30 Nov 2018 Story Climate change

The world economy needs to change

An interview with Ms. Dominique Hasler, Minister for Environment of Liechtenstein

What do you think is the most pressing environmental issue today and why?

Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. As an alpine country the impacts of a warming world is the most pressing environmental issue today. A 2° C increase in global temperatures is already a reality for our region. Since 1850, the average temperature in Liechtenstein has increased by 1.9°C. We can’t rely on forecasts anymore to predict heavy rainfalls, floods, landslides, droughts and heat waves. Our houses were originally built to protect from cold winters. Now buildings must protect from heat as well. This is a new development people have to adapt to. Higher temperatures will change flora and fauna. The effects on agriculture might be in some cases positive, but negative effects on ecology and biodiversity prevail. The environment will further change in the future with increasing global temperatures and the predictions draw a rather gloomy future.

What do you think are some of the practical ways to address it?

All Parties to the Paris Agreement need to join forces to address the threat of climate change. The global goal must be to reach carbon neutrality as soon as possible. The world economy must quickly switch to a model of sustainable growth powered by renewable energy. In order to avoid the most serious damages, the world economy needs to transform in a very short period of time.

How would you encourage the public to support environmental causes?

We need to sensitize and mobilize the public to take action to protect the environment. The value of ecosystem services and an intact environment must be made visible and thus gain influence in economic decisions. Finally, there needs to be a price tag on the effects of climate change and environmentally damaging practices.