School strikes: what do the schoolers want?

School strikes: what do the schools want?

FridaysForFuture – rally (Berlin, 22.2.2019). Image: Leonhard Lenz / CC0

Coal phase-out by 2030, shut down a quarter of all coal-fired power plants immediately, 180 euros per ton CO2. Otherwise there will be more strikes

"The laws of nature cannot be negotiated", said Svenja Kannt, one of the spokeswomen for the striking schoolchildren of the German offshoot of the FridaysForFuture movement, who presented their demands in Berlin on Monday – their demands for the here politicians and not generally to the world community, because: "Germany must not impose its problems on poor countries", Ε ana Strahinjic, one of Kannt’s muckrakers, said.

climate justice plays rough role for schoolers at all. This can be heard and seen both in the demonstrations, as it is also clear in the short policy paper presented. "Socially balanced climate protection that leaves no one behind", demanded Linus Steinmmetz, who was also on the panel on Monday. As a rich country, Germany has a special responsibility, says Sebastian Grieme, the fourth in the group in Berlin. By 2035, emissions had to be at zero at the latest, in fact they had to be even faster.

The press conference took place at Berlin’s Natural History Museum and was broadcast on Phoenix (you can still watch it on the channel’s media library here). Museum director Johannes Vogel began by burying the abundant press representatives. In particular, many radio media showed interest. Science and schoolchildren had a common concern, Vogel said: "They want to be heard on the question of how to sustainably move forward with this planet. That means: Now we must become active."

Vogel referred to the crude dinosaur skeletons that formed the dramatic background of the press conference. There is probably no better exhibition that shows, "what it feels like to be extinct due to climate change, due to changes in the environment".

The dinosaurs fell victim to the impact of a gross meteorite in the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago. This one kicked up so much dust that the earth was significantly darkened and cooled for several years. As a result, plant growth declined, causing many food chains to collapse.

Coal phase-out by 2030

Meanwhile, schoolchildren have deliberately kept their demands, agreed with nearly 500 local groups in Germany, general. The intention was only to formulate targets. There are various ways to get there, which have to be described by politics and science. The goals have it however nevertheless in itself.

The top priority, he said, is to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change, in which the 185 participating countries pledge to reduce global warming "well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels and preferably no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius" to keep.

Schoolchildren are focusing on the lower end of the 1.5 degree Celsius limit, which they are calling for to be respected. They can refer to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the UN organization for climate science. The had pointed out last year in a special report that already in the range between 1.5 and two degrees of global warming the warm water coral reefs could die off completely and also the long-term destabilization of some rough ice sheets threatened.

Schuler also pointed out in Berlin on Monday that there were numerous tipping points in the climate system that could be crossed. Accordingly, they see a rough urgency. "Time is running out", according to Sebastian Grieme. The sea level is rising, the droughts are increasing, but in Germany fossil energy carriers continue to be subsidized with 45 billion euros a year.

The goals of the Paris climate cleanup agreement could only be met, school officials said, citing science, if German emissions were printed to net zero by 2035. By that time, the energy supply must be completely converted to renewable energy sources. The necessary technology is already available.

And Germany must get out of coal by 2030. Even when the coal commission was still in session, it was made clear that the 2038 phase-out date could not be considered a social consensus.

Support from the parents

Schoolchildren have no intention of giving up yet. People will continue to strike until Germany is on track to meet Paris goals, Steinmetz said. Despite all the discussions about lifestyle changes, which are obviously popular with the schoolchildren, it also became clear that the big picture was at stake: "As long as the politicians do not act, the individual cannot save the world", according to Grieme.

The expectations of politics are high. Subsidies for fossil fuels are to be discontinued before the end of the year. Schulers also want to see a quarter of all nuclear power plants shut down by 2019. This would be possible if Germany stopped flooding its neighboring countries with cheap coal-fired power.

Finally, they want an immediate price on all CO2 emissions. A demand, as it was raised recently even from circles of the FDP. But the liberals will probably not like what the schoolmen have in mind. The latter want the price per ton of CO2 to be raised to 180 euros per ton.

At present, the price for power plants is a little over 20 euros. The Schuler refers thereby to investigations of the Federal Environment Agency, according to which a ton of CO2 emitted today will cause damage in the future in the mentioned height.

100 percent support comes from the "ParentsForFuture", Parents and adult groups in this country and elsewhere have formed countless local groups to support school strikes for more climate protection.

They have now coordinated and ied a global call to action across national borders. It states, among other things, that climate change has accelerated beyond expectations. What the children said is the same as what the scientific community has been saying for many years. The children had given the impetus and had to be supported. They bore the brunt of the violence, working against the tragedy of the systems in place.

For Lorenz Gosta Beutin, who is responsible for energy and climate policy in the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the demands of the schoolchildren are a "shock" "Wake-up call to the inactive federal government". A coal phase-out by 2030 and a 100 percent supply of renewable energy sources by 2035 are feasible. The left declares its solidarity with the climate strikers and their demands.

The German government must finally bring its goals in line with the Paris Agreement and write a binding climate protection law. He hopes for more social prere, through the actions planned in the summer in the Rhineland at the lignite mines as well as through an international climate protection demonstration in Aachen.

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