Climate change and development Protect the climate, halt global warming

In order to stop climate change and ensure that its already unavoidable impacts can be mitigated, the international community has agreed to achieve a carbon-neutral lifestyle and economy worldwide by mid-century. To that end, emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide must be rapidly and drastically reduced (decarbonisation). Improved protection must be provided for natural carbon sinks such as oceans, soils and forests.

Glacier in Iceland

In the past, developing countries and emerging economies contributed least to climate change. It is a different situation nowadays, however: the emerging economies are responsible for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions – on an upward trajectory. Global warming can therefore only be stopped if the emerging economies – as well as the industrialised countries – substantially reduce their emissions and the developing countries pursue a carbon-neutral pathway towards economic and social development.

Germany recognises that for many developing countries and emerging economies, cutting emissions is beset with challenges, such as reconciling economic growth with a low-carbon transition.


BMZ activities

Germany’s development policy engagement for global emissions reductions includes activities undertaken through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation.

The initiatives and action areas cover a broad spectrum:

  • Climate and development partnerships: Targeted cooperation with selected partner countries, linking the goals of climate neutrality, climate resilience, economic development and social justice
  • NDC Partnership: Assisting developing countries and emerging economies to fulfil their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the global 1.5 degrees Celsius target while safeguarding development for local communities in line with the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Climate finance: Ensuring that funds are available for climate action, e.g. for bilateral cooperation with developing countries and emerging economies, or are provided via multilateral climate funds and development banks
  • Cooperation with non-governmental organisations: Mobilising private funding for climate change mitigation, supporting economic and technological progress in developing countries, e.g. through the Foundation Development and Climate Alliance (External link), promoting climate action by civil society, with a focus on inclusion of vulnerable groups

To this end, the BMZ is engaged inter alia in the following sectors:

  • Energy: Promoting renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency, ensuring an equitable exit from fossil fuels, safeguarding needs-based access to carbon-neutral energy worldwide, establishing production facilities for green hydrogen and its derivatives
  • Forests: Reducing deforestation and forest degradation, e.g. through the REDD mechanism, promoting reforestation, establishing deforestation-free supply chains
  • Biodiversity: Preserving and restoring ecosystems such as forests, oceans and wetlands as natural greenhouse gas sinks
  • Agricultural and food systems: Promoting sustainable use of soils and agroecology, increasing water and energy efficiency, reducing food losses, promoting sustainability standards for low-carbon supply chains
  • Urban development: Establishing and expanding sustainable, carbon-neutral urban infrastructures, promoting low-carbon mobility
  • Waste management: Eco-friendly waste management, expanding recycling of materials, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the waste sector, energy recovery from waste, promoting the circular economy

Effects of mitigation measures

Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions not only have a positive impact on the climate: bold climate action could deliver 26 trillion US dollars in direct economic benefits worldwide by 2030 and create more than 65 million new jobs.

It would also save countless lives, for climate change poses a major threat to human health and wellbeing. Among other things, climate change mitigation reduces air pollution – currently the cause of seven million premature deaths a year.

As at: 20/10/2022