Coronavirus pandemic

Development Minister Müller commenting on the Petersberg Climate Dialogue: "The EU needs to look beyond its own borders as far as fighting coronavirus and climate change goes"

German Development Minister Gerd Müller visits the solar power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco

28.04.2020 |

Today, at the 11th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, politicians from more than 30 countries are considering what can be done to halt climate change. The central focus of their discussions this time is how climate goals can be achieved in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has this to say: "The coronavirus pandemic is making it very clear to us that we should not be returning to the normality of globalisation. We must shape globalisation to make it fair and we must find a new way of interacting with one another and with nature. The fact that the coronavirus was able to jump from animals to humans is also down to the way we interact with nature.

Europe now needs to step up resolutely and take its place in the front line of the global efforts to stop the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis. This is not the time for Europe to be looking inward.

In addition to its rescue package, the EU should also expand its Green Deal for climate protection to cover its European neighbours and African countries as well. The EU also needs to set up an ambitious investment and innovation package for the expansion of renewable energies in Africa. There needs to be a move away from coal towards clean energies of the future like "green" hydrogen and synthetic fuels, the kind of technologies that we have been developing this year in Morocco.

It is Africa where the future of the climate will be decided: 600 million people in Africa still have no access to electricity. If every person were to get one electric socket using energy generated from coal then it would be necessary to build hundreds of new coal-fired power stations. We are never going to achieve our climate goals that way. Europe's response has to be an energy and climate partnership with an investment drive for Africa. Because Europe needs more clean energy and Africa has sun, it has hydropower and it has lots of motivated, young people.

This is also in our own interests: we will strengthen German leadership in the technological field and will help to achieve international climate goals much more effectively. At the same time we will create the jobs that are urgently needed in Africa for its many young people.

I hope that we can manage during the German EU Presidency, which starts in July, to direct the EU budget for the next few years towards such investments of the future. Because that is the future: using Africa's sun to make green energy. For the people there and for us here in Europe.

Hence, the German Development Ministry will set up a market entry programme for renewable energies this year – together with the African Development Bank. Our intention is that it will be made easier for German and African SMEs in particular to access funding for the technologies of the future in Africa."

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