Speech by Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and Member of the German Bundestag, at the 13th Petersberg Climate Dialogue

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Your Excellency, President El-Sisi,

Mr Hart (Sonderberater des VN-Generalsekretärs),

Annalena Baerbock,

Ladies and gentlemen,

For thousands of years there has been one thought driving progress all around the world,

and it is this:

to give future generations a good life.

This thought is central when we are talking about our planet’s climate – in two respects.

Firstly, because it forces us to face up to what we’ve actually all known for a long time now: if we do not act much faster, much more resolutely and much more united on climate change mitigation, then we will not be able to keep this promise to future generations.

The recent heatwave in India and Pakistan, the floods in Brazil at the start of the year or in the Ahr valley and North Rhine-Westphalia last year, which we remembered last week – such events send a clear message: we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

However, the thought of future generations also points the way forward.

Just as the hope of prosperity and a better life has ensured advancement for millennia, so it can also bring crucial progress on climate action. If, yes, if we succeed in combining the goal of climate neutrality with this promise of prosperity.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the path we must take.

In 30 years’ time, our planet is likely to be home to two billion more people than today – predominantly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Do we really believe that we can present them with a choice? Either climate action or prosperity?

They must all have the prospect of prosperity and of an intact planet.

Nor can we ask the citizens of our countries to be less mobile. How is that supposed to work in a globalised, interconnected world?

Climate action will succeed only if it has the support of a broad majority of our societies. That is true in all our countries.

Or to put it another way, climate action will succeed if it brings tangible improvements to our lives – with a modern, affordable energy supply, for example, or with wind turbines and solar installations instead of smoky chimneys, or mobility without the exhaust fumes.

One example of how this might be managed comes from Egypt. Your Government, Mr President, is currently building a high-speed rail network that will connect people while protecting the climate.

[Germany’s path to climate neutrality]

This describes the challenge ahead of us: namely to rev up climate action while at the same time safeguarding and creating prosperity.

Here in Germany, back at the beginning of this legislative term, we said that this decade would be the decade of transformation. The decade in which we lay the foundations for a carbon-neutral economy.

In less than 25 years, by 2045, we want to be one of the first climate-neutral industrial countries.

Putin’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, his use of energy as a weapon, rapidly rising energy prices – all this merely reinforces our commitment to that goal.

We need to phase out coal, oil and gas – and go at it full throttle.

So our motto is: try and stop us!

Because what must not happen is that we slide into a global renaissance of fossil energy, and coal in particular. No one can be pleased that the share of coal-fired power generation is rising again, in Germany as well, in response to looming bottlenecks in gas supplies.

This makes it all the more important for us to state in no uncertain terms: this is an emergency measure imposed for a very short, limited period of time, and it does not take away from our climate targets.

The same is true of investment in the gas infrastructure.

Yes, we temporarily need new LNG capacities, so that the lights don’t go out in people’s homes or in factories and businesses here and in many other countries around the world. Factories, by the way, that often produce the very technologies we need to achieve climate neutrality.

However, it is also clear that everything we do today to secure the supply of gas has to be in conformity with our goal of becoming carbon-neutral in Germany and worldwide.

Specifically, this means not creating any new lasting dependencies on fossil fuels – not here and not in the producer countries.

If we launch new energy partnerships today, then it has to be with a clear perspective for the energy transition and the shift to green hydrogen.

And not least of all, we are fixing an expiry date for the use of fossil fuels.

At the G7 Summit in Elmau, we decided to decarbonise the energy sector in our countries as far as possible by 2035.

What this means for Germany is that in 2030 we will be getting 80 percent of our electricity from renewables.

By the same date, we will be producing 50 percent of heat in a climate-neutral manner.

These are the targets we have set ourselves.

We have set out the course for how to achieve them over the past weeks and months.

We have set new targets for expansion – using two percent of our land area for wind power in future, for instance.

Approval procedures will be greatly accelerated.

Above all, though, we have enshrined one thing in law: from now on, the expansion of renewable energies is in the overriding public interest – not only in a political sense but also in law.

In the interest of climate change mitigation, in the interest of an affordable supply of energy, and in the interest of our country’s security and energy independence.

[International cooperation]

We regard all this as our contribution to a joint global effort – by industrialised countries, developing countries and emerging economies.

