War is raging at the heart of Europe. For 21 months now, Russia has been inflicting violence and suffering on the people in Ukraine.
In the Middle East, the most brutal scenes of terror are unfolding. I don’t expect anyone here will ever forget the videos of what Hamas has done to Israel and its people.
In the Gaza Strip, people, families and children are living in the most horrific need, in fear and violence.
At this time, the crises around us sometimes just seem like “too much”.
In this situation, one crisis is fading somewhat into the background. Compared to the acute crises which quite rightly demand our full attention, it sometimes seems to be less sizeable. More quiet. But then it strikes time and again ever more relentlessly.
Let us look at what has happened in the last few months.
In Libya. Where entire neighbourhoods were washed into the sea in September.
In Rhodes where people, including German tourists, had to be saved by boat from infernos in the summer.
In the Amazon rainforest, the green lung of our Earth, where forest fires are currently reaching record levels.
This is a 1.1 degree, a 1.2 degree world.
Since the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris eight years ago, we have made progress. Back then we were on a 4 degree track. Now we are on a 2.5 to 2.9 degree track.
We need to get off this track. The good thing is that today every last person on Earth – although, it seems not everyone here unfortunately – has recognised that things cannot go on like this. However, we now need to move from this shift in mindset to a gear shift for urgency in our actions.
That is why at this COP in Dubai, there are three concrete targets that are so important to us.
We are working hard to, firstly, bring about a tripling of renewable energies by 2030. Secondly, to double energy efficiency. And thirdly, most importantly of all because not everyone is prepared to do so: we also need to put in writing the joint phase-out of fossil fuels, particularly in the energy sector first of all.
This will be anything but easy because in these negotiations, as we saw above all last year, it is not just about climate policy but for many also about exploiting economic dominance – or using dependencies for geostrategic ends through the targeted granting of loans.
If we want to convince others that we are serious against a backdrop which this year has an even stronger geopolitical stamp, then they need to be able to rely on us.
Trust, and I am not just talking about the climate crisis, is at this time more important than ever in international relations.
That is why it is so important that we live up to our international responsibility. That is why we made so plain, going against some of our friends last year, that we finally need the loss and damage fund. This was not least a geopolitical decision taken by me, my Ministry and the Federal Government, one that we are now implementing. At this time, this was anything but a foregone conclusion.
Thus I would like to thank all those with whom we have been able to move forward here, particularly the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development but also our international partners.
It is important to note, as we made clear on the very first day of the COP, that we are talking here about all countries – for me that was the crux of the matter – not just about industrialised countries. That is why together we pledged 100 million dollars for the loss and damage fund yesterday, thus creating the first piece of good news from this Climate Change Conference. And we did not just do this independently as the Federal Republic of Germany but together with the United Arab Emirates. That, too, is what geopolitics is about in today's world.
We are also living up to our responsibility by making available 6 billion euro for climate finance for the first time in 2022. And yes, these pledges stand despite our difficult budget situation. The same holds true for the 2 billion euro for the Green Climate Fund.
After all, responsibility means reliability. Particularly at this time, it's not just about climate policy – for those who don't take climate action all too seriously – but also about economic policy and geopolitics.
That is why it is also so important at our Climate Change Conference in Dubai – not in Doha in case some people here are getting mixed up – that it is not just the Foreign Minister working as chief negotiator on the ground. Not just the Development Minister, not just the Environment Minister, not just the Agriculture Minister but also the Federal Chancellor and the Economics Minister. Just in case anyone has any questions about the size of the delegation.
It goes without saying that we need to be there for two weeks when the focus is on climate action, on agriculture, on species conservation, on geopolitics, on economic interests. Because the others would still be there, even if we weren’t.
So I would like to thank Team Germany for what we are making plain at this COP. It is not just that we need to pool our efforts to bring about a gear shift for urgency on climate action. In fact, climate action now equates to safeguarding our country as a location – particularly in these turbulent times.