Doha World Climate Summit: Schellnhuber gives talk to high-ranking representatives of states

12/06/2012 - “Don’t ask what global climate protection can do for your country; ask what your country can do for climate protection…” – it was by rephrasing former US president John F. Kennedy’s famous words that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), addressed the highest-ranking representatives of states in Doha. He had been asked to present the keynote at the gala dinner on Tuesday night that opened the high-level segment of the world climate summit COP18 – an unsual honour for a scientist.
Doha World Climate Summit: Schellnhuber gives talk to high-ranking representatives of states
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber addressing the State of Qatar's Official Dinner (Foto: Office of H.H. The Heir Apparent)

The audience consisted of key international personalities. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was listening, as well as the head of state of Qatar, the Emir H. H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife H. H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

Schellnhuber pointed out “three convenient untruths”: First, there is no anthropogenic climate change. Second, the consequences of climate change will be negligible. Third, admitted that there is climate change and that it is man-made, some say that limiting global warming to the 2 degrees guardrail agreed by states worldwide now cannot be achieved anymore, so climate protection is an illusion. The director of PIK showed why all this is wrong. First, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study, launched by skeptical scientists, some months ago confirmed that warming is real. Second, the most recent 4-degrees briefing that PIK did for the World Bank showed the severe impacts of climate change. Third, transition pathways have been outlined last year by the German Advisory Council on Global Change.

One final quote of Schellnhuber on climate change and its impacts was immediately tweeted by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN’s climate change secretariat: “First law of humanity: Don’t kill your children.” Silence was the first reaction after this last sentence of Schellnhuber´s speech – followed by long applause.