September 3, 2020 5:00 - 5:45
In his keynote, Gerald Haug examines the great challenge of climate change and other crises. As geoscientist and President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, he combines his world-renowned scientific expertise with practical experience in giving science-based advice to political decision-makers and civil society. Gerald Haug raises and answers a series of key questions:
Is the global climate changing? Yes, that is fact. Does human activity heavily affect climate, ecosystems and geology? Yes, humanity has entered what a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. The connections between human activity and climate are a complex nexus of factors, effects, processes and trade-offs. Many links still require further scientific investigation. Do we face a climate crisis? Now and in the next few decades, with greatest probability, yes. Global warming, extreme weather events and scarcity of resources, with all their consequences, are major indicators. The cumulative effect of climate change poses tremendous challenges: to citizens, politicians, businesses. What to do? Mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change are currently on the table. All three have pros and cons, but mitigation is the most sustainable path to follow. Facing the COVID-19 crisis, how to deal with several crises and that much information at the same time? A good compass is essential: facts from science against disinformation and denial, targeted efforts by each of us for common aims, and post-pandemic recovery combining lessons learned with forward-looking solutions. The corona crisis is a magnifying glass for existing problems and a chance for setting the right direction. Staying idle is not an option.