"Everyone has a responsibility"

Climate change mitigation "Everyone has a responsibility"

Speaking at the Fifth Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a greater commitment to climate change mitigation. "A U-turn is needed – worldwide," she said in Berlin. It is important to provide for a wide spectrum of commitments, she added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

"A U-turn is needed - worldwide"

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

"Speaking for Germany, I can assure you that we accept our responsibility," declared Angela Merkel in Berlin. She pledged 750 million euros in the fight againstclimate change. Germany will contribute this sum for the initial resource mobilization of the Green Climate Fund – in addition to the 3.2 billion euros it has already contributed to climate efforts in recent years.

From 2020, a total of up to 100 billion US dollars a year is to be mobilised for climate-friendly economic activities, such as expanding the use of renewable energy. The state’s share of payments to the Green Climate Fund is to be 10 billion US dollars. Angela Merkel expressed her hope that other states would also make substantial contributions.

U-turn needed - worldwide

In view of the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conferences, the Chancellor called on participating states to act. "A U-turn is needed – worldwide," she declared. The negotiations in 2014 and 2015 are "critically important" in the fight against climate change, she said. "Every country must now show its true colours," demanded Angela Merkel at the fifth Petersberg Climate Dialog.

The 2015 agreement is to contain commitments for the reduction of CO2 emissions for the first time ever, for both industrialised countries and emerging and developing nations. In line with the roadmap agreed at international level, participants should until the first quarter of 2015 to communicate their own contributions. Angela Merkel said that there are already "encouraging signs" in this respect. She pointed out that China, for instance, intends to specify its targets by then.

Germany and Europe as trailblazers

Europe will be making an "ambitious contribution" to the forthcoming negotiations, stressed Angela Merkel. Germany alone aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. Achieving this target still calls for "massive efforts" though, she admitted. She called for a reform of emissions trading, which is a key element of Europe’s climate change efforts.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks declared that pledges to date will not be adequate "to achieve our common goal of keeping global warming down to under two degrees Celsius". For many regions and the people who live there any failure on the part of the global community to agree on climate change mitigation action would be nothing short of a disaster, she added. "That is why, by this November, we will elaborate a Climate Action Programme 2020."

Setting the scene

The Climate Dialogue is "an interesting way of bringing together the representatives of participating countries, who can set the scene in crucial ways for the international climate agreement," said Angela Merkel in her most recent video message. "We know that a climate agreement must be signed by all member states of the United Nations. The aim now, is to organise preliminary discussions in smaller groups, to set the scene, and to make statements," she underlined.

An important element of the Climate Dialogue is to help prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, at which the international climate agreement is to be adopted.

Ambitious international climate policy is a top political priority for the German government. The Chancellor is personally committed to this too. Following the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, Angela Merkel initiated the Petersberg Climate Dialogue – an informal conference which prepares the ground for the annual UN Climate Change Conference. The Climate Dialogue is always hosted jointly by Germany and the country in which the next UN Climate Change Conference is to be held. This year, Peru is joint host. At the end of the year it will be hosting the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Lima.