Statement by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks on the outcome of the G20 summit

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has given a positive assessment in a statement at the end of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

The G20 summit was a great success for environmental protection. In view of the huge challenges the international community is facing, cooperation among the key developed countries and emerging economies meeting as the G20 is more important than ever. This is particularly true regarding environmental issues, especially climate action. Together, the G20 countries are responsible for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That in itself is a clear sign that the joint efforts of these countries are essential in the fight against climate change.

It is important that the heads of state and government themselves address these issues that are so crucial to the future of our planet. Numerous expert meetings were held in the run-up to the summit in Hamburg, which already enhanced cooperation. For the first time we established a joint energy and climate working group, which drew up the G20 Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth. This is an important process for identifying key areas of action for greater cooperation. In my view it is extremely significant that the G20 countries have agreed to present long-term climate action strategies by 2020. Setting the focus on the middle of the century is important as it places countries on a climate-friendly path in good time.

I am very pleased that it was possible to address the issue of climate action in the Leaders' Declaration by all G20 countries. The US presented its deviating position in a separate paragraph. It wants to promote the "clean" use of its fossil fuels both at home and in other countries. That is, of course, the US administration's prerogative, even though I personally think that the path US energy and climate policy is following is a mistake. In fact, the announcement by President Trump of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has actually brought the rest of the world closer together when it comes to climate action. Even despite the fact that for countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, it is undoubtedly a particularly huge challenge to make their economies climate-friendly.

The statement by the Turkish President following the summit regarding his country's intention not to ratify the Paris Agreement has a completely different character to the US rejection of the Agreement. In the case of Turkey it is a question of whether it is considered a developed or developing country in the international climate regime. One motive behind this is access to international financing mechanisms. This problem already existed before the conclusion of negotiations in Paris, and it was clear that Turkey will not ratify the agreement until its country status has been clarified. Germany acted as mediator during negotiations on this in Paris and will continue to do so.

In addition to climate action, the G20 summit in Hamburg also had a greater focus on environmental issues than previous summits. The G20 countries agreed to enhanced cooperation on resource efficiency, tackling marine litter and combatting illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.

09.07.2017 | Report International Environmental Policy