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German Chancellor is determined to fight climate change

20.11.2017 - Press release

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, pointing out Europe’s responsibility to fight global warming, and encouraged international participation and cooperation.

"Our common message is that we want to protect our planet," declared Chancellor Angela Merkel at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

With Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Emmanuel Macron she called for resolute action.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at COP23
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at COP23© dpa

"We need appropriate regulations. It is a question of trust and reliability," said Chancellor Merkel.

"We in Europe are aware of our responsibility. We are facing a central challenge, if not the central challenge, for humanity."

Europe accepts its responsibility

"Climate change will determine the fate of our world," the Chancellor continued. The "wellbeing of every one of us" will depend on the climate.

Europe accepts its responsibility, said Merkel. "The European target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 40 percent of the 1990 levels by 2030 is legally binding within the European Union," declared the Chancellor.

"Every EU member state must do its bit." In this context the Chancellor pointed to last week’s decision to remove a number of certificates from the emissions trading system.

In this way the price can become an effective signal, thus encouraging emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate action plan lays out Germany’s targets

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at COP23
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at COP23© Bundesregierung/Kugler

"The Climate Action Plan 2050 lays out Germany’s long-term and medium-term strategy," said the Chancellor.

By the middle of this century, Germany aims to be largely greenhouse gas neutral, and save 80-95 percent of CO2 emissions. Merkel stressed that the next step will be to fill out this strategy with specific measures.

Germany’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of the 1990 level by 2020 is ambitious, stressed the Chancellor.

"Now, at the end of 2017, we can see that we still have a good way to go," she admitted. Coal in particular – and lignite – must make a significant contribution to achieving these goals, she said.

Precisely how this will be done must still be clarified.

Climate policy is economic policy

"This year, we adopted the G20 action plan on climate and energy for more sustainable economic growth under our G20 Presidency."

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) too has made it clear what is at stake. "We will only be able to preserve our prosperity in future if we make extensive investments climate-friendly," said the Chancellor.

"That is why we are convinced that climate policy is also economic policy for the future. We must preserve the natural resource base on which life depends if we are to continue successfully with business."

Renewable energy for growth

Wind turbines in Germany
Wind turbines in Germany© picture alliance

"If we do it right, the transformation offers great opportunities for growth. Renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies that use fewer resources and save costs, climate-sound innovation in building technology and in the traffic and transport sector – all this and more will become increasingly important on markets worldwide."

In Germany, renewables are the strongest pillar in the country’s energy supply mix.

Doubling climate finance by 2020

"That is why Germany and the other industrialised countries stand by their pledge to provide 100 billion US dollars every year from public and private sources as of 2020 to support developing countries," said the Chancellor.

"And that is why we in Germany plan to double climate funding by 2020." Private-sector investment is also need here though. "We must all pull together to put in place an enabling environment that will allow us to mobilise private capital for climate finance."

Looking ahead to Paris in December

There will be a summit about climate finance in Paris this December
There will be a summit about climate finance in Paris this December© Colourbox

The development banks and the World Bank play an important part in this, Merkel continued.

"We should all strengthen this part. I can only welcome the fact that President Emmanuel Macron, the UN Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank will be hosting a summit that is to focus on climate finance in Paris on December 12."

Financial support for developing countries

In 2016 Germany provided a sum of 1.4 billion Euro to support developing countries. To this sum must be added another 100 million Euros this year for the Adaptation Fund.

A global partnership for climate risk insurance in developing countries has now been founded with the World Bank, as a joint initiative of the G20 and the countries affected by climate change.

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