We are the 99 Percent
Everything is fine. It might rain every now and then. For a long time. That's annoying. But it's only rain right?
With these words, Andy Neumann begins his report on the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley. Neumann is a police officer. As the water rose, he put his children to bed that night, like always, thinking he was prepared.
But then the water came, pushing through the windows into the living room, climbing the stairs, to the top floor. Neumann was gripped by fear. Fear that his wife and children would die. The fire department advised them to climb onto the roof, but rescue was not possible from there either.
Panic only subsided once the water began to retreat.
Neumann and his family survived.
But 180 people died.
Scientists later said: "Without the climate crisis, the flood would not have happened."
The floods in the Ahr Valley are burned into our memory. But people are still dying every single day because of the climate crisis.
It is the elderly who become dehydrated in their homes on hot days and are too weak to call 911. Pregnant women suffer more miscarriages because of the heat. People with asthma struggle with breathing problems, especially young children. On extremely hot days, about one-third more people die than usual. In the summer of 2022, around 100,000 people died from overheating in Europe.
While the richest 1 percent at Lake Starnberg, in the Odenwald, in Berlin-Steglitz retreat to their shady gardens, migrant neighborhoods like Berlin-Neukölln suffer from the Urban Heat Island effect: narrow, urbanized spaces experience higher temperatures than the surrounding countryside. The heat accumulates in the streets, while students struggle to concentrate in the classrooms, losing precious educational opportunities in the process.
In East Africa, 36 million people are suffering from a drought that has lasted for years, and someone dies of hunger every 48 seconds. A third of Pakistan has been flooded.
The climate crisis is here. Just as the oil company Exxon predicted in an internal memo in 1981: Burning fossil fuels "produce effects which will indeed be catastrophic (at least for a substantial fraction of the earth’s population).”
Exxon knew even then. So did the oil multinationals Shell and British Petroleum. What did the CEOs do? They shelved the studies and began attacking the truth. They spent hundreds of millions of US dollars a year, produced false studies, attacked climate scientists and journalists. They spread the lie that global warming does not exist. They not only succeeded, they also made good money. Three billion dollars a day in profits. About one percent of global wealth.
All this wealth accumulated provides the power to “buy every politician, every system” and delay action on the climate crisis, says Belgian researcher Aviel Verbruggen.
And that's exactly what they do. Corporations have learned to manipulate our representative democracy. This has been demonstrated time and again in recent decades. In the successful campaigns that disguised the link between smoking cigarettes and cancer. Or the campaigns that downplayed the harm caused by the weed killer Glyphosate. It's evident again in the climate crisis.
Hundreds of lobbyists for oil, coal and gas attended the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in 2022. The delegates of the fossil corporations were larger in number than the delegation of any country.
Christian Lindner receives up to 15,000 euros for appearances as a speaker. His clients include fossil fuel companies such as E.ON, and he makes at least half a million euros per year from supplementary income. No wonder he leaves climate protection to "the market."
Friedrich Merz worked as a lawyer for Ruhrkohle AG, and also lobbied as a politician against phasing out fossil fuels. 13,000 people work in Germany's lobbying organizations; fossil corporations are among the biggest donors.
The bitter truth:
The expansion of renewable energies is being sabotaged.
RWE employees write laws for the Ministry of Economics.
The German government pays 70 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies every year.
In other words, corporations are hijacking our democracy - and no one is doing anything about it.
Not "climate chancellor" Olaf Scholz.
Not "climate minister" Robert Habeck.
And especially not Volker Wissing.
Our government is thus breaking existing law, our Basic Law. In April 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in a landmark decision that Germany's emissions must fall. Immediately. Not sometime after 2030. But that's not happening. We continue to race toward the 1.5-degree limit, with climate tipping points lurking in the distance. The Arctic is melting. The Gulf Stream is coming to a standstill. The Amazon is dying. And with it, our climatic balance.
"I'm telling you that we are pushing our children onto a global school bus that has a 98% probability of being fatal," says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, world-renowned climate scientist and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
But the government is shirking its duty. They put it off until later and keep finding new excuses.
And yes, the shift to renewable energy has been halted. Yes, it requires an energy supply and it needs jobs. And all this would be possible with renewable energies, but the government is unable to stand up to the pressure from corporations like RWE. Therefore it is not fulfilling its responsibility to protect our lives.
It is time for our democracy to become more democratic. It is time for power to move away from the 1 percent and toward the 99 percent. It is time for citizens to decide for themselves when it comes to climate protection.
We want those affected by the climate crisis to finally make the decisions. While the 1 percent with all its wealth is already making contingency plans for the the tipping point, by building bunkers in New Zealand, the rest of us don't have a backup plan. We are wholly dependent on the Government to protect us and to counter the climate crisis.
That is why we are calling for a binding assembly of citizens to figure out how Germany can achieve zero emissions by 2030.
The council will bring together people from all walks of life in Germany and, with the help of experts in politics, business, science and civil society, will draw up binding proposals on how we can proceed.
Vegans and car lovers alike can come together to discuss solutions, because in the end even they have can find a common cause in protecting life on this planet and shaping the way to achieve this in a socially just manner.
The government wrote the following into its coalition agreement: "We will establish and organize a citizens' council on specific issues through the Federal Parliament." We take them at their word, because role models from France, Ireland, Belgium show that this format unites people in their efforts and produces constructive solutions.
We call on the German government to set this assembly of the people and to implement its decisions. We demand that we, the 99 percent, finally have a say in the preservation of our lives.
Because it has been proven that a better, safer, fairer world awaits us wherever citizens are allowed to make informed decisions about their own fate.
Auswirkungen der Klimakrise auf die Überschwemmungen in Westdeutschland:
Gefahren für alte Menschen in Hitzewellen:
Hitzewellen und Fehlgeburten:
Übersterblichkeit und Hitzewellen:
Übersterblichkeit und Hitzewellen 2:
Hitzeinseln in Berlin:
Effekt von Hitze auf Denkleistung:
ExxonMobile und Klimastudien:
Revealed: oil sector’s ‘staggering’ $3bn-a-day profits for last 50 years:
Christian Lindners Nebeneinkünfte:
Friedrichs Merz lobbyiert für fossile Konzerne:
Lobbyismus in Deutschland:
Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien wird sabotiert:
70 Milliarden fossile Subventionen:
RWE-Mitarbeiter schreiben Gesetze für das Wirtschaftsministerium:
Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgericht:
Die Überlebenspläne der Superreichen, Bunker in Neuseeland:
Koalitionsvertrag und Bürgerräte: