Germany a Driving Force in International Climate Protection Process
Enlarge image The latest climate research findings clearly show that if global temperature rises by more than 2 degrees Celsius climate change will be almost unmanageable. (© picture-alliance / © Evolve/Photoshot) International climate protection is one of the biggest global challenges of the 21st century. The mean global temperature at the earth’s surface is continuously increasing due to ever higher carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, the effects of which are already detectable today. If global warming continues unchecked, it is likely to exceed the adaptive capacity of natural, managed and social systems.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarized in its last Assessment Report 2007 the current global climate research knowledge. The report proved beyond doubt that there is increasing global warming, und it reiterated man’s influence on this change.
The international community of states agreed as early as 1992 in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the target of preventing further dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. However, the Climate Framework Convention did not contain any binding targets in order to achieve the necessary global reduction in greenhouse gases.
Toward a post-2012 agreement
As a first step in this direction, the Kyoto climate change conference in 1997 agreed on the Kyoto Protocol. This Protocol was the first legally binding international commitment by industrialized states to reduce their emissions within a given timeframe.
Enlarge image Binding emission reduction targets are a key issue of current international climate protections negotiations. (© Colourbox) Thus the Kyoto Protocol is the single most important instrument of international climate policy to date. It is nevertheless only a first step in a lengthy process. Moreover, the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period will end in 2012.
In order to ensure that additional efforts to protect the climate are also undertaken after this period, the international community agreed in 2007 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali to take up negotiations on a comprehensive post-2012 climate protection agreement.
The negotiations were originally due to be concluded at the Copenhagen climate change conference in December 2009. However, following very difficult negotiations, the conference only achieved a political agreement, the Copenhagen Accord, which lists some key elements of future climate protection policy. By now, more than 100 states (including all EU member states) have joined this Accord with various industrialized and developing countries having submitted specific emission reduction targets or measures for 2020.
In parallel, formal negotiations on the post-2012 climate protection regime are being continued. The next climate change conference (COP 16) will take place in Cancún in December 2010.
Germany at the forefront of international climate protection
The German Federal Government is one of the driving forces of the international climate protection process.
Enlarge image Germany and the EU's goal is to limit the average global temperature increase to a maximum of 2° Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. (© Colourbox) Firstly, Germany is leading the way with ambitious emission reduction targets on the national level: a reduction of 40 percent by 2020 as compared to 1990, independent of the efforts to be undertaken by other states.
In addition, Germany―together with the European Union―advocates binding rules and regulations on the international level. Germany and the EU's goal is the conclusion of a comprehensive global post-2012 climate protection regime limiting the average global temperature increase to a maximum of 2° Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.
The German Federal Government supports ambitious EU climate protection targets in order for Europe to also take the lead in the climate protection negotiations. During the German EU-Presidency in the first half of 2007, the EU committed itself to reduce its emissions by 20 percent by 2020 as compared to 1990 and to increase this target to 30 percent if other industrialized countries undertake similar efforts and developing countries make an appropriate contribution.
© Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety