30 Years of Climate Alliance

Karl-Ludwig Schibel on the beginnings of the network and the future of climate action

Karl-Ludwig Schibel has been deeply connected with Climate Alliance from the very beginning – whether as a long-standing board member or today’s national coordinator for Italy. He is an inextricable part of Climate Alliance’s journey. "30 years later, looking back, I can ask myself whether I alone was naive or whether we all were," he comments, summing up. In 1990, the members committed themselves to halving the CO2 emissions by 2010. For Schibel back then, twenty years seemed to be a long time to get climate change under control. "This perception was based, among other things, on the success of the Montreal protocol of 1987 for the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons, which caused ozone depletion, one of the most pressing environmental issues in the 1980s. Why shouldn’t it work in a similar way with the greenhouse gases?" Karl-Ludwig Schibel asked himself back then.

But over the years this perception has changed. By the end of the nineties, the gravity of the task ahead was becoming increasingly clear. It is not just a matter of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies, but of a profound shift. "Not only is the global economy driven by oil, gas and coal, but the ubiquitous availability of energy is deeply rooted in our fossil culture. The resolution of Bolzano in 2000, in which members committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gases by ten percent every five years, owes its existence to this learning process, being at the beginning of a forward looking process that will characterise this century," Karl-Ludwig Schibel explains.

The Italian national coordinator from Città di Castello is nevertheless looking positively into the future. "The United Nations‘ Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 outline the framework in which local climate policy must be embedded and with Climate Alliance’s principles, fair, nature-based, local, resource-saving and diverse, we have committed ourselves to this comprehensive approach. Climate protection and adaptation measures must be seen as part of a local development towards a sustainable society. Strong social cohesion and a sustainable economy in a co-productive relationship with nature require an ecological conversion that focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gases, but that cannot be reduced to this aspect. Climate Alliance and its members are on the right path towards a post-fossil fuel economy and society in which climate change mitigation and adaptation are an everyday practical part of sustainable development on the ground."