Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Lothar Abicht


    an the world still be saved?
    This question is increasingly being
    asked by many people who are open

to the findings of science and who also go through life with their eyes wide open. Among many other threatening events, it is above all man-made climate change that triggers justified fears and concerns. 

After some time of hoping that Europe and Germany would only be affected over a longer period of time, the current drought has also shattered this illusion. According to EU experts, it is probably the worst drought in the last 500 years. There is no end in sight. On the contrary, half of the continent is permanently threatened by drought. The consequences, such as rivers drying up, forests burning, crops drying up and industrial plants without service and cooling water, can be seen by everyone.

If any last apparent proof of the need to drastically reduce emissions of climate-damaging gases, especially CO2, was needed, it is now here. Unfortunately, the reality is different. Global CO2 emissions and also the release of methane are increasing, not decreasing. The world is still dependent on the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas, and we can see whereto a shortage leads in Germany with the example of gas supply. 

So do we have no hope at all of slowing down the ride into the abyss?

Since the beginning of this year, the Cryco Think Tank has also been dealing with this question as a central theme. As futurologists, we cannot develop new plants or launch political initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions. What we can do, however, is contribute to answering the question of which paths are still open to humanity to stop climate change and save our civilisation. We are concentrating on the technological possibilities to drastically reduce the emission of CO2 and other climate-relevant gases. In essence, we are concerned with the transformation of all the technologies used by humankind, which are essentially based on the use of fossil carbon carriers. We call the process of technological reorientation of humankind the 5th Industrial Revolution. In the last issue of this magazine, we already reported on what is meant by this under the title “From the fourth to the fifth industrial revolution”. 

As a result of the research work, in the course of the next few months we are planning to publish a book with partners, which can actually serve as a guide for the climate-neutral transformation of the economy and technology. 

The book attempts to analyse all major technologies used by mankind with regard to their future development potential until about 2050 and to describe what new and further developments can realistically be expected by then. In order to enable a systematic view of the extensive transformation processes, individual technology fields, which often also represent economic sectors, are considered in their complexity, including the internal interrelationships.

The technology fields are:

  • Energy supply, energy technologies
  • Transport, transport technologies
  • Material transformation – chemical production, metallurgy and building materials production
  • Substance shaping – processing technologies, manufacturing technologies
  • Information processing and provision – information technologies, media
  • Agriculture, food
  • Construction and housing
  • Mining, extraction of natural materials and circular economy 

As a result, a differentiated picture of the individual technologies and their interaction as well as the challenges associated with the transformation emerges for each economic sector or for each field of technology.

The book is based on purely explorative methods, with which examples, prototypes and scientific studies are found and evaluated in terms of their “suitability for the future”. In other words: speculation remains outside, only what can be scientifically proven finds its way into the texts. A large number of internet sources will enable readers to dive deeper into the subject matter at the points they find particularly important.

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