Climate Change and Extractives

Climate Change – Extractive Industries – Resource Efficiency @COP23

23.11.2017 |

After thousands of protesters had already called for the withdrawal of fossil fuels such as coal on the weekend before the United Nations Climate Change Conference ("Leave it in the ground"), the event during COP23 on November 8th dealt with the role of the extractive sector in the struggle against climate change and its consequences for resource-endowed partner countries. Dr. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Sub-Division Head "Environment and Infrastructure" at the BMZ, opened the event "Climate Change - Extractive Industries - Resource Efficiency @ COP23". For the first time in Germany, an international audience of nearly 100 representatives from business, science and civil society debated on this topic. Several hundred more interested people participated virtually. The event was organized by the Sector Programme Extractives and Development on behalf of BMZ and BMUB.

In her keynote address at the opening of the event, Dr. Rödiger-Vorwerk stressed the close link between climate and development policy in the extractive sector. Not only is the sector responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the fossil fuel sector, but it is also essential for providing raw materials for green technologies. Besides major challenges, there are also many opportunities for adaptation and reform for development cooperation. Dr. Rödiger-Vorwerk therefore underlined BMZ's willingness to expand its ongoing support for resource-rich partner countries in the future, especially with regard to climate and energy issues.

In the subsequent international and high-profile podium issues of rising raw material requirements for environmentally friendly technologies such as renewable energies and electro-mobility were discussed intensively and attracted considerable interest. Kirsten Hund, Senior Mining Expert at the World Bank, made it clear that partner countries had to prepare well for the next boom. Panelists and participants agreed that it was not an option to stop mining metals and minerals in countries with weaker government structures. Rather, development policy efforts should be undertaken, e.g. as part of multi-stakeholder dialogues, to find sustainable solutions for the raw materials sector in developing countries. The debate also highlighted the dangers that developing countries could face by eliminating revenues from the export of oil, gas and coal. Stephan Wolters of adelphi Research presented the discussion paper From Riches to Rags?, which was published by the Sector Programme Extractives and Development. He warned about the consequences of Stranded Assets for resource-endowed partner countries on their energy security, the devaluation of public investment and their political stability. Panelists and the audience therefore emphasized the need to integrate raw materials issues into climate and environmental policy. For this purpose the commodities sector could be integrated in national climate strategies, such as the NDCs.

To conclude, participants pointed to the need for a clear legal framework at the national and international level that would enable the private sector to adapt to environmentally friendly and non-polluting green energy technologies during its transformation. The objective of the Sector Programme Extractives and Development is to support these developments in partner countries.

A documentation of the event with a short summary, the presentations of the speakers and some photos can be found on the event website. Please feel free to contact Tim Schlösser for questions or comments.

Graphical documentation of the event

BMZ glossary

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