that the world community is closely intertwined and that we are often the cause of our crises. The effects of crises are often not directly noticeable to us - for instance the scarcity of resources, the disappearance of insects, the flood of plastics and, last but not least, climate change - as is the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet they are already appearing simultaneously today. We must make provisions today for the consequences of these problems of this century.
We are not only the main cause of the climate crisis, corona and co. We are also able to be problem solvers, to learn from the crises and make provisions. Germany has so far been considered a role model in crisis response and management. This foresight should not now be limited to national borders. Germany should also turn its attention to packages of sustainable measures for countries in the global South, as global crises are only resolved and packages of measures only develop their full potential with a sense of community and openness to the world. Voters judge today's governments on how they deal with local and global crises.
Resilience and growth thanks to green energy
Germany should focus above all on decentralised energy systems based on renewable energy sources and promote these specifically in deprived regions and countries of the global South. This is due to renewable energy sources being able to cope better with the restrictions of the pandemic than their fossil counterparts in the electricity sector, according to the International Energy Agency. Similar results would be conceivable in the heat generation and transport sectors with appropriate promotion and use of efficiency technologies, potentially reducing overall emissions significantly. A rethink is needed, however, in how we use energy, promote combined heat and power generation, expand wind power and solar power, and develop smart grids.
Moving beyond the issue of resilience, regenerative energy offers growth opportunities through the providing access to electricity and jobs for everyone, in the process strengthening economic prospects and promoting inclusiveness. The conversion to electromobility also enables us to curb air pollution and fine dust emission in cities. The risk of contracting respiratory diseases, demonstrably shown to increase the mortality rate from COVID-19, would therefore be reduced. The vision of a CO2-free world would then become a tangible possibility.
Long-term climate programme as a profitable investment for the future
Industrialised countries committed to allocate some USD 100 billion from 2020 to mitigate and adapt to global warming. The corona crisis currently opens up a window of opportunity to package the billion-dollar programmes in such a way that they are able to tackle several crises in one process - climate change, health crisis, economic recession and much more.
It is also in our interest that sustainable aid packages for the global South are effective: should India, China, or the USA not convert to renewable energy sources and prefer alternative, climate-friendly energy sources such as solar energy or geothermal energy to the use of nuclear energy or coal-fired power, then the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement is no longer achievable. Weather extremes, drought disasters and resulting food insecurity and famine, greater prosperity gaps and geopolitical uncertainties are just some of the climatic consequences we are to expect otherwise. Germany should therefore now look outwards and effect sustainable investments in the future that benefit everyone and increase resilience towards future man-made crises.