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Some perspectives from Germany’s position on Cop-15

12/18/09
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We are now in a time when the world wants and needs a global deal in Copenhagen that is ambitious and fair. The global deal is necessary because climate change is not just a planetary emergency but a human emergency. As the largest two emitters, U.S. and China has been baring the critiques from the rest of the world for quite a while. Germany, considering itself the pioneer of climate protection in the worldwide action for climate change.

Germany’s Environment Minister addresses the UN Climate Change Conference, saying that Germany does the most to fight global warming. The experience in Bella Center and in Crown Plaza let me notice German’s confidence in itself regarding to its efforts and leading role in environmental protection action. German leaders point out that Germany set a good example of what may come to other nations. Many Climate Policy instruments like the cap-and-trade mechanism and the ecological fuel tax are already in practice; as a result, they believe that Germany has set a good example of what may come to the rest of the world.

As we may be sure about, climate change could lead to a 4 degree average rise in global temperature which indicates serious consequences for human life. It could mean that 4 billion people would suffer from severe water shortages in 2080. It could result in mass migration of 150 to 200 million people. It could worsen pre-existing problem like in the Middle East where currently 5% of the world’s population is drawing on only 1% of the world’s water. It could invoke region conflicts following unbalanced energy resource’s distribution and unpredictable influenza.

Therefore, there’s no time for talk but action, and only action. However, Obama’s speech in Bella Center frustrated the world. Being both further developed countries, Germany and U.S. are regarded two extremes. What does U.S. hesitate about? Germany is committed to reduce average greenhouse gas emissions from 2008-2012 by 21% based on year 1990. Soon after, Germany has already achieved its Kyoto-targets three years in advance by 23.3 %. This stimulate the development of green high technology in Germany with a lot of jobs and economic benefits.  For the scenario that a global climate treaty to limit and cut CO2 emissions can be achieved, it would look good for the German economy.

Those developed countries which are stingy about giving CO2 emission targets should not have worried that much. There are many companies offering energy efficient solutions, alternative energy and other green products. A global deal in Copenhagen would mean global demand for these products and services, increasing foreign investment. Consequently, additional revenues and jobs would be created in Germany.

When being questioned about Germany’s efforts of climate protection, German’s environmental minister showed his resolution that Germany is much ahead of the rest of the world in working on climate protection; Germans are ambitious and pragmatic so that they think that they have done much more than any other developed countries. They address their positive impact on E.U. and on the world, and they also show sincerity of helping the poor country with CO2 mitigation by technological and financial support. They expressed their pride of completing Carbon Emission Target earlier, owning the latest green technology and setting significant carbon target and climate policy. .

However, for the truth that Germany would continue to move forward on its own, it would produce disaster for Germany’s economy. Ignoring the policies already in place and only looking at the additionally planned emission cuts, it would cause over 55,000 jobs to disappear in the near term and the economy would bear a damage of several billion euros every year, learned inside Bella Center.

Unfortunately for the German economy, the government is determined to stick to very drastic CO2 cutting targets. By 2020, the politicians want emissions to be 40 percent lower than in 1990, which may be the most extreme target internationally.

As one of the pioneers in international climate policy, Germany also acts as a major partner for the islands states. Island states are particularly impacted by climate change. According to the background of the climate talks in Cop-15, German ministers met the heads of state and government of eight Pacific island states, stressing that the Pacific partners could rely on German support.

To remember, the poorest people are those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The test we face in December at Copenhagen is a test of our ability to rise to a challenge recognized to be a defining one for our generation.

However, a secure supply of energy and raw materials is a basic prerequisite for prosperity and growth in Germany and Europe. The global demand for energy is increasing and the World Energy Council expects energy consumption to have doubled by 2050. Thus, the world need a global negotiation that’s clear enough to change the worsening global climate, including all the countries, no matter what position the country now take on climate protection.

We need frank saying that “We don’t come to talk but act!”

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