More than 250 representatives from the academic, political, diplomatic and civil society spheres came together at an international conference on climate protection at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 24 October. The event, which was jointly organised by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Environment Ministry and the German Climate Consortium (DKK), focused on preparing the UN COP 19 Climate Change Conference to be held in Warsaw in November 2013. Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Cornelia Pieper opened the conference calling upon the international community to push forward international climate negotiations. Costa Rican Environment Minister René Castro Salazar presented his country’s plans for climate protection.
Shortly before the Warsaw Climate Change Conference the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its Fifth Assessment Report. It is to help government environment experts to take their decisions on climate protection in the light of scientific results. Participants in the climate protection conference at the Federal Foreign Office discussed the report intensively.
Silke Beck from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research believes that the IPCC’s scientific findings are of paramount importance.
One of the IPCC’s achievements is that it has managed to clearly prove that climate change has already occurred and can be attributed to human activities.
In recognition of these efforts, the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize together with former US Vice-President Al Gore.
Another conference participant pointed out that, although the rise in global temperature has slowed down in the last decade, the long term trend of global warming continued. He added that international climate policy must find an adequate response to this development.
Minister of State Pieper: Climate change must be limited
In her opening speech Minister of State Pieper underlined that according to the findings of climate research there was no longer any doubt that global warming was caused by human activities. She added that it was now the task of the international community to limit climate change to a manageable level. She expressed her hope that the climate negotiations in Warsaw in November would enable the international community to make considerable progress towards a 2015 climate agreement.
Reducing carbon emissions in the economic system is of decisive importance in combating climate change. Minister of State Pieper believes that economies must be swiftly and ambitiously transformed into green economies. She stated that Germany had committed itself to pursuing an ambitious climate policy. German climate policy focuses on enhancing energy efficiency, phasing out nuclear energy and stepping up the use of renewable energy, she added.
Climate protection is not only an issue of international negotiations
In addition to preparing the international climate change negotiations in Warsaw, the conference focused on the implementation of specific climate projects. All over the world there are numerous initiatives at national, regional and local level aiming to improve climate protection through specific projects. For instance, at the conference Costa Rican Environment Minister Salazar outlined his country’s objective to build up a carbon neutral, that is more climate friendly economy by 2021.
Numerous other participants also used the conference to present their climate protection projects. Representatives of the international city network ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability described how they promote intercontinental exchange on the implementation of climate policy in fields such as buildings, transport and energy supply.
Discussions at the Berlin conference showed that the international climate protection objectives can only be achieved by adopting a multi pronged approach. On the one hand, climate protection measures at international level need to make progress. On the other, international climate negotiations must be backed up by efforts to limit climate change through specific local projects.
The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 19) will take place in the Polish capital Warsaw in November 2013. On that occasion the international negotiating partners want to get as clear a picture as possible of how the complex negotiations on an international climate agreement can be successfully advanced by the end of 2015.
Last updated 25.10.2013
Source: Federal Foreign Office