Joachim Curtius – The Science of Climate Change latest concerns

About Prof. Dr. Joachim Curtius 

Joachim Curtius is Professor from Goethe Universität, Frankfurt,  Germany at Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences –Department. He has PhD. in Nuclear Physics and Postdoct. At Max Plank Institute for Nuclear Physics, Atmospheric Science Division – Heidelberg –Germany  & Post Doc at National Oceanic  and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder , Colorado -USA. 

Focus of Research: Atmospheric aerosol, aerosol nucleation and aerosol precursor gases, atmospheric ions and ion clusters, ice nucleation, aerosol compositions, trace gases, aerosol-cloud-interaction, aircraft emissions, aerosol impacts on climate. 

Awards –  Scientist of the Year, Alfons and Gertrud Kassel-Foundation (2017). 


Prof. Dr. Joachim Curtius 


1. Interviewer Zélia Bora – Curtius, the outside community beyond the scientific domains was astounded and uncertain about the allegations that came during the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, accusing the scientific community of conspiracy, regarding the problems of climate change. What is going on today in 2018? What facts can the common public accept as  truthful?  And what facts are not?, After all, it is the biggest challenge facing our planet as a matter of life and death .

Interviewee Joachim Curtius – I think over time it became perfectly clear that there was absolutely no reason for these allegations. The effort of writing a huge report of more than 1000 pages, containing a huge amount of data is enormous and it is not surprising if there are a few very minor mistakes in the report. Such mistakes cannot be avoided in such a large report and it doesn’t mean that the main messages are not correct. On the contrary, by putting together the IPCC report, the community of climate scientist is organizing an excellent review process and it summarizes and evaluates a huge amount of individual scientific studies. 

The bottom line from all these studies is completely consistent: the climate is changing very fast and human action – especially the release of CO2 from the consumption of fossil fuels and from burning tropical forests – is the main cause for this change. There is no doubt about that. And this fact has to be accepted as truthful even if it is inconvenient and it means that we have change our ways of energy production and consumption drastically. We also have to find ways to protect the tropical forests from logging and fire clearing.

2. Z. Considering human’s activities such as deforestation, fossil fuels and other industrial activities, mostly in 21st century, we must ask how these changes are associated to catastrophes such as severe draughts, fire and floods in all continents?

J. Again, there is a strong consensus among the climate scientists that extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, wild fires and extreme precipitation increase as a result of climate change. While it is much more difficult to predict which region will be affected how strongly by these increases of extreme weather events, it is clear that there are strong changes of these weather extremes occurring and these will affect the population of these regions very negatively.

3. Z. As a scientist do you think that the efforts expressed in the Kyoto Protocol Commitment (1997) have been effective to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse effects? How national politics of countries like China and  other developing countries, for examples ,  impact the efforts to minimize the greenhouse effect?

J. The Kyoto Protocol Commitments were a first step in the right direction. But many more steps have to follow within a short time window that is still available to avoid very dangerous consequences of climate change. Even the most recent commitments from the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to limit climate warming to less than 2°C. All countries have to commit themselves to more emission reductions, especially, of course, the industrial countries like the US, but also countries like China that increased their CO2 emissions enormously over the past two decades. National politics has to reduce these emissions very fast now. 

4. Z. How important would be the role of  the United States to ratify the stop of global warming effect over life on the Planet ?

J. Also the US has a huge responsibility in this process. The US are the second-largest CO2 emitter in the world and from the historic emissions of the 2lst century they are responsible for a very large fraction of the accumulated emissions. At the same time they have the financial resources and the know-how to implement the necessary changes in order to make the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energies. It is incredibly important that the US takes on the responsibility to reduce their high emissions in the very near future. Maybe the increasing damages from wildfires in the southwestern US will lead to a shift of mind-set and initiate the required actions.

5. J. Final Remarks. 

Time to change the entire global energy production from fossils to renewables is extremely short and this transition will require an enormous effort from everyone. We also have to protect our remaining wildlife, especially the precious biodiversity of the tropical forests.


November 19th, 2018. 

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