Climate change issues can only be solved globally

Petersberg Climate Dialogue Climate change issues can only be solved globally

Germany plans to ratify the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement by November at the latest Chancellor Merkel told those attending the seventh Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. She hailed the Paris Agreement as a “historic milestone”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue

Germany plans to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement by November at the latest

Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

Now the commitments countries have made need to be effectively implemented.

“Here at this seventh Petersberg Climate Dialogue we have entered into a new era, because now we have a globally binding climate agreement,” Chancellor Merkel said in Berlin.

“The world’s nations have set themselves the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees, ideally to 1.5 degrees,” the Chancellor said. This would be reviewed every two years and the relevant adjustments made, she added.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue is an informal conference at which participants discuss what they need to do to fully, effectively and rapidly implement the Paris Agreement. These climate dialogues also serve to prepare the UN climate change conferences held at the end of each year. The 22nd UN Climate Change Conference (COP 22) will be hosted by Morocco and is scheduled to take place in Marrakesh from 7 to 18 November 2016.

Merkel: Climate action is a survival issue

Climate protection is a global task that can only be tackled globally, Angela Merkel said. “Of course we are fully aware that we are responsible to varying degrees for climate change, that its consequences affect us to varying degrees and that we have different possibilities for meeting the challenges it poses,” the Chancellor said.

“It is no exaggeration to say that climate action is no more and no less than a survival issue.”

The Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015, is the first internationally binding framework for a global turnaround in energy policy. The Agreement lays down a process that is binding under international law for limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees. In fact, the target is to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. In addition, greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved by the second half of this century. Rich industrialised nations are also required to draw up a concrete funding road map by 2020 on how they plan to support those regions of the world that are most adversely affected by climate change.

Continually expanding climate action plans

Progress not only needs to be made in the energy sector, said Merkel, but also in regard to the economy, transportation and in private households.

It was important, the Chancellor said, for the world’s leading economies to take on a leadership role. That was why Germany would be putting the topic high on the agenda of its G20 Presidency in 2017.

Tying aid to climate action

Richer countries have to support poorer countries in implementing their planned climate action projects and achieving the goals they have set themselves, Angela Merkel said.

Industrialised nations provide financial support to those poor regions of the world that are most adversely affected by climate change. At the start of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller and Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks presented their plans for a new partnership.

“We want to make it easier for the Paris Agreement to enter into force quickly and to ensure it comes to legal life too,” said Hendricks.

The Paris Agreement carries forward a pledge industrialised nations made in 2009. Back then they had declared their willingness to mobilise climate funding to the tune of 100 billion US dollars each year until 2020. The pledge has now been extended to 2025. A new, higher target is to be agreed for the period after 2025.

Rapid ratification sought

The Paris Climate Agreement will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by at least 55 countries accounting in total for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. “Let us therefore breathe life into the climate agreement,” the Chancellor appealed to those taking part in the Climate Dialogue.

On Wednesday the German government will be putting forward draft legislation for Germany to ratify the Paris Agreement. If the Bundestag approves the bill, Germany will be able to conclude the ratification process before the next international climate change conference in Marrakesh.