Internationally, Germany has played a pivotal role in putting climate protection on the map. The Federal Government was an innovative force as long ago as the negotions leading up to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In the treaty, the industrial nations committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 by an average of 5.2 percent in comparison with the 1990 baseline. Germany actually did much more than that, as it succeeded in lowering emissions by 21 percent by 2012. Germany also plays an active part in the negotiations for a follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol set to come into force in 2020. The goal: a binding climate agreement with clear rules for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. It will involve emerging markets and the Global South also committing to climate protection measures, and will make certain there is a considerable increase in funds for climate adaptation and technology transfer. In the Global North, the EU is a pioneer with regard to carbon dioxide targets; it has pledged to lower emissions by 2030 by at least 40 percent compared with 1990. The main tool is the EU emission trading scheme, which regulates the emission of carbon dioxide by around 11,000 major industrial corporations and power plant operators. It will be reformed with a view to making it more effective. Germany is also actively advancing climate cooperation with other countries, for example as regards issues such as tropical forest protection and energy efficiency.
The “Transatlantic Climate Bridge” represents a particular form of cooperation with the USA and Canada. Germany’s pioneering role in climate research is supported by work at universities and institutes such as the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.