And from the man himself:
A response to the article in Die Zeit:
I am very sorry for the words I used. And I wish to apologize for the hurt and offense they have caused.
My intention was the exact opposite of "downplaying the Holocaust". It's because of the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust that in talking to the German press, I was referring to it as the way to communicate the unimaginable tragedy of what is happening now today with climate change and ecological collapse around the world.
The Holocaust led to all of Europe saying "Never again", yet we’re not seriously acknowledging and acting on what is unfolding before our eyes, as we pump ever greater quantities of CO2 and other pollutants into our atmosphere, while simultaneously tightening
immigration controls, already turning whole regions of the world into dead zones, especially the oceans.
In the interview I talked about the “terrible emotionality which Auschwitz caused” (which did not appear in Die Zeit’s free short article) as a way to highlight the lack of emotionality regarding the climate crisis and the unfolding genocide that is already claiming countless lives in the Global South and some in the North with increasing heat waves and floods.
The world needs to pierce the denial on the horror that climate breakdown and ecological collapse will bring them, unless there is an urgent and radical change of course on many fronts. The worst impacts can still be averted, but slow acting governments, a global media that downplays climate change in favour of sensationalism, or even promotes climate scepticism, are preventing the change we need from happening.
I realise that in the interview I got sidetracked into an unnecessary debate about where the Holocaust sits in terms of horrific genocides. I see now my cultural insensitivity. I understand that such a debate is obscene and offensive, in particular for all those who remain haunted by memories of what occurred and for all those who lost people they loved.
I am sorry for the crass words that I used. I do not feel the need to apologise for drawing attention to the genocide that is happening now. We must learn from the past, from tragedies like the Holocaust and other genocides, to prevent the horror of the near
future. Despite my poorly phrased statement, I still strongly demand action on the preventable genocide that so many are ignoring across the world.