“Environmental protection has a high price” and requires changes to previous habits. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn pointed this out in his Friday column “Answers” in the newspaper Heute. Failure to undertake this serious and co-ordinated change would bring “millions of climate refugees”.

The question arises as to “whether we all, politicians, society [and] religions are prepared for the necessary sacrifices out of love for the Earth,” wrote the Viennese archbishop.

“High price” to pay for climate “rescue”

“Green is in!”, the cardinal began his remarks, devoted to environmental issues. “No party ignores the subject of environmental protection”, observed Schönborn. Since the Green Party’s “amazing success” in the recent European elections, everyone has wanted to save the climate and the environment: a ban on plastic bags, CO2 reduction and emission-free cars are topics that are widely accepted by the population. One thing is clear, Schönborn said: “The rescue of the climate, to which all parties have pledged themselves, has a high price.”

As an example, the cardinal named air traffic pollution, considered “public enemy number 1” in climate protection. Reflecting on the 200,000 daily flights taken worldwide – some 46 million per year – Schönborn recalled that air fuel is still tax-free.

The cardinal referred to the push by French President Emmanuel Macron for a Europe-wide air fuel tax and mentioned that he himself was affected by the higher fares involved: “I confess that I myself fly quite often”. The answer to this could only be in a fundamental sacrificial lifestyle change, Schönborn emphasized.