OPEN LETTER: Flatten the curve

OPEN LETTER: Flatten the curve

To the environmental, economic, social and financial spokespersons of all parties, there is a second curve to flatten!

“flatten the curve” – We hear it every day when we turn on the news: Every day there are more corona infected people, in Austria we have 1.046 available intensive care beds, our health system has its limits and we have to try not to overload these capacities! We must therefore do everything we can to smooth the curve, and that is to save human lives.

What is true for our health system is also true for our planet. The capacity limit here is the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To have a good chance of limiting global warming to less than 1.5°, the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere must not exceed 467 ppm and must be reduced to below 411 ppm by the end of the century. To achieve this, net emissions must be reduced to zero worldwide by 2050 at the latest. It is high time to turn all sorts of screws in order to work together and in solidarity to ensure that earth fever does not rise by more than 1.5°.

therefore: there is a second curve to flatten!

The climate crisis also kills people every day. It is forcing more and more people to leave their homes, leaving people hungry and literally pulling the rug out from under some of us. The number of heat-related deaths has increased. And yet we are still not treating the climate crisis for what it is: a crisis! The facts have been known for a long time, now action must finally follow!

  • Because we have long seen how our biodiversity, which is irreplaceable for the production of new, life-saving medicines, is being lost
  • because we have long heard how extreme heat waves and droughts lead to failed harvests and the death of many people,
  • because we have long felt our summers getting hotter and hotter
  • and because we have long known that we must act urgently, we demand #FightEveryCrisis

Rapid structural measures are needed to flatten the curve of climate escalation. The following five demands lay the foundation for achieving a permanent reduction in emissions in Austria and at the same time becoming more resilient to the consequences of climate change that are no longer unavoidable:

BUT THIS CURVE MATTERS TOO! Check out the full text down below.

1. emergency aid measures for people!

Together with Stay Grounded and more than 300 organizations we demand #SavePeopleNotPlanes: No billion dollar aid for the aviation industry! The people affected by the crisis need support, not the aviation industry. It must not get away with privatising its profits in good times and not paying taxes on kerosene to make society pay for its losses in bad times.

The full text of the petition is available at:

The same also applies to all other companies based in Austria that are fuelling the climate crisis with above-average emissions: no state crisis aid without a commitment to the 1.5 degree target and a strategy to achieve it in concrete terms! #SavePeopleNotPolluters

2. economic stimulus programmes to stabilise the economy must not be emission-intensive!

No to state crisis aid for projects that have employment effects but are at the same time emission-intensive. Purchase stimulations such as car scrappage schemes will cause the climate escalation curve to continue to rise and must therefore be avoided under any circumstances! Not only do they make a mockery of all climate protection measures, but they are also counterproductive from a budgetary point of view, as Austria is threatened with heavy fines if it fails to achieve its climate targets.

3. economic stimulus packages must make the economy and society more resilient!

We can still move the capacity limit significantly upwards in the event of a climate crisis: Regenerative measures, especially in the field of land use and agriculture, can store more greenhouse gases instead of them ending up in the atmosphere.
Furthermore we can build infrastructures that satisfy needs in an affordable and sustainable way for everyone, in order to enable a good life without the pressure of consumption and growth. We demand for everyone who lives in Austria:
– Well-developed public transport systems and free train and public transport tickets
– Expansion of the cycling infrastructure
– Affordable, climate-friendly and energy-saving living
– Thermal renovation of buildings supported
– Free and extensive health, care and educational facilities within easy reach
– Renewable and affordable energy produced in a nature-friendly way
– Unconditionally guaranteed access to healthy, regional, organic food
– More local recreation areas, therefore less space for cars and more space for people
Resilience-enhancing tax cuts are also well suited as stimulus measures to promote progress towards climate neutrality in all sectors.

4. stick to all climate protection measures!

Not a single climate protection measure in force or planned before the outbreak of the crisis may be dropped or weakened due to the corona crisis. No environmental tax may be lowered. No climate-damaging tax exception may be extended. No speed limit may be increased. On the contrary, we demand a maximum speed of 100 km/h on all motorways. Furthermore, the investments in climate and environmental protection provided for in the government programme must not be reduced. The greening of the tax system from 2021 must be far more ambitious than planned.

5. budget consolidation after the Corona crisis must be socially just!

The consolidation of the state budget after the Corona crisis must neither undermine the stability in the areas such as health and the environment, nor be at the expense of the low-income earners. For this purpose, ecological measures in particular are ideal, as they reward environmentally friendly behaviour and are ecologically, economically and socially just. In order to manage the crisis in a socially just manner, primarily economic activities that do not contribute to the social welfare must be taxed, for example financial transactions. In an OECD comparison, there are hardly any countries in which assets are taxed as little as in Austria. Therefore, the very unequally distributed assets in Austria must be taxed more heavily!

there is a second curve to flatten!

We can all learn something from the corona crisis. It has shown us what social cohesion means and what we are capable of together!
The emergency brake, which has been pulled in many countries since Corona, already has effects on our planet. In Germany, for example, it is estimated that 30 to 100 million tons of CO2 could be saved compared to 2019. In China, for example, nitrogen dioxide pollution has been reduced by 30 percent in the short term. And we are receiving reports from many large cities about a significant improvement in air quality. All these positive effects came as a by-product of the treatment of the corona crisis and will not last if we do not continue to work for our environment.
If forced measures bring about changes so quickly, what are measures that we consciously take to save our planet capable of?
Just as we humans are the ones causing the climate crisis, we are the ones who can stop it!

We just have to want it. #LetsFlattenTheSecondCurve


You want to know what feedback we have received? Here you can find the exact answers of the spokesperson in German language. With the exception of the FPÖ, we have received a response from all parties.

Now we have to keep an eye on them! You want to make sure that the parties keep their promises? Send them an e-mail reminding them of what they said. #offenerbriefflashmob

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