Karl-Heinz Land is one of the old hands of the IT industry. He has 35 years of experience, knew Oracle as a start-up and is the founder of Neuland. But he is above all one thing – a utopian! He writes books, gives lectures and has ideas to save the world from climate change.
At the beginning of December the Cop24, the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC instead. The main task of this conference is to ensure the implementation of the Paris Convention.
Karl-Heinz, do you believe that the intention of the Paris Agreement – to bring temperatures well below 2°C before the end of the century – can still be adhered to at all. Is that realistic?
That can be done, in my opinion. However, I am concerned about the distinction between industrialised and developing countries in this context.
These discussions are only holding us up. Thus, the achievement of the objectives set is at risk. All because we lament the rights and obligations of different countries on the way to saving the climate.
So what is your vision of how we can actively stop global warming? Do you have one?
Of course, I am a utopian after all! Otherwise, I wouldn’t come to your collection, would I? To yours World in a hundred years Category on your blog: My utopia is that we can avoid having to leave Earth in a hundred years.
I believe that technological progress enables us to do everything today. Only our imagination still limits us. Progress has already made a lot possible – for example, the number of extremely poor people has already been reduced from 1.9 billion to 815 million – if that is not a success, what is?
That’s for sure! But what is your plan?
First of all, it is important to understand that climate change is already happening. The weather conditions we have had this year – continuous rain in Italy, long and dry summers in Germany, rampant fires in California – all these are indicators that climate change is not a phenomenon of our future. This is already taking place Karsten Schwankemeteorologist and TV presenter, wrote the preface to my book Earth 5.0 Recently i saw a video of himin which he made very clear how the weather conditions of this year are related to the climate change already taking place.
How do you plan to save the world’s climate?
We must enable the developing countries to help themselves and thus also us. They must become independent of our help in order to be able to develop their innovative potential. I suppose you’re wondering how I’m going to do that? Let’s look at Africa – the potential for solar energy on this continent is largely untapped. With the Desertec II series we could supply the whole of Africa. The released energy will make it possible to desalinate seawater on a large scale and make it accessible to the population. Equipped with these resources, Africa could become the largest exporter of sustainable energy. Pipelines more than 3,000 kilometers long could transport the electricity captured there by the sun into the homes of the western world.
Africa as an electricity producer for Europe? Doesn’t this entail a reorganisation of the world?
Of course! This will not only help to curb “global warming” and generate the necessary regenerative energy, but also to establish a reliable technological infrastructure there. The continent could modernise itself from within.
Africa is not exactly famous for political stability. – What would such a modernisation from the inside look like?
Africa’s fundamental problems, such as the growing population and malnutrition, would be a thing of the past. This will also pave the way for a stable society in Africa. With Desertec II, the growing population would be self-sufficient and would no longer be dependent on outside help. The advance of the desert could be stopped with the additional water available through desalination. Because of the possible planting, it might even start raining there from time to time. And with people’s access to value creation, information and capital, political stability would inevitably follow.
Why should the industrial nations be prepared in the Cop24 negotiations to support change for the developing countries?
The innovative technologies deliver prosperity and purchasing power. Aid to Africa would become superfluous. With inhabitants who are developing sociologically, economically and ecologically splendidly despite population growth, we will also stop immigration from these countries.
With the end of corrupt regimes, wars and genocides, we gained innovative and at the same time reliable trading partners.
Now we have talked a lot about Africa – but what about other emerging markets, for example India or China?
These countries are making an ever greater contribution to global economic growth and gross domestic product. Your ascent is of great importance. They have catching up to do in terms of consumption and they are the reason why mankind is trying to push the limits of growth even further. This is an ethical dilemma: After 200 years of overexploitation of nature, the industrialized countries are hardly in a position to limit the developing and newly industrializing countries in their desire for infrastructure and prosperity.
What is your proposal to solve this dilemma?
These countries are themselves part of the digital revolution. There, too, new and digital infrastructures are emerging, which are larger and more powerful than before, more powerful than anything we know from the first 20 years of the Internet. I am sure that people can optimize themselves in this new “world machine” in which they can communicate with everything and merge the abilities of man and machine. Together we will find solutions that we cannot even imagine today.
Here you allude to the general attitude of the people?
Yes, digitalisation is the greatest design task of our time. The decisive question is indeed the attitude of the people. How will we tackle the challenges of the future? Restrained – eternally negotiating – as is currently happening in the climate negotiations, or gripping and fearless?
I think we just have to dare to take the wheel of fate in our hands!
Thanks for the interview, Karl-Heinz. I wish that your utopias come true!
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