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  • Speech by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks to open the 7th Petersberg Climate Dialogue

Speech by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks to open the 7th Petersberg Climate Dialogue

04.07.2016 | International Environmental Policy

New partnership aims to help developing countries implement the Paris Agreement

German Ministry for the Environment and Building and German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development present their initiative at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue

2016 is "Year One" after Paris. We have the ambitious climate agreement that we worked so hard and long to achieve.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

A warm welcome to you all here at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. I am delighted to open what is now the seventh meeting of this dialogue. We have been meeting in this form since 2010, and in the meantime this event has become a symbol of open and constructive dialogue. We want to continue this over the next two days.

2016 is "Year One" after Paris. We have the ambitious climate agreement that we worked so hard and long to achieve. We can be proud of the fact that the countries of the world were able to look beyond all borders and differences and agree on a common project.

And what a project! We have committed ourselves to protecting our citizens from climate change becoming totally uncontrollable. We have clearly rejected business as usual because we know that this path would only lead to endless suffering and astronomical costs.

Instead we have decided to take control and shape our own destinies. The task we have set ourselves is nothing less than a global transformation to greenhouse gas-neutral lifestyles and economic practices. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are our guides and at the same time are our assurance that we will tackle this challenge together and will support each other in the process.

And we can already see that countries all over the world are addressing the challenge. A few examples: India has set new benchmarks with its targets for the expansion of renewable energies. China is likely to exceed its targets. Countries like Ethiopia and Morocco are leading the way in their regions with ambitious plans and measures. We are also hearing about interesting plans in major oil-producing countries. For example, Norway is considering becoming greenhouse gas-neutral by the year 2030 - 20 years earlier than previously planned. Even countries like Saudi Arabia are thinking about reforms to become less dependent on oil. The three countries of North America have set themselves the goal of generating half their electricity from non-fossil sources by the year 2025. Additionally, the G7 countries will present their climate action strategies well before 2020 - some by the end of this year. These strategies will cover the period up to 2050. We know that the sum total of these measures will not be enough - but they are an encouraging sign!

Ladies and gentlemen,

I can assure you that Germany will continue to push for ambitious climate action - nationally and internationally. We will continue to live up to our responsibility and will support developing countries in implementing their nationally determined contributions and in adapting to climate change. To achieve this we are aiming to double our climate finance by 2020.

My ministry also intends to set up an NDC partnership, together with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and partner countries, to support implementation of the contributions announced in Paris. We will hear more about that this evening.

We also believe that the further development and implementation of voluntary nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) is an important contribution to implementing the NDCs. The fourth round of project bids for the NAMA programme was launched today. I am certain that once again a large number of projects eligible for support will be submitted. My ministry and the UK government have earmarked up to 60 million euros for this.

We are also doing our bit nationally. This autumn we will adopt the Climate Action Plan 2050, setting out how we plan to achieve an 80 to 95 percent reduction in greenhouse gases in Germany. This will provide orientation for strategic measures in all sectors and security for investors. Of course it is also a question of a step-by-step phase-out of coal, oil and gas. We are striving to shape structural change in a way that prevents structural upheavals.

However, I can also tell you that the Climate Action Plan is by no means free of conflict. We have a lot of convincing to do - for example in the transport sector and in the agricultural sector - about the necessity of complying with the plan’s targets and timetable. That is crucial to success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We need to continue our close, high-level political exchange. The reason for this is the task facing us, which we have made the focal point of this year’s Climate Dialogue: “Making the Paris Agreement a reality”. This task has a number of different facets that we will discuss today and tomorrow.

We want to facilitate a swift entry into force of the agreement to ensure it can take legal effect. Making the Paris Agreement a reality also means that we want to specify the rules and details under the UNFCCC that are needed to ensure that the Paris Agreement can be fully functional. We have to stand by the pledges we have made in our nationally determined contributions. It is now time to implement them.

And we have to think about how we can enhance the ambition of our contributions. We have a mechanism for this in the new agreement. We have to set this process in motion.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Climate action is already a driving force for growth that brings us jobs and can secure them for decades to come. Think of the many new technologies, production processes and infrastructures. In Germany we already have more than two million people employed in the environmental sector alone. We have successfully decoupled growth from emissions. Emissions fell by 27 percent between 1990 and 2014, while the economy grew by 39 percent in the same period. We want and have to continue along this path in a resolute way.

In the financial sector, for example, we are seeing an increasing number of stakeholders shifting their investments away from fossil energy sources and towards renewable energies - including major sovereign wealth funds, insurances and private foundations. At this Climate Dialogue we also want to talk about how to establish the right framework for creating investment security for climate-friendly investments.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the next two days we will address the issue of implementing the Paris Agreement in different sessions, with our focus on the next COP in Marrakesh. The future COP president Minister Mezouar and Federal Chancellor Merkel will address us at the end of our meeting. I look forward to interesting and fruitful discussions.

I would be delighted if we could use our time to hold a detailed exchange of views, to learn from one another and to have open-minded discussions on how to tackle the challenges I have referred to.

First of all I would like to ask Minister Hakima El Haite to say a few words on behalf of the future presidency and Minister Ségolène Royal as the current COP president.

Thank you.

06.07.2016 | Speech International Environmental Policy | Berlin