Kerry advises German politicians on climate issues | Free press


Berlin (dpa) – During his visit to Germany, US climate protection officer John Kerry called for greater global efforts in the fight against climate change.

Global warming, which in the worst case could reach four degrees Celsius by the end of the century, is a “gigantic challenge,” Kerry said at a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday afternoon.

The American climate commissioner traveled to Germany on Monday to talk to various German politicians about international climate protection policy. In addition to Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD), Kerry also met Federal Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier (CDU), Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several opposition politicians on Tuesday.

Kerry stressed that the task of global climate protection can only be achieved if all states, including the largest greenhouse gas emitters, work together. 45 percent of states wouldn’t do this yet, Kerry said. If the goals set by states in 2015 with the Paris climate protection agreement were not consistently pursued, the world would face catastrophe, the 77-year-old said. The COP26 World Climate Conference in Glasgow in November is the “last, best hope” for getting back on track.

The US also lost a lot of time in the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, who “ignored the advice of science,” said Kerry. Trump had begun the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate protection agreement, which went into effect in 2020.

As one of the first acts, incumbent US President Joe Biden rejoined the agreement early this year. It obliges the international community to keep global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.

Kerry stressed that even “1.9 degrees or 1.8 degrees” would not do justice to saving the planet. It’s about being even more ambitious. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also made it clear in 2018 that significant progress must be made by 2030 to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. A few weeks ago, the US set a new national climate protection target and pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030 compared to 2005.

From the political Berlin positive signals to the exchange of views with the American climate commissioner were heard on Tuesday. Several politicians once again welcomed the US change of course towards more climate protection at the global level. Federal Secretary of the Economy Peter Altmaier (CDU) praised the US’s new emissions target by 2030 and called for more bilateral cooperation on energy transition and climate policy, particularly on decarbonising industry. Altmaier stressed that a new transatlantic climate and energy alliance between the European Union and the US is important. Together, the states could “develop solutions that serve climate protection as well as safe jobs and prosperity,” Altmaier said Tuesday.

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz presented a key points paper in which the SPD candidate for chancellor proposed the idea of ​​an “international climate club”. It was to bring together the states that wanted to lead the way in global climate protection. Scholz, who personally presented his ideas to Kerry in the afternoon, also emphasized the role of the US: “With the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement and President Biden’s ambitious agenda, there is a new opportunity: international cooperation. in climate change. policy to deepen, ”Scholz writes in the key issues paper he signed.

In the afternoon, Kerry also met Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock and FDP leader Christian Lindner. Before that, there had been a number of other talks on Monday, including with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) and CDU boss Armin Laschet.

FDP boss Lindner on Tuesday promoted international cooperation and a transatlantic emissions trading system between the US and the EU. It is good that the US is back on board of the Paris climate agreement, Lindner said after the meeting of the German news agency. “The federal government must pick up this ball. We need less national solo efforts and more international cooperation. “

Kerry will also attend meetings of G7 environment ministers under the UK Presidency this week. The virtual conference is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Next Wednesday, the visit of the American climate commissioner to Germany ends.