And this meeting, too, underlines that. Today we really are living up to the venue’s name: “Weltsaal” translates as “World Hall”, and thanks to your participation, the whole world is represented here today!

If we are not to lose sight of the 1.5 degree target, we must almost halve our CO2 emissions globally before the end of the decade.

Here, too, we will only succeed if we think about climate change mitigation and prosperity in conjunction.

All over the world, we need cars that run on electricity generated from renewable energy, and planes that have climate-neutral fuel in their tanks.

We need carbon-neutral steel and climate-neutral cement to build our bridges and houses;

Green hydrogen to power our industries;

High-performance wind turbines and solar installations.

And the flow of goods between our countries needs to become climate-friendly.

In short, we must approach the conversion to climate neutrality as a global modernisation programme.

A modernisation programme in which states, companies, scientists and citizens work closely together.

That’s why, at the G7 Summit in Elmau, we launched a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

Together with the business community, we want to invest 600 billion dollars over the next five years in modern infrastructure, the digital transformation, health, education and clean energy. That will also hugely advance climate change mitigation.

One focus of Germany’s engagement will be the Just Energy Transition Partnerships. Along with development banks and companies, we will support the partner countries in decarbonising their energy sector.

And it is not by chance that the first partner country is an African one, South Africa.

We are talking to other countries about setting up further partnerships.

And we want to do more to drive the energy transition in our neighbouring continent especially. The UN Climate Change Conference in your country, President El-Sisi, is the perfect opportunity.

[Climate Club and climate financing]

Partnerships like the Just Energy Transition Partnerships make a very real contribution to driving forward the UN-led climate process and its goals.

This process remains crucial.

However, if we want to implement the Paris climate goals – and that has to be our goal – then we need new forms of cooperation alongside the Climate Change Conferences.

That is the idea behind an open and cooperative Climate Club. At the G7 Summit, we took steps towards establishing the Climate Club before the end of this year.

I believe an association of ambitious countries like this can have three goals.

Firstly, together we will accelerate the climate-neutral transformation of our industrial sectors.

We have not made enough progress here yet.

Because everyone is afraid that their companies will move to neighbouring countries with laxer rules.

We can only escape this dilemma by working together. By intensifying international cooperation on climate policy, creating international lead markets for climate-friendly technologies, and strengthening confidence in international climate policy coordination.

In this way, it’s worth noting, we will also avoid a global patchwork of tariffs and import duties, a jungle of varying standards and measuring methods, stringent and less stringent rules.

Secondly, the Climate Club will create new markets for climate-friendly products – such as green steel or green hydrogen.

Creating a level playing field boosts investment in new technologies. Putting a reliable, international framework like that in place for climate action is a key task for government.

Thirdly, we will bring together North and South, industrial countries, emerging economies and developing countries.

The Climate Club is open to everyone!

And to get as many on board as possible, we want to support those who – as things stand today – might otherwise not be able to become climate-neutral quite as quickly.

Paradoxically, there are often problems in exactly those places where solar and wind power would already be profitable, even without state support, thanks to the favourable geographical conditions. What’s lacking, though, is funding.

We need to enable financing options particularly for especially vulnerable countries and population groups.

We will therefore work with development banks and the financial sector to launch new investment.

As the G7, we are committed to the industrial countries’ goal of mobilising 100 billion dollars of climate finance as quickly as possible through to 2025.

Germany wants to help reach this goal by providing at least six billion euro a year by 2025 at the latest.

And I also want to reaffirm the industrial countries’ joint pledge to double our contribution to adaptation finance by 2025.

President El-Sisi,

We want to work with you to find practicable solutions to deal with loss and damage from climate change. This will be a major issue at the upcoming Climate Change Conference.

As the G7, we emphasised that we will not abandon affected citizens or states.

By the time of the Climate Change Conference, therefore, we want to establish a global shield against climate risks.


The fact that many technological solutions are available now makes me feel optimistic.

The priority now must be to put them into action around the world.

Because then, ladies and gentlemen, we will automatically do what I spoke about at the outset: link climate action and prosperity.

And we will be keeping that great promise that has forever ensured that humanity advances:

to give future generations a good life.

In a world worth living in.

Thank you very much.