Political will for climate action is greater than ever

From l to r: François Hollande, president france and Dr. Barbara Hendricks Federal Environment Minister

From l to r: François Hollande, president france and Dr. Barbara Hendricks Federal Environment Minister / Photo: BMUB/Adam Berry

At the close of the sixth Petersberg Climate Dialogue Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius see the outcome as positive. In their view, the international community could adopt an ambitious and durable climate agreement at the end of this year, as the political will to deliver such an agreement is greater than ever before. They stressed that decisions must now be reached as quickly as possible.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks: "The international community has learnt from the experience of Copenhagen in 2009 and we are now significantly better placed for a successful outcome in Paris. We know that we cannot resolve all issues in the last night of the COP. That is why we need to clarify as many questions as possible as early as possible. We need a basis for political decisions by October. In combating climate change, we have no time to lose."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: "A success in Paris depends on all of us. I am encouraged by the collective willingness that I sensed here in Berlin to get results. We are not there yet. From now on every meeting must have a clear outcome and send a signal that we are moving forward. I will convene a ministerial meeting mid-July in Paris to take stock of the results of the next negotiation round in Bonn next June."

Under the co-chair of Barbara Hendricks and Laurent Fabius – President of the next UN climate summit in Paris (COP 21) – 36 countries from all over the world discussed approaches for accelerating progress in international climate negotiations. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande also gave keynote speeches.

Hendricks expressed how impressed she was that many countries – including poorer developing countries – were working very intensively on their own ambitious climate targets. "It is now vital that all other major emitters also submit ambitious national contributions as quickly as possible," said the Minister. At the Petersberg Climate Dialogue Hendricks advocated a climate agreement which incorporates a long-term goal as well as medium-term contributions. "In order to hold temperature increase below two degrees we need a climate-neutral global economy in the second half of this century. We should combine this long-term goal with a mechanism enabling countries to regularly scale up their contributions after Paris as well."

Fabius outlined the four pillars of the Paris Alliance, the first being the agreement which, he said, must be built to last. He then referred to the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) of individual countries, noting that these contributions had to be published well before Paris. Given the possible gap between the aggregated impact of INDCs and the 1,5 or 2°C ceiling, he underlined the need to include in the agreement a mechanism to increase ambition over time. The third pillar consists of increased public and private climate finance for mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries, including for short term action on disaster risk reduction, in particular for small island states, and clean energies, notably for Africa. The Minister described the fourth pillar as an action agenda to advance a range of new initiatives from non-state actors, including civil society, business and local government.