Innovative Force behind Climate Cooperation
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 as it was 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.
Climate Protection Plan 2050 as a long-term strategy
As one of the first signatory states to the Paris Climate Agreement, as long ago as 2016 Germany had already agreed on a long-term strategy: the Climate Protection Plan 2050. Since then, Germany has achieved a great deal in terms of climate protection: In 2018, around 35 percent of electricity came from renewable sources such as wind and solar. With the Climate Protection Programme 2030 and its core element, the Climate Protection Act, the German government also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by the year 2030.
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.
The European Green Deal
Germany also supports the European Commission with its “European Green Deal”. This paves the way for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050. The plan is to pass a European climate act that makes the objective legally binding; to achieve it, CO2 emissions need to be reduced substantially in all relevant areas of the economy. The European Green Deal comprises a roadmap with measures for fostering more efficient use of resources through the transition to a cleaner and more cyclically oriented economy, for the regeneration of biodiversity and for fighting environmental pollution.
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.