Not to see the wood for the trees


... and sometimes easy to implement solutions are already obvious.  


Scientists have shown that afforestation of trees can slow down climate change or even stop it if the additional forest area is large enough. So why not distribute the effort that would be involved in creating this sensible additional forest area fairly among as many people as possible? We have a principle in mind similar to the one used to set up the additional charging infrastructure needed to make e-cars more attractive. In order to promote electric mobility, we can accelerate the expansion of the inadequate charging infrastructure, in addition to tax incentives through government regulation. In order to solve the chicken-and-egg problem (because there are too few charging points, hardly anyone buys an e-car. And because hardly any e-cars are bought, only a few new charging points are installed), cities and municipalities can be obliged to maintain a defined number of charging points depending on size and number of inhabitants. In Norway, charging infrastructure is no longer a problem. Not surprisingly, the proportion of newly registered e-cars has risen significantly there - an example worth emulating of sensible state control.  


Similarly, we can oblige states and municipalities to afforest an area of forest proportional to their size in order to bind a part of the CO₂ contained in the air. Even private home builders can be included in this calculation. A compulsory tree in every garden does not hurt anyone, but in total it contributes a considerable amount to the total demand. We also wonder why, with our current massive level of suffering, the building regulations do not stipulate that new buildings must have a surface area of installed photovoltaic or solar thermal energy commensurate with the living space. Similar to the fact that there have been regulations for a long time that oblige house builders to install a rainwater cistern if a wastewater separation system exists in the construction area. It's all about the mass. This will spread the effort over many people and an enormous area of additional forest can be created very quickly and effectively, or the energy requirements of private households can be significantly reduced.


The non-profit organization and Google Alternative ECOSIA is setting an example for all of us. The search engine operator uses the revenue generated by advertising to reforest millions upon millions of trees worldwide. With every new search term, users automatically participate in the various reforestation projects. A great benefit for the climate and against the threat of global warming. 


We can also, for example, increase our personal climate budget by voluntarily participating in offsetting measures. It will be conceivable to replenish the individual climate gas account extraordinarily through various compensation options by using processes that withdraw CO₂ from the atmosphere or are "tapped" by green energy without creating CO₂. For example, by setting up private plants for the use of renewable energies, such as feeding in self-generated solar or wind power, or similar.


We can also take part in projects that are far too big for personal implementation. One example of many is the Power to Gas technology (P2G). With this technology, the problem of storing temporary, renewable electricity surpluses in excess of demand can be alleviated as long as the power lines needed to transport the wind power generated on the coasts to the conurbations in the south are still missing. Methane or hydrogen is used as "green" storage gas.


Also, with a participation in concepts for the realization of "negative emissions" - thus the withdrawal of CO₂ from the atmosphere, we can improve the personal climate budget. One example is the so-called Carbon Capture and Storage Technology (CCS), which is currently in the test phase. With this method, CO₂ is extracted from the air or is already directly separated during the combustion process in power plants using fossil fuels in order to store it geologically. However, this process is far less economical than the direct use of renewable energy sources, as it is associated with a large loss of efficiency.



The primary goal of all these concepts should be to reward climate-friendly behaviour!


For a supermarket operator, for example, it will suddenly prove profitable to invest in the production of solar power on its own roof in order to supply the store's energy and climate control system and, if necessary, the charging points for the customers' electric vehicles. Since storage and the operation of the cold chain are also reflected in the climate price of the products this type of CO₂ reduction will lower the climate price of the items and thus save the consumer's available budget. Such climate-friendly measures will also be reflected in the sales figures of the supermarket. Everyone will win. Consumers will benefit from lower ECO prices of the products offered in such a store. The operator will benefit from increased traffic and thus higher sales. And not to forget, the atmosphere will be less burdened with harmful greenhouse gas. If this is not a win-win-win situation!


The same can be applied to the transport sector. The freight forwarder who transports the goods with the greenest possible fleet will have to offer a significantly lower ECO price than conventional fleet operators. This means that his service will be devalued in terms of greenhouse gas emission compared to his competitors and will be upgraded in terms of demand. The aviation industry can also jump on this bandwagon and, for example, operate the fleet using synthetic kerosene produced from green electricity and electrolysis.


Another interesting idea in the right direction was already realized in 2005 by the non-profit organization ATMOSFAIR. The aim of this company is to offset greenhouse gas emission from, for example, air travel, cruises, coach trips or events by carrying out climate protection projects all over the world in return, as long as CO₂ avoidance is not yet sufficiently possible. After all, 10 percent of the greenhouse gases worldwide are caused by tourism. On the website of Atmosfair you can calculate how much carbon dioxide is released in connection with the trip. In return, one buys compensation certificates, with the help of which the same amount is bound elsewhere through climate protection projects CO₂. The aim is to offset your own emissions through this CO₂ compensation. In addition to protecting the climate, these projects also contribute to poverty reduction in economically weak countries. A very cool idea. What else you should know; environmental donations are tax deductible! 


This page was translated with the help of DeepL