Internationally, Germany has played a pivotal role in putting climate protection on the map. The Federal Government was an innovative force at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit as long ago as 1992 and for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that a major breakthrough was made, namely with the Paris Agreement. Here 195 countries adopted the very first universal, legally binding global climate protection agreement. The goal is to halt the rise in global average temperature and ideally limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To this end, the states have resolved to reduce or maintain a low level of greenhouse gas emissions. National targets set by each country are to be regularly reviewed. The Climate Change Conference held in Bonn in 2017 addressed how to achieve this. The European Union (EU) spearheads international efforts for a global climate protection agreement. It strives to reduce emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030. 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 was reformed in 2018 with a view to making it more effective. Germany is also actively advancing climate cooperation with other countries and supports, for example, partner countries in achieving their national climate protection goals (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) in the context of the NDC partnership established in 2016. These NDCs form the core of the Paris Agreement.
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.