Germany’s Angela Merkel, at her last climate summit as chancellor, told representatives from around 40 countries on Thursday that a carbon pricing system would help control global CO2 emissions.
“From my point of view, it would be very desirable that we also have a price for CO2 in the world, which should be introduced step by step,” she told the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, which was held online this year. Merkel launched the Petersberg conference in 2009, after the failed negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15).
Merkel urged other countries on Thursday to follow the lead of Germany’s carbon tax, citing the € 25 ($ 30) per tonne tax applied to carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s transport and heating sectors in January, declaring: “For the sake of future generations all over the world, it is important that we act quickly and decisively to limit the dramatic consequences of global warming.”
The Chancellor’s remarks also come a day after the German government announced plans to implement more “ambitious” climate targets to cut emissions after a landmark decision by the country’s highest court said that a key climate protection law was “insufficient”.
New climate targets are still insufficient, experts say
Many observers in Germany have found Merkel’s performance at the annual summit, a preparatory meeting for the UN’s COP26 climate summit in November in Glasgow, Scotland, disappointing for her lack of vision – all the more so that it was Merkel who called for the first such summit 12 years ago.
Ahead of the summit, Oxfam – a confederation of charities – called for “more leadership on global climate policy, more ambitious German climate protection measures and more financial aid to disadvantaged countries in tackling the crisis climate “.
Although Merkel repeats the goals set by German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz Wednesday – reducing emissions to 65% of what they were in 1990 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 rather than 2050 – observers say much more needs to be done to ensure these targets are actually met rather than discussed.
“Germany must reduce climate-damaging emissions by at least 70% by 2030. Otherwise, we will have to take measures so drastic that they will seriously undermine the human rights of the younger generations. It is simply impossible to do so. ‘Avoid accelerating the exit from coal-fired power. By 2030, end the registration of new internal combustion vehicles by 2025 and quickly end mass farming,’ says Lisa Göldner , Greenpeace climate specialist.
“ International solidarity ”, but helps to miss
Another key point of discussion at the Petersberg summit was that of aid to developing countries grappling with the financial burden of the climate crisis.
The rich industrialized countries have pledged to make $ 100 billion available to these countries each year – but this has yet to be done.
Groups such as the international network of churches ACT Alliance EU, have lamented the failure of richer countries to keep their pledge to help, noting that Germany, France and Spain, for example, have now chosen to provide loans to be repaid at current market rates while presenting them as aid.
“It is unfair because these loans have to be repaid with interest, which means that the lending countries will benefit from them,” said Sabine Minninger, environmental policy expert for the church organization Brot für die Welt (Bread for the world).
Nicknamed by some the “climate chancellor”, Merkel’s speech at her last climate conference left experts disappointed.
While Merkel called for “international solidarity” to cut emissions, she said little about the issue of aid to developing countries – only noting that leaders should probably discuss new aid targets in Glasgow and urging rich countries to honor their commitments despite financial strains from the coronavirus pandemic: “This pandemic has torn huge holes in budgets [of industrialized nations]. We have invested a lot to counter this pandemic … and yet we must not abandon our international responsibilities. It will be a very big task. “
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was more assertive when he broached the subject, saying: “We just need to meet our existing commitments on climate finance, this long overdue target of $ 100 billion a year, and then we have to go even further. “
Johnson said of Glasgow: “This has to be a summit of agreement, action, deed, not talk. For this to happen, over the next six months we must be relentless in our ambition and determination, laying the foundation on which success will be built, ”adding:“ If all that emerges from COP26 is more than hot air, then we have absolutely no chance of keeping our planet cool. “