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EU election: Scientists call for science-based climate policy | S4F

The first of a planned series of “public press conferences” in front of the party headquarters on April 4th was about criticism of the ÖVP’s climate policy. Further actions will follow.

Around 100 Austrian scientists from different disciplines are calling for policies based on scientific findings in the climate crisis. At a public press conference on April 4, 2024 in front of the ÖVP headquarters in Vienna, they drew attention to the security risk caused by inadequate climate policy and called for politics with expertise in a super election year. “It’s about civilization as we know it – protecting civilization. We hope that the ÖVP will develop a climate policy that is consistent with a state-supporting party – and that before the EU and NR elections,” said Dr. Nicolas roux from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. Further contributions came from Reinhard Steurer (Boku), Leonore Theuer (lawyer), Ivo Ponocni (Sigmund Freud University) and Willi Haas (Boku)

Security risk climate crisis
At 1.48 °C, global warming is above the pre-industrial average (1850 – 1900), dangerously close to the 2015 °C limit set by international law in Paris in 1,5 [1]. What sounds like a numbers game is an extremely relevant security question for human civilization, explains Roux: “With the current climate policy, there will be two to three times as many heat deaths in Europe as if we reduced global warming to 1,5 ° in the long term through efficient climate protection C can restrict. Thousands of lives are at stake every year [2,3].”

Stone Age metaphors from the People's Party are harmful to the climate
The government program 2020-2024 promised to make our legal system climate-fit. However, only a small part of it has been realized, summarizes the lawyer Dr. Leonore Theuer: “Any further warming represents a risk for us, which we should use all available options to prevent - we have to create the legal framework for this.” The rhetoric of the People's Party is not conducive to this. “According to the ÖVP, simply 'not building' a new road can lead back to the Stone Age. This is a completely unrealistic view that undermines a constructive climate discourse. We can’t get out of this with a blockade and business as usual.” said Dr. Willi Haas, Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Ecology, BOKU.

The People's Party's current policies are leading to climate catastrophe
The escalating climate crisis requires climate policy with expertise instead of common sense, explains Prof. Reinhard Steurer, because “as we have known since the pandemic at the latest, common sense is a fool when it comes to solving highly complex problems. Climate policy with common sense is like pandemic policy with horse dewormers: deadly for many.” Not only the Kickl-FPÖ but also the Nehammer-ÖVP are a security risk for Austria: “The ÖVP’s climate policy is a security risk because it not only endangers security and prosperity, but ultimately also human lives.” Of course, a climate policy with expertise is more possible if it is demanded by a large majority. The super election year 2024 offers numerous opportunities for this, said Steurer.
2024: year of change
“2024 will be a year of turning points – in every respect. Will climate-skeptical, science-denying parties come to power in the EU and Austria or will decision-makers hear the unified voice of science and recognize the seriousness of the climate crisis? This voice of science will be loud next year, we will bring it to the party headquarters of all parties over the next few months!” summarizes Roux. The Scientists For Future also announce that, together with other climate movements, they will ask questions of the parties campaigning for the election and publish the answers and a scientific classification. In doing so, they want to create a scientific basis for voters to make their voting decisions.

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