What is at stake is the future of our planet

UN climate negotiations in Paris What is at stake is the future of our planet

Mitigating climate change is probably the greatest challenge of this century. Delegations from 195 states now have the job of addressing this challenge, said Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks in a government statement on the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

"The conference in Paris must usher in a new era," said Barbara Hendricks in her speech on the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The resolution of the G7 to decarbonise the global economy before the end of the century was essential in pointing the way forward. Brazil later signalled its support for the resolution.

185 states have already submitted national CO2 emission reduction targets. The targets together account for 95 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. With these contributions we could keep global warming down to a rise of around 2.7° Celsius. "We must do more," said Barbara Hendricks. "And we can do more! The two-degree target must become binding in international law."

Barbara Hendricks outlined the main thrusts of German negotiations in Paris

  • We need absolute transparency. We want to see clear rules as to how climate protection is going to be measured and documented in the individual states.

  • We must be able to adjust the national CO2 reduction targets. That is why we need a mechanism that gradually raises ambitions, ideally in five-year cycles.

  • We want worldwide solidarity with those countries that are suffering most from the impacts of climate change.

  • We need commitment to a long-term goal, and that goal must be to end CO2 emissions from fossil fuels before this century is out.

Financing climate action

Worsening climate change would aggravate distribution conflicts around the globe and create new conflicts. "If we do not manage to brake temperature rise, we will lose the fight against poverty, despair and migration," stressed the minister.

"The countries of the South will suffer as a result of climate change, even if we manage to keep temperature rises down to less than 2°C." The industrialised countries have thus undertaken to provide 100 billion US dollars every year as of 2020, from a combination of public funds and private investment, to be used to finance climate action.

Along with the USA, France and eight other countries, Germany has announced in Paris that 248 million US dollars are to be provided for a fund, which will help the poorest countries adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Fostering structural change

Germany is a trailblazer in the field of climate action. "1.5 million people earn their living in this branch. Germany’s market share of green products, procedures and services is about 13.6 per cent. "Climate protection does not impact negatively on the economy; climate action creates jobs and generates prosperity," explained Barbara Hendricks.

"With a new agreement we will stretch out our hand to those whose fear of transformation is greater than their worries about the consequences of climate change. Together we can halt climate change and give millions of people the chance of a better life."