06 Dec 2023, 12:29

Germany’s climate foreign policy strategy

Germany aims to combine the strength of all its government departments to foster a socially just and economically successful move to climate neutrality worldwide with the help of a new climate foreign policy strategy. The government revealed its long-anticipated document during the UN climate change conference COP28 in Dubai at the end of 2023. This factsheet lays out key goals and provisions of the strategy, which is designed to enable the government to speak with one voice regarding its foreign climate policy.

Germany’s new climate foreign policy strategy says that speedy and ambitious global cooperation is necessary to tackle the climate crisis and its consequences. The strategy also emphasises that a socially just transition to greenhouse gas neutrality is a big opportunity to strengthen society, resilience, the economy, and security.

“We are pioneers and bridge builders and want to set a positive example and make the transformation economically successful in order to motivate others to pursue an ambitious climate policy,” the document says.

The strategy is meant to streamline the work of different government ministries to maximise the country's impact on an international level on promoting a socially just and economically successful transformation to climate neutrality across the world. The aim is to help the different government branches to communicate with a clear shared agenda.

Germany – which says the strategy is the most comprehensive of its kind globally so far- argues that climate cooperation can be part of a positive agenda and build bridges, especially to countries that do not share some central values.

The strategy follows Germany’s first National Security Strategy, and the China Strategy which the government presented in summer 2023.

Key goals of Germany’s climate foreign policy

The strategy says that the core of German climate foreign policy is bringing prosperity and economic and social development together to fight the climate crisis. It also aims to strengthen Germany and Europe as business locations. However, it also has several official goals. The government aims to use all instruments at its disposal to help:

  • Support the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Keep limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° within reach
  • Strengthen global climate change adaptation efforts, especially in vulnerable countries
  • Almost halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (over 2019 levels)
  • Push partners for more ambitious climate targets
  • Triple global renewable power capacity by 2030
  • Double annual energy efficiency improvements by 2030
  • Speed up energy transition to accomplish “step-by-step phaseout of unabated fossil energies in line with the 1.5°C pathways”
  • Work with partners on “transparent, responsible use of CCS and negative emissions technologies
  • Push for globally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and shipping
  • Germany to “remain a good and reliable partner in international climate finance
  • Stop deforestation by 2030 through strengthened cooperation with countries that have rainforests
  • Strengthen climate and security nexus, e.g. through pushing the topic in the UN and other organisations
  • Also strengthen climate and health nexus
  • Bring international finance flows in line with 1.5°C compatible path (“We support international sustainable investments and projects in line with the Paris Agreement, and phase down inefficient subsidies harmful to the climate and biodiversity.”)
  • Support the EU carbon border tax (CBAM) to tackle or avoid carbon leakage
  • Support diversified, sustainable supply chains for technologies needed