Speech from Ambassador Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth at the Climate Diplomacy Week 2016

Botschafter Heimsoeth Bild vergrößern Botschafter Dr. Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth (© Auswärtiges Amt)

Excellencies, Colleagues, Friends

 

A great thank you goes to the Representation of the European Commission and the French Embassy for co-hosting this event during Climate Diplomacy Week 2016.

We remember this shining moment of climate diplomacy when the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met last year in Paris (COP21). The agreement we reached in Paris is, rightly, considered a historic agreement to fight climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Its goals are well known. To succeed, countries worldwide intend to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.

Almost a year after the Paris conference, and ahead of the Marrakesh climate conference (COP22) in November, Climate Diplomacy Week 2016 gives us the opportunity to look back at what has been accomplished since Paris and what steps still lay ahead.

I will focus on Germanys policy, especially the ratification process  and the implementation of the Paris Agreement as well as on the German position on carbon pricing.

 

The Paris Agreement is the ambitious climate agreement that we all worked so hard and long to achieve. We can be proud of this achievement.

But after this first success, now has come the time to implement the agreement and bring it to life. We have set ourselves the task of a global transformation to greenhouse gas-neutral lifestyles and economic practices. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is a great task – as important as reaching the agreement in the first place.

 

Implementation begins with ratification. The Paris Agreement will only enter into force after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified, accepted or approved it.

Earlier this month, ahead of the G-20 summit in Hangzouh, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have accepted or ratified the Paris Agreement. This was a significant step forward. The USA and the China are considered the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, together they account for about 38% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But, still, only 27 States of the 180 signatories have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval up until today. These states account in total for 39,08% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Within the EU, so far France, Hungary and Austria have ratified the Paris Agreement. For ratification of the EU itself, ratification by all member states will be necessary.

Germany has begun ratification process in July early on as one of the first EU member states, the bill is in parliament and the adoption of the ratification legislation is foreseen in time before the Marrakesh climate conference (COP22) in November this year.

We would wish to deposite the instrument of ratification, jointly with the other EU member states and the European Union itself. This is in accordance with typical practice for “mixed agreements” affecting the competences of both the EU and its member states. For this it is paramount that countries which are behind in the ratification procedures speed up the process. Germany believes it is important, the EU and its member states send the signal, that Europe acts in concert with regards to climate protection and stays internationally in the forefront of climat action!

 

To meet these challenges Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to double our climate financing by 2020. Two specific implementation tools will be in place: the existing Climate Action Programme 2020 and the new Climate Action Plan 2050. To promote international implementation, Germany also initiated a NDC –nationally determined partnership-  programme.

 

·         The Climate Action Programme 2020 was adopted in December 2014 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020, compared to 1990. Over 100 individual measures designed to ensure this target is met are monitored in a continuus process including the publication of an annual climate action report.

 

 

·         In addition Germany currently prepares the Climate Action Plan 2050 in order to fulfill the target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared with 1990, This action plan will also provide orientation for strategic measures in all sectors and security for investors. It is important to find acceptance for the Climate Action Plan, so the Federal Government launched a broad-based participatory process in the summer of 2015. Länder, municipalities, associations and citizens were encouraged to propose strategic measures to the Federal Government by which the long-term climate objectives can be reached. At the moment the political discussion is in full swing, especially with regards to the transport and the agricultural sectors. But it is the task of the government to lead and to convince – and this is the process we have embarked on.

 

·         As a third element I would like to mention the project of an NDC implementation Partnership developed by the German Ministry for the Environment and Building, as well as the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Resources Institute. It aims at supporting developing countries implement the Paris Agreement and hence to achieve their own targets. Its purpose is to help developing countries specify and implement their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), but also to help merge existing climate and development goals and to achieve greater harmonization among the various donor programmes. The partnership is supposed to bring together developing countries, donor countries, institutional partners and NGOs. Membership of the partnership is open to all countries. To support the set-up of the partnership, presented at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in July this year, the German Ministry for the Environment and Building and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will finance the establishment of a secretariat in Washington D.C. (USA) and in Bonn (Germany).

 

Coming to my last point let me add some words on Germanys position on carbon pricing and its perspectives

·         Ambitious climate action is easier to advance if it is cost effective. Market-based policies and other regulations that directly or indirectly put a price on greenhouse gas emissions may be key elements in the climate policy mix. In the last decade, we have seen strong progress in this regard, both at international and domestic level, with a wide range of instruments implemented and planned.

·         Germany advocates a phased development of a global carbon market, as key instrument in decarbonizing the global economy and therefore in achieving the two degree goal. In this context, Germany pursues three key areas of action:

o   We want to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions everywhere around the world.

o   We support the establishment of regional emissions trading schemes and linking them with the long-term goal of a global carbon market.

o   We want to take project-related international market mechanisms further in order to raise mitigation ambition.

·         We are actively involved in promoting global carbon pricing. Key elements are the Carbon Market Platform and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CLPC), initiated under Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2015.

·         In October 2015, the kick-off event of the Carbon Market Platform took place in Berlin, where the concept of the Platform has been discussed among policymakers from the G7 countries and the EU Commission as well as representatives from other international organizations.

·         The idea of the Platform is to use cross-country collaboration to promote the further development and linking of carbon markets, explore new opportunities for cooperation and achieve emission reduction targets under the UN climate change regime.

·         Many countries have already implemented or are planning climate change mitigation policy in accordance with their own domestic circumstances. Approaches include carbon pricing policies, varying from explicit carbon pricing policies to regulatory measures (i.e. fuel taxes, subsidies, standards) that may also put an implicit price on carbon. To cope with this increasingly fragmented policy landscape, the focus of discussions within the partnership will lay on developing an understanding of the various domestic approaches, identifying drivers and barriers and determining a best practice.

·         The Carbon Market Platform is open to countries outside the G7 since the Paris conference. We presented the Carbon Market Platform at the Paris conference with a view to winning more countries to engage in this strategic policy dialogue.

·         In addition, Germany also joined the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC). This coalition’s target is to advance the development and implementation of effective carbon pricing systems worldwide. It brings together more than 20 countries and more than 90 global companies and strategic partners to push for action on carbon pricing by collecting and sharing best practices and mobilizing business support. Thus, we hope to promote a global carbon market. Putting a price on carbon is the most efficient way to protect our climate and achieve our climate protection goals.

 

Summing up: We have come a long way in the last years. Germany will continue to strive for and support ambitious climate action, nationally and internationally. After deposing the instruments of ratification the real work and effort will actually begin.

This will also be on the agenda as Germany takes over the G20 Presidency from China with the next summit  scheduled to take place in Hamburg next year.

And looking to Marrakesh: lets keep up the momentum!