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Chancellor at the UN Climate Action Summit "We all have only one Earth"

International cooperation to tackle global warming and foster sustainable development – Chancellor Angela Merkel is in New York from 22 to 24 September, where she is attending the United Nations Climate Action Summit and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (SDG Summit). 

Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the UN.

Photo: Bundesregierung

At the UN Climate Action Summit Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed to the importance of international cooperation to mitigate climate change. "This is a global challenge that we can only master by working together," said the Chancellor. "We all have only one Earth." The UN Climate Action Summit is being hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York.

Discussion of climate action measures

Chancellor Angela Merkel reported to the heads of state and government in New York on the German government’s new Climate Action Programme 2030. "We will do our bit to ensure sustainable business and a sustainable lifestyle around the globe," said the Chancellor. Germany is to increase the financial assistance it provides for international climate action from two billion euros in 2014 to four billion euros. At national level, Germany has set itself the goal of cutting CO2 emissions by more than half of the 1990 levels by 2030, and to be climate-neutral by 2050. The Chancellor pointed to measures to expand the use of renewable energy, the phasing out of coal-fired power stations by 2038 at the latest, and the decision to extend CO2 pricing to the building and transport sectors as important steps towards achieving these goals.

Industrialised countries have a duty

"Overall we see ourselves and our country facing radical change. We need incentives to make sure everybody is on board," explained the Chancellor. Industrialised countries, she said, have a duty to use innovation, technology and cash to stop global warming.

The summit focused on discussions of measures to achieve the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change. The pledges made to date by states parties are not sufficient to achieve the objective of the agreement.

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 (COP21), 197 countries agreed on a legally binding global agreement on climate action for the first time. At the heart of the agreement is a worldwide action plan to tackle climate change that is intended to keep global warming significantly below a rise of two degrees Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial era. The goal is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and to be climate-neutral by 2050. The EU has submitted its climate targets as a contribution to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. These targets are thus binding.

Germany joins international alliance

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, who is also in New York, declared on the sidelines of the Climate Action Summit that Germany is to join the international Powering Past Coal Alliance which was founded within the framework of the UN Climate Change Conference held in Bonn in November 2017. Members to date number 80 national governments, as well as regions and private businesses. In its Climate Action Programme 2030 the German government commits to ending the use of coal as well as other climate action measures aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. These goals are underscored again by the decision to join the Alliance.

For sustainable development worldwide

On Tuesday 24 September, the Chancellor first attended the opening of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly. 

Angela Merkel will then speak at a meeting on global health issues. The meeting marks the presentation of an action plan designed to achieve the sustainable development goal on health and wellbeing. This SDG is one of the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the afternoon the Chancellor is to attend the United Nations SDG Summit. 

Bilateral talks

On the sidelines of the multilateral events, the Chancellor also held bilateral talks with a number of heads of state and government, including President Donald Trump and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.