German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Group of Seven (G7) leaders to agree to limit the rise in average global temperatures to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, warning that without such a commitment a broader climate deal could fail.
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Climate is one of the key topics on the agenda at a G7 meeting in a Bavarian castle starting on Sunday. Merkel is hoping leaders will send a strong signal on cutting greenhouse gases ahead of a United Nations climate meeting in Paris in December.
The conference in Paris will only be credible if countries stick to the 2-degree goal that was agreed in Copenhagen back in 2009, Merkel said in a video podcast released on Saturday. “Otherwise I don’t think there will be a climate agreement in Paris and all of the participants know that. That’s why I hope that we, as the G7 countries, can clearly say: we stand by this goal,” she said.
But she warned not to expect a broader accord at the summit: “I don’t think we should compare the G7 summit with targeted negotiations towards a climate agreement; rather there can only be a commitment from important industrial countries here.”
Scientists say that based on current emissions and reduction pledges already in place, global temperatures look set to rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. A 2-degree increase could make some islands in the Pacific uninhabitable, increase the number of weather-related disasters and lead to large numbers of people being displaced, experts say.
Rich nations have already agreed to mobilise an annual $100 billion in climate finance by 2020 but only around $10 billion has been pledged so far. “I think it’s important that we, as G7, give a confirmation, so-to-speak, of this 100-billion fund,” Merkel said, adding that payments and promises would, however, be sought at other conferences.
Merkel has previously said that Germany aims to double its climate financing by 2020 compared to 2014, by increasing aid from its budget to 4 billion euros annually and increasing funds available from KfW state development bank to 3 billion euros. Merkel said it was possible to achieve steady global growth while also protecting the climate, adding that Germany had managed to decouple economic growth from CO2 emissions.
She said industrial nations had a responsibility to provide technology that could help emerging and developing countries “so that they don’t have to copy all of the steps that we made decades ago”.