Video Statement by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the opening of the “Transatlantic Climate Bridge Conference”

22.06.2021 - Speech

In less than five months, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for COP26.

For a long time, the prospect of transatlantic leadership at the conference seemed doubtful.

But since last November, that outlook has changed fundamentally:

Under President Biden, the United States has re-joined the Paris Agreement and made a comeback to international climate diplomacy.

All of us – the European Union, Germany, the United States, Canada – have raised our climate targets – including a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. And let me add: For us, this means by 2050 at the latest.

At last week’s G7, EU-US and EU-Canada summits, we laid the foundation for a new transatlantic climate partnership:

The G7 committed to keeping global temperature raise below 1.5 degrees, to ending coal and to increasing climate financing, with Germany lifting its contribution from four to six billion dollars in the coming years.

The European Union, Canada and the United States agreed to jointly address the risk of carbon leakage. And the United States and EU will set up a High-level Climate Action Group supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

In the remaining months before COP26, we will continue to rally other countries to raise their own commitments and contributions. And with the Paris rulebook, we will promote clear and transparent standards for their implementation.

But to really convince others, we need to show the world that the green transition is working in practice.

In this task, ladies and gentlemen, we will not succeed without you. Politics can create incentives and legal frameworks. But success in the fight against climate change will depend on civil society, academia, the private sector, cities and regions.

It was you who kept transatlantic climate cooperation alive after 2016.

And you have the crucial experience and power needed to change things on the ground:

Private companies and universities are driving innovation in sectors from e-mobility to renewable energy. And industries on both sides of the Atlantic are demonstrating how cutting emissions requires investment, but also reduces costs in the longer run.

Cities and regions are translating climate targets into action. Many of our mayors and governors are true transatlantic climate pioneers. The climate partnership between Dortmund, Pittsburgh and Vancouver is just one great example.

Trade unions and youth organizations are reminding us of the urgent need to build a just and inclusive transition for future generations.

All of this shows why the relaunch of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge is so important.

Together, we can make 2021 the transformative year for global climate policy that it needs to be.

So, thank you for your leadership and support in the past! And please continue to help us shape the future!


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