What is the impact of climate change on sea level?
Sea level has accelerated in the first decades of this century. If we react now and massively reduce emissions, we can manage to limit the rise to about one meter by 2100. If we do nothing, it will rise by three to five meters by 2300. Then melting ice masses in low-lying coastal and island regions would lead to extreme flooding as early as 2050. Many millions of people would lose their homes.
And what does global warming mean for the oceans?
Climate change alters ocean currents, warming the seas and thus endangering the marine ecosystem. Some of the CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean, creating carbonic acid, and the ocean acidifies. There are also heat waves in the ocean, causing further stress to many creatures. Mobile marine life may move to other areas of the ocean. Corals, on the other hand, bleach out. Even if we make the 1.5 degrees, 70 to 90 percent of corals will die. If we go above that, we will lose almost all the reefs. That, in turn, robs fish in nearshore areas of their food base. Low-latitude nearshore fisheries are already at significant risk.
This should be more than a warning to everyone. What can we do to meet the 1.5-degree target?
We must accept the findings of science and base our decisions on them. Everyone can do something, every decision, no matter how small, matters. It makes a difference whether we limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees. We should use all the technologies available to us today and in the future to limit climate change as best we can - and we need to start now, the time for debate is over.
What needs to happen in shipping? Do you see hydrogen as the future?
Hydrogen is an important key to sustainable energy production. It can be used directly as an energy carrier from the hydrolysis of water, or it can be used in the synthesis of fuels by binding and recycling CO2. This would avoid net emissions from shipping and aviation. The problem is that hydrogen synthesis and CO2 bonding are energy-intensive. This could be reduced by selecting appropriate catalysts, but there is still a need for research in this area. In this respect, the path is the goal, we have to push ahead with the energy transition, even if we have not yet answered all the research questions. But that was no different at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.