Environment Minister Hendricks Welcomes Results of New York Climate Change Summit

Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendricks, has welcomed the results of the UN Climate Change Summit held at UN headquarters in New York on 23 September 2014.

The special summit to which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had invited was meant to give momentum to climate change efforts on the way to a legally binding climate protection agreement to be concluded in 2015 at the conference in Paris, which shall limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. The new agreement shall be a successor to the Kyoto Protocol whose second commitment period started in 2013 and runs until 2020. For the second commitment period only a limited number of countries (including the EU) have agreed to legally binding targets, while a number of other countries made non-binding commitments.

1) Results of New York Climate Change Summit

Mrs Hendricks pointed out that the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions had announced to present their contributions to a new climate change agreement ahead of the Paris summit by the beginning of 2015, including China and the United States.

“Besides there are encouraging signals, for example by France, Mexico, Danmark, Switzerland and Korea, which make me feel optimistic that the Green Climate Fund will receive substantial funding ahead of the Climate Conference in Lima at the end of the year”, Mrs Hendricks said. The Green Climate Fund is a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC into which developed countries pay in order to assist the developing countries to help adapt to and mitigate climate change. Germany already pledged to pay up to EUR 750 million (see link below).

Mrs Hendricks also highlighted the  “New York Declaration on Forests“, calling it an unparalleled union of government, private enterprises, civil society and indigenous associations as well as multinational organsations, who agreed work together to end deforestation by 2030 and create non-deforesting supply chains.

2.) German Contribution to Climate Change

Mrs Hendricks also highlighted the following three climate change related decisions by the German Government, which were met with positive response in New York.

a) Ratification of the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol

The German government recently approved a bill aimed at ratifying the second Kyoto Protocal commitment period, being the first large EU member state to do so.

b) No Use of Excess Capacity of Emission Rights

Besides Mrs Hendricks announced that excess emission rights resulting from Germany fulfilling more than ist Kyoto Protocol obligation would be deleted, thus withdrawing them from the market for emission rights. “That way we make sure that extra climate protection efforts in Germany do not fall flat because certificates are used elsewhere leading to higher greenhouse gas emissions”, Mrs Hendricks said.

c) New Stance on Financing Coal-fired Power Plants

Mrs Hendricks also informed that the German government has decided to adopt a new policy with regard to financing coal-fired power plants. “By mid-century we have to get away completely from using coal in the global energy supply. Hence every new coal power plant project has to be reviewed critically.  In climate and development cooperation programmes we will no longer provide funding for new (coal-fired) power plants and finance modernisations of existing plants only to a limited degree according to clearly defined criteria. In doing so the government joins efforts of other industrialised countries and banks”, Mrs Hendricks said.

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

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