Merkel’s last climate summit fails on finance for poor nations

German chancellor Angela Merkel (L on screen) attends a virtual '12th meeting of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue conference' in Berlin, Germany, 06 May 2021. [EPA-EFE/KAY NIETFELD]

The 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, hosted in Berlin on Thursday (6 May), failed to deliver on expectations of increased financial support for poorer countries.

The high-level political dialogue, which takes place on an annual basis, was originally founded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and this year’s edition was her last international climate summit.

“We need to meet our climate financing goals, such as the $100 billion goal, which has not yet been achieved,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who spoke ahead of Merkel at yesterday’s summit.

“Industrial nations need to empathise with developing countries,” he added.

At the COP15 climate summit in 2009, industrialised nations pledged to help the poorest, by providing $100 billion in aid each year by 2020. Rich countries renew their promise each year without fully delivering.

At the summit, Germany was expected to increase its financial commitments to support climate mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries.

As Merkel laid out Germany’s plan to contribute its fair share to global climate finance, she failed to participate in further closing the global climate finance gap, to the consternation of environmtal NGOs.

“It is a deep disappointment that German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to make a commitment to increase climate finance,” said Jan Kowalzig of Oxfam Germany.

“As of today, Chancellor Merkel and her equivalents in the G7 are leaving vulnerable and middle-income countries in the lurch,” said Jennifer Tollmann of E3G, a climate think tank.

Germany should act in concert with the UK in order to bring the rest of the G7 members along ahead of the COP26 climate summit later this year in Glasgow, she said.

Wealthy countries still failing on $100 billion climate finance pledge

In 2017, the most industrialised countries contributed a little above $70 billion to nations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This number is far below the annual $100 billion pledged in 2009 for the following decade. EURACTIV’s partner le Journal de l’environnement reports.

Kowalzing pointed out that both the US and the UK committed to doubling their climate financing.

“While you only care about your positive climate image before the elections, our communities continue to be the most affected by the climate crisis,” said Maria Reyes, a youth climate campaigner at Fridays for Future Mexico.

Reyes accused Germany of an opportunistic inward focus ahead of the country’s upcoming general elections in September.

“As the biggest economy in the EU the eyes of the world are on Germany. It has a history of being a climate leader but this is starting to slip badly,” said Mohamed Adow of PowerShift Africa.

The news comes amid an otherwise bullish summit for Germany, which announced new ambitious national emission targets this week.

“Germany will aim to cut emissions by 65% relative to 1990 levels by 2030,” said Merkel, adding that the country will achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Pointed criticism is also came from within Germany.

“Going at it alone on the national level does nothing for climate protection,” said Lukas Köhler on behalf of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) on Thursday (6 May), warning that emissions would just be shifted out of Europe.

He also pushed for an international expansion of the EU’s emissions trading scheme, the European carbon market which puts a price on emissions from the power sector and industry.

Germany pledges to become carbon-neutral by 2045

Germany pledges to become carbon-neutral by 2045. Germany has announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2045, in a landmark shift in climate policy driven by a recent constitutional court ruling demanding better defined emissions targets after 2030.

German Finance Minister …

[Edited by Frédéric Simon]

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