Global warming is changing our lives. Millions of people whose lives are already threatened by droughts and catastrophic floods today have high hopes for COP 23. Five experts from KfW talk about the types of signals and tone that will be set at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.
Think about the “how“!
2017 gave us a clear sense of the effects that climate change can have. Whether hurricane Harvey or Irma, we are witnessing many natural events that demonstrate the kinds of immense damage that climate change can cause. It means that we have to fast-track the Paris process. Instead of continuing to entangle ourselves in discussions of "if", we now have to work under intense pressure to think about the "how": how can we quickly implement the decisions made in Paris to swiftly reinforce climate protection and measures for adaptation? These are the critical questions. Everything else is a waste of time. Time that we do not have. If we want to achieve the two-degree target, we now have to act effectively.
This is why I hope the conference will send a strong signal that we will resolutely continue the path we began two years ago.
Europe has to take the lead!
Slowing down climate change means reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A global start with this was achieved with the Paris Climate Agreement. I will be satisfied if we can expedite a set of rules in Bonn in November with which we can effectively monitor the voluntary national contributions to climate protection. If we then also manage to find an answer to the withdrawal of the USA from international climate funding, I shall be glad.
In order to maintain the dynamic of global climate change mitigation, it will surely be necessary for Europe to take on a stronger leadership role in future. To make that credible, it will also be necessary for us to raise the pace of greenhouse gas reduction in Europe.
Climate change is happening!
People in developing countries, in particular, can already see and feel this every day. Especially in small island states and countries such as Bangladesh with their low-lying coastal zones, many inhabitants are already fearing today for their goods and possessions and their means of existence. The significance of this genuine threat is emphasised by the fact that this year’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations is being chaired by Fiji. The level of the economic losses and the costs for financing adjustment measures are immense.
I hope that this world climate conference will send out a strong signal to ensure that the urgently needed measures for adapting to climate change will be funded to a much higher degree than in the past.
We need to act now!
The Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (COP21) sent out a clear and unanimous signal: There is a shared obligation to fight against climate change and its effects. We cannot wait any longer, but must quickly take specific, practical actions. The national climate protection plans will serve as a central instrument for this purpose. Approximately 170 countries have now submitted their climate protection plans and so have committed themselves bindingly under international law to implement them. These plans now need to be implemented immediately to allow us to achieve the Paris climate goal and, at the same time, the level of ambition in the plans needs to be raised further. In this area, the developing countries can benefit greatly from the support of the industrialised countries.
I hope that we will be able to reach clear agreements at this UN Climate Change Conference about the exact nature of this financial and technical support.
We have to find new ways!
If we genuinely want to take the goal seriously of limiting climate warming to considerably under 2°C, “business as usual” is not an option. In all new investments around the world, climate protection must be considered in the planning from the very outset. The concept of reducing emissions extends far beyond funding renewable energies. I’m thinking of approaches such as forest protection for reducing emissions. We are already helping to protect the rainforest, for example in the Amazon Basin. However, such approaches have not yet been implemented to a sufficient extent at a global scale. Moreover, our entire gross national product must be organised with greater energy efficiency and we must drive forward the transport revolution, especially in the cities. Many other possibilities are still in their infancy.
I hope that this year’s climate conference will provide a stimulus for developing these new approaches and driving them forward.