22.04.2016

Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks signs Paris Agreement

Logo of signing ceremony

Official logo of the signing ceremony. Photo: UN

Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks attended the ceremony of the United Nations in New York this Friday to sign the Paris Agreement. This makes Germany one of the first signatory states of the Climate Treaty that was agreed upon by all countries of the world.

Hendricks: ‘The spirit of Paris is alive. Never before in the history of the United Nations has an agreement been signed by so many countries this quickly. This shows that the world has understood the importance of ambitious climate protection. Now it is important to fill the agreement with life. This is why we are working on our climate change strategy that will lead the way to a largely greenhouse gas neutral Germany in 2050. Since Paris it is clear that the world is following this path. I want to play my part to strengthen Germany’s role as pioneer.‘

By signing, countries signal their agreement to the contents of the treaty. The next step is the ratification on the national level which requires in many countries - including Germany - the consent of the national parliament. The Paris Agreement will enter into force if at least 55 countries that emit at least 55 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified it.

The Paris Agreement sets the internationally binding target to significantly limit the global warming below 2 degrees, preferably even to below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. Greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved in the second half of the century. Reaching these targets, a global energy transition is in need. In addition, global financial flows should be aligned to the goal of this climate-friendly development.
Germany and the EU plan to ratify the treaty as soon as possible. EU States can only ratify together. In the first instance, the internal distribution of the climate targets between EU member states needs to be clarified. The EU Commission is working on a proposal that is expected to be released this summer.

In time for the signing ceremony, the official German translation of the Agreement was published. The translation of the text has been coordinated by the German federal government with the German-speaking countries Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein, as well as with the European Commission. It will be published on the BMUB website.