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Minister Gerd Müller welcomes new EU climate targets and calls for greater global commitment


11.12.2020 |

On 12 December, the UN Secretary-General, the United Kingdom and France convened a high-level climate summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement and to mobilise support for ambitious climate action.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller said: "The 2015 Paris climate agreement was a major success. But only eight out of 193 countries are currently on course. Especially the G20 countries which together account for 80 per cent of global CO2 emissions need to do more. That is why I expressly welcome that the EU has ended a long, hard struggle with more ambitious climate goals for 2030. Only by setting ourselves such concrete milestones can we progress on our path towards climate neutrality. Otherwise we will lose the race against climate change. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have reached a new record high in 2020. The past five years have been the hottest on record; and the poorest countries are the ones that are hit hardest by heat waves, extreme drought or storms. According to UN estimates, 140 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050.

The new EU targets are also an important signal for the UN climate summit on Saturday: All countries need to step up their climate action. The Nationally Determined Contributions countries have put down so far are not enough to limit global warming to two degrees. We need additional global initiatives otherwise we may see an increase of as much as three degrees. China, Africa, Brazil, India – that is where the battle against climate change will be won or lost. In Africa, 600 million people do not have any 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. No amount of rigorous measures taken in Europe could ever save the extra CO2 this would generate.

That is why Brussels needs to include an Africa pillar in the EU Green Deal. In these times in particular, when global investment in climate action is at risk of shrinking because of the economic burden of the COVID-19 crisis. At the moment we are seeing more COVID-19 support funding going towards fossil fuels than towards renewables – that is the wrong direction! Recovery programmes need to be aimed at climate action right from the start. We need to understand much more that development is an investment in our own future."

Germany is one of the biggest donors in the context of international climate finance and is meeting its international climate financing commitments. As much as four billion euros was made available in 2019, doubling the volume committed since 2014. More than 80 per cent of Germany's annual contribution to international climate finance comes from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Just this week, the BMZ together with the World Bank launched a Green Recovery Initiative; this is enabling the Development Ministry to ensure that programmes directly benefit climate action, and are linked to the phasing out of subsidies for fossil fuels and improved conditions for renewable energy.

Through the Development and Climate Alliance the BMZ is promoting private investment in international climate action. The Alliance was founded in 2018 and already has more than 800 supporters. Many companies, associations and cities have joined the Alliance; private individuals can also become climate-neutral through the Alliance while promoting sustainable climate-friendly development worldwide. In 2019 alone more than 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 were thus offset. This is the equivalent of the annual emissions of 300,000 people.

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