Climate expert Gianluca Grimalda spoke about his dismissal due to his refusal to “urgently return” to Germany from an expedition in Papua New Guinea by plane.
According to Grimalda, the University of Kiel, where he works, gave him the shortest return deadline. Grimalda, who has refused to fly on planes for climate reasons for more than ten years, did not comply – and the contract with him was terminated.
“In a climate emergency, emitting 4.9 tons of carbon dioxide in order to return to Europe as quickly as possible is morally unacceptable to me,” Grimalda explained. According to his estimates, the emitted volume of carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate warming, will be approximately equal to the amount that a person emits in a year.
Grimalda, who spent six months studying the social impacts of climate change in Bougainville, is set to return to Germany on a cargo ship due to depart tomorrow, October 14. The return journey to Europe will take Grimalda 45 days.
The scientist plans to appeal his dismissal and has already asked for help from the union. A university spokesman told The Guardian that the university “does not publicly discuss or comment on staff concerns.” The newspaper’s interlocutor noted that “in general” the university encourages employees to “slow travel” and has previously supported two such trips by Grimalda.
Greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, are one of the main factors of global warming. The years 2015 to 2022 were the warmest on record, and the average temperature on Earth was 1.15°C above pre-industrial levels. Scientists consider an increase of 1.5°C critical. Scientists have confirmed that climate change is affecting the weather. Rising global temperatures are increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including floods, droughts, wildfires, storms, and cold and heat waves. Natural disasters lead to the death and migration of people and animals, destruction of homes and infrastructure, and destruction of land.