Environment ministers from 35 countries met together with German Chancellor Angel Merkel and French President François Hollande as part of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin today. The politicians discussed key points of the new, universal global climate agreement to be signed later this year in Paris.
Today's meeting part of a series of high level meetings happening six months out from the Paris talks. These include the Business and Climate Summit happening in Paris this week and the G7 in Germany in June, at which many leading corporations and major economies respectively are expected to back a long term goal to phase out fossil fuel emissions as part of the Paris agreement.
As anticipated, national climate plans (or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) so far submitted by countries such as Canada, the EU, the US and others move us closer to, but not all the way to, a safe climate. We therefore need the G7 to support a Paris agreement that scales up action over time. A key tool that Paris can offer is a long term goal to phase out emissions and phase in renewable energy in conjunction with national plans that scale up over time to meet that goal. Achieving a that goal will require the leadership of both Merkel and Hollande.
On the release of the Petersberg Dialogue statement, Climate Action Network members had the following comments:
Christoph Schott, Senior Campaigner at Avaaz in Germany, said:
The world needs climate superheroes, and the G7 could be Angela Merkel's moment to dust off her green cape and rise to the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced. The climate chancellor has been missing in action recently, but this summer she can inspire the world with 100% clean energy by 2050, something 2.3 million people want to see.
Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics with Greenpeace, said:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent an important signal today when she reaffirmed the long term goal of global decarbonisation - a necessary first step for a global energy transition towards 100% renewable energy for all. However, this goal can and must be reached by 2050. We must not delay it until the end of the century. We expect Merkel to now engage in the heated debate underway in Germany by jump-starting a fair phase-out of coal in the country. Is she up to the task? The G7 Summit will be the defining last moment for Merkel to either establish herself as the 'coal chancellor' or the 'climate chancellor'.
Celia Gautier, EU policy advisor with RAC France, said:
For France to take the lead and secure an ambitious and durable agreement, it is crucial François Hollande step up climate action in France. France's energy transition is not fully under way. The country isn't even on track to meet its 2020 renewable energy target and French utilities are still massively investing in coal power plants abroad. This is not setting an example for the rest of the world. It's undermining France's capacity to stabilize climate change below 2°C. President Hollande has two hundred days left to clean up his act.