Speech by Minister of State Maria Böhmer at the briefing prior to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22)

27.09.2016 - Speech

Minister of State Schwarzelühr-Sutter,
Ambassador Zniber,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the Federal Foreign Office for this exchange of views in the run-up to the 22nd Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.

In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development last year, the international community entered into a contract for our global future. As Foreign Minister Steinmeier put it recently, the goals set out in that agenda have become something of a foreign policy benchmark – a benchmark against which to measure whether we are using the means at our disposal, as a not exactly small economy at the heart of Europe, to help make the world a fairer and more humane place. What we do to protect the climate is part of that; that is Goal 13 in the 2030 Agenda.

In Paris last year, the international community paved the way for the first ever globally binding climate change agreement: a milestone. Now, at COP 22, we are talking about implementing that agreement in concrete terms. If we are to achieve the goals set in Paris and in the 2030 Agenda together, we need a global transformation – and we need to treat sustainable development and climate protection as two sides of the same coin across all sectors.

We are here today – with the German Climate Consortium, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and all of you – to discuss the challenges and opportunities connected with that.

A lot is expected of the first Climate Change Conference since the success of Paris. I am therefore glad that the Presidency of COP 22 lies with Morocco, a country that intends to maintain the spirit of Paris, and that you, Ambassador Zniber, are with us here today.

Our Governments are cooperating closely and harmoniously on the preparations. We want to use the momentum of Paris to invigorate implementation of the agreement. “Action and implementation” is the motto in Marrakech.

As our Federal Chancellor already said at the 7th Petersberg Climate Dialogue in early July, the Paris Agreement has put us in “a new era”. The foundations of global change were laid in Paris, and the process of ratifying the agreement has begun.

Like other countries, Germany has completed its national ratification process, with the Bundesrat granting its approval last Friday.

The two largest polluters, the USA and China, also recently ratified the Paris Agreement, which means its entry into force is now within reach.

We agreed on three main aims in Paris:

To limit global warming to an increase of, if possible, 1.5 degrees, to foster countries’ climate resilience, and to make finance flows consistent with the climate change goals.

If these ambitious goals are to be achieved, all countries will need to combine long-term strategies with swift realisation of their specific national contributions. Morocco has recognised this need and is setting a good example with its development of solar power plants and wind farms. Morocco intends to cover 42% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 – and even 52% by 2030.

We in Germany want to lead by example too and are working hard on implementing our climate and sustainability goals. That is why the German Government intends to adopt our 2050 Climate Action Plan before the year is out. The plan is being drawn up by means of a broad-based dialogue process within the Federal Government, led by the Environment Ministry – and, in that context, I am delighted that my counterpart from that ministry, Minister of State Schwarzelühr-Sutter, is here today.

Implementing this agreement is an immense task. We can only manage it if industrialised and developing countries pull together. That is why Germany set up the global NDC partnership to support developing countries in implementing their national climate strategies. You will hear more about that in the course of the morning.

Especially in developing countries, the fight against climate change brings opportunities with it: opportunities for economic growth and jobs. I’m talking particularly about technology transfer and innovation. There is a lot we can do in these areas. Germany’s transformation of its energy system is attracting a lot of interest internationally. In Germany alone, we already have around two million jobs related to the protection of the climate and the environment. Climate protection is a driver of growth and innovation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can be sure that public funds alone will not be enough to bring about the global transformation. It will require capital to be redirected and mobilised for climate-friendly and sustainable investment. What messages and incentives should we therefore be giving the private sector? That’s another of the points we will be discussing today.

Even the largest polluters have recognised that we can only achieve the Paris goals by pulling together. The United States is sending a message, planning to source half of its electricity demand from sources other that fossil fuels by 2025. China looks likely to more than meet its national climate change targets and has placed emphasis during its Presidency of the G20 on the key topics of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. We will pick up that baton when Germany assumes the G20 Presidency next year. By working to see the Paris Agreement be implemented ambitiously, consistently and swiftly, the G20 can act as a pioneering force and send a strong message in favour of climate protection.

The road to a carbon-neutral future is not an easy one. We must all therefore stand up and take on the challenges facing us post-Paris. We jointly made obligations that we now need to meet. We must draw up strategies that we then continuously develop and adapt. Scientists, NGOs, businesses, towns and cities, civil society – all stakeholders must be involved.

Every time I visit my constituency, I see a concrete example of that taking shape. The city of Ludwigshafen, with its own climate change bureau, has joined forces with a research institution to draw up its 2020 climate protection strategy. All the relevant groups play a part in it. Households, businesses and the public sector are working together to steadily reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Ludwigshafen is also a member of the Climate Alliance, Europe’s largest network of cities dedicated to protecting the climate.

This is an encouraging example, as it is only by all pulling together that we will find answers to the crucial questions:

How can we wean ourselves off fossil fuels worldwide? How can we adapt to the effects of climate change? How can we achieve greenhouse-gas neutrality?

What we need are concrete proposals, and they are extremely welcome in today’s discussion.

The Paris Agreement has started us on the road to climate-friendly and sustainable development. We, the international community, need to walk that road together. Only our joint efforts will enable us to leave a liveable planet behind us for future generations.

The chance to create a better world is in our hands – so let’s get on with it!Thank you very much!

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