Photo worth seeing: Climate research is political

Cover Climate Injustice by Friederike Otto

Climate researcher Friederike Otto has made a name for herself as a co-founder of “attribution science”. She calculates the share of climate change in individual storms, floods, droughts or fires. In this book, however, she deals primarily with social issues related to climate change. For her, this perspective is logical, because as a scientist, she writes, one cannot behave “neutrally, outside of the political context”.

Her thesis: The consequences of climate change affect the poor in particular, thereby widening the gap between rich and poor. For example, sub-Saharan Africa is suffering more from the changes than Germany or the USA. But climate change is also widening the social divide in industrialized nations, because poor people can hardly help themselves and can expect less help. An economist might speak of the consequences of neoliberalism. Otto has coined a new word that captures the root of the evil more broadly: the “colonial fossil” narrative. In doing so, she draws a line from the colonial era to today’s capitalism. She uses eight examples to illustrate her social criticism, from an extreme heat wave in Canada to a drought in South Africa to flash floods in Germany. The book is easy to read, but the flow of reading is often interrupted by the many gender asterisks. Klaus Jacob

Friederike Otto
Climate injustice
Ullstein, 333 pp., € 22.99
ISBN 978-3-550-20244-5

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