These days, much is spoken and written about the destruction of our planet as a result of climate change. In his evocative film , the Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Eichelmann who was an active member of WWF for 17 years and worked in conservation for decades, now documents that it is rather the reverse: he shows how many ecosystems, species, habitats and the cultural heritage too are threatened – but, as he sums up, “not by climate change, but by climate protection and the things done in its name.” It is predominantly hydropower and bioenergy projects that threaten to destroy precious areas of our planet’s nature.
Eichelmann feels particularly affected by what he has found out in the course of his research; that’s because, as he says, he has been deeply involved in the fight against climate change – until he discovered some time ago “that something went wrong here “.
By the way: Do you remember the worldwide outrage over the Taliban, when they destroyed the giant statue of Buddha of Bamiyan? These barbarians, it was said at that time! The loss of Hasankeyf would be vastly greater, yet outrage outside
Eichelmann presents calculations in his film which show that almost every single project he presents, e.g. each “Climate Crime”, is responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide or methane instead of reducing emissions. Although he has changed from being a climate change campaigner into a fighter against this kind of climate protection, Eichelmann still assumes that greenhouse gases pose a risk to the global climate. He thinks the only chance to counter the risk is to question the idea of global economic growth. Only in this way, he argues, the world could prevent the “Climate Crimes”, which his film documents.
You do not have to share – like this writer – the growth denial strategy in order to be impressed by the movie which is extremely well and comprehensively researched. The development of the global climate, the warming pause in the last decade and a half, and the climate could indicate that it might be useful to transform our energy supply in the long run; but there is no reason today to throw out “the baby with the bathwater”, as economist Niko Paech says in the film – or to accept that “climate protection is used as a cover for environmental crimes.”
My fear is, however, that a growth denial strategy would be nothing else than throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The fact is: only growth-oriented economies can afford to protect the environment. To crack this historic challenge is not impossible theoretically, but it could lead to similar questionable experiments as documented in “Climate Crimes”.
We must take the time to plan sensibly and not to rush into “head-over-heels” measures. Let us beware of exaggerated doomsday prophecies and instead protect nature. Either way, growth or denial, greenhouse hysteria or cool head: “Climate Crimes” is one of the most interesting and daring films on the subject.
Translation Philipp Mueller