Protecting the climate

Beach in the town of Elmina in Ghana

Background: Climate change – time to act

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 until 2016, described climate change as the biggest challenge in the history of the human race, because it "threatens life and our existence". This means, he says, that the world must take concerted action – and do so quickly and vigorously. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likewise warns that any delay in taking action to protect the climate will restrict subsequent options and drive up costs. In 2015 the international community created the political framework for this action by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. more

New climate action partnership

The Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was adopted earlier the same year form milestones in international climate and sustainability policy. For the first time, almost all the members of the United Nations have undertaken to make their own contributions to climate change mitigation in order to limit global warming to at most 2°C and, if possible, just 1.5°C. more

Energy and climate

More than two-thirds of harmful greenhouse gases are produced in the energy sector by activities such as transport, electricity generation, and heating and cooling for industrial and domestic purposes. This means that in the long term it will only be possible to keep global warming within the agreed limits by converting to low-carbon energy and improving energy efficiency. more

Cities and climate

Towns and cities drive global warming. They are already responsible for about 70 per cent of energy consumption and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Without a radical change of course, urban carbon emissions will only increase – not simply on account of urban population growth but also because of the higher concentration of activities that is typical of cities. Heavy traffic, widespread building construction and extensive urban sprawl, high energy needs and huge quantities of solid waste and sewage are all features of urban life. more

Water and climate

In water we see climate change in action. Whether drought or flood – both have adverse consequences for people and for nature. Yet water is essential for our existence and fundamental to all economic development. Above all, it is vital in agriculture, which is currently responsible for about 70 per cent of all water use. more

Agriculture and climate

Agriculture and climate change are connected in two important ways. Firstly, rural areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change: when water becomes scarcer, torrential rainfall becomes more frequent or crops fail to flourish under changed climatic conditions, this has repercussions on harvests and yields. Secondly, agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions – for example, when forests are cleared to create farmland. Agriculture is in fact by far the largest driver of deforestation. more

Forests and climate

Forests are veritable treasure troves of nature. They provide food, water, raw materials for building and other purposes, fuel and medicinal plants – as well as living space for millions of people. And they are home to about 75 per cent of all known plant and animal species. The 'lungs of the world', as forests are sometimes known, produce oxygen, bind carbon dioxide and thus have a major influence on the Earth’s climate. They store water and help regulate temperature and rainfall. In short, forests are vital to the survival of the human race. more

Climate risk management

Natural disasters, extreme weather and gradual changes such as the rise in sea level cause extensive damage every year. Between 1992 and 2014 these climate-related losses quadrupled to 100 billion US dollars annually. This sum does not include impacts that cannot be measured directly in economic terms, such as the loss of human lives or of cultural assets. Developing and newly industrialising countries are particularly exposed, because the climatic changes are threatening to nullify development progress. more

Climate finance: Germany, a responsible partner

Climate change is already posing a threat to the development of the poorest countries and will make it far more difficult to achieve progress in future. Climate action and development policy are therefore inextricably linked. This is why BMZ seeks to help developing and newly industrialising countries undertake measures that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promote adaptation to the consequences of climate change. more

Further information

The following list is a selection of documents und websites containing further information on the topic of combating climate change through development cooperation. more

BMZ glossary

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