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Global climate change poses an existential danger to humanity, but has faded into the background somewhat during the coronavirus pandemic. Now the issue is back with force. In the United States, President Biden formally rejoined the Paris climate agreement on the day of his inauguration, and has since announced very ambitious climate targets. In Germany, climate protection has remained a focal point of political debate even during the pandemic, and is one of the key issues in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) promises to be an interesting event. It was postponed because of the pandemic and will now take place in Glasgow in November 2021. Will the international community agree on further improvements to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius?

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the corona pandemic the greatest crisis of our age. It is the biggest challenge the world has faced since the United Nations was established 75 years ago. This is not only about containing the virus, but also a matter of basic human solidarity, of helping people to cope with the economic consequences. Guterres speaks of a choice: When the crisis is eventually over, we can either go back to how things were before, or we can resolutely set about changing the things that make the world vulnerable to pandemics.

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“Our world is marked by a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust.” With these words, spoken in Nagasaki at the end of 2019, Pope Francis once again condemned the system of nuclear deterrence. Peace and international stability cannot be built on the threat of total annihilation, he said. By taking the view that not only the use of nuclear weapons but also threatening their use and even their possession cannot be justified, the pope has set a new course in the Church’s peace ethics ...

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