AForeign Minister Annalena Baerbock has set an achievable minimum target for the climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh: Given the current world situation, it would already be a success if the meeting took place, said the Green politician a few days ago. It started on Sunday – for two weeks, the representatives of almost 200 countries are negotiating how international climate policy should slow down global warming. The federal government had previously announced that, despite the skeptical assessment of current diplomatic opportunities on the Red Sea, it did not want to be among the brakes.
Accordingly, Baerbock announced clearly at the start of the conference on Sunday: “Humanity is heading for an abyss, for a warming of over 2.5 degrees, with devastating effects on our lives on the only planet we have.”
Baerbock, whose ministry is responsible for climate diplomacy, and other members of the federal government assured that containing the climate crisis is “top priority” for Germany. This also applies in view of the Russian war in Europe. “For many states, it is about the survival of their people and their culture. For them, the climate crisis continues to be the most important security issue,” said Baerbock.
Who pays for damage that has already occurred?
Even though several reports before the conference once again described how fast climate change is progressing and that the measures taken so far are far from sufficient to slow it down quickly, observers do not expect a big hit in Egypt. The host himself didn’t even design the agenda for such a thing. The aim is to work on the implementation of what has already been decided at previous summits.
Last year at the latest in Glasgow, the states agreed that the earth should not warm up by more than 1.5 degrees if possible. The desired phase-out of coal also showed a way forward in Scotland, which could help to achieve this.
At that time, international climate policy was less influenced by diplomatic tensions. The conference in Egypt must now show whether Russia and the Western industrialized countries can come together. Tensions between China and the United States are also considered a burden. Prior to the climate conference, there was also a great need for coordination when poorer countries in the Global South in particular wanted to focus the conference on who would pay for the losses and damage that climate change is already causing.
Baerbock signaled support in this area on Sunday. Germany is ready to show more solidarity with threatened states. In Sharm el-Sheikh, they in turn expect a reliable financing commitment from the states that have caused the most emissions in the past 200 years. In this context, Germany has proposed a kind of risk insurance. It is considered likely that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will present corresponding plans when he visits the conference this Monday.
Habeck: Promoting energy partnerships
Another topic is likely to be energy partnerships. Industrialized countries support other countries in the expansion of renewable energies in order to enable economic growth there that would otherwise take place based on fossil energy.
Such cooperation already exists with South Africa. There have been suggestions that Egypt could also be a candidate. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) announced on Sunday that such partnerships would be further promoted. “The World Climate Conference offers the right forum for this.” In this way, developing and emerging countries should not have to choose between climate protection and economic growth.
The 27th World Climate Conference will be chaired by Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Schukri. At the opening on Sunday, he said the international community must show how seriously it wants to take the fight against global warming. Nobody should be left behind. Shukri said Egypt will spare no effort to make the negotiations a success.
He was able to announce his first success shortly after the start. After 48 hours of informal negotiations before the start of the conference, Egypt had managed to secure approval of the agenda by all participating States. The fact that the financing of losses and damage is part of the official agenda for the first time should strengthen Egypt’s position as the mouthpiece of the states particularly affected by climate change, which had previously called for such negotiations in vain.