21.07.2022, Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart: Menschen kaufen in einem Tafelladen Lebensmittel ein. Wohlfahrtsverbände haben von der grün-schwarzen Landesregierung die sofortige Einberufung eines Sozialgipfels gefordert. Foto: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

When the planet gets too hot, some get cold hearts. It’s like this: Whoever has, can also give. Specifically: Anyone who has no acute existential worries – neither poor nor sick, neither at war nor on the run – can afford to demand renunciation to combat the climate crisis. And by everyone, including the poor and sick. “Since the world is going to change radically, everyone has to participate, not just those up there,” writes Hedwig Richter, who teaches modern and contemporary history at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

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The author warns of unreasonable demands because “the ecological turnaround cannot be made without restrictions for the population”. Those who are still worried about social peace and social cohesion in the face of global warming are using “class struggle rhetoric expressed in a high tone of indignation”. This is primarily aimed at the SPD, which apparently sees itself unable to “demand something from people who own less than a private jet”.

Hedwig formulates the basic idea of ​​her essay a little less ironically: “Anyone who rejects the forthcoming changes in the name of social justice has not heard the shot. There is no social justice without a habitable planet.” A perpetuation of social inequality in the name of combating the climate crisis is propagated here, which is thankfully clear and unequivocal. Poor people can get poorer if only there are no more forest fires and floods.

The author is correspondingly critical of the fact that only victims are shown when commemorating the flood in the Ahr valley. It is a fact that all people there – like everyone else – are destroying the planet with their normal lives. “Who would dare to speak the truth that the rows of destroyed houses and cars that have been swept away represent the very life that the flood produces?” In short, it’s your own fault.

What will a victim of the flood in the Ahr Valley think when he reads this? Caught up in the needs of the present, shouldn’t he find such a cool preoccupation with the causalities of a future catastrophe lacking in empathy? To oppose the SPD’s alleged “class struggle rhetoric” with a merciless ideology of renunciation harms the fight against the climate crisis. Those who consciously ignore the social should not be surprised if they are perceived as privileged or even snobbish.

Letting pensioner Lieschen Müller freeze in her rented apartment at 16 degrees in winter is not the same as not having a second car yourself. If climate protectors don’t understand this, society will fall apart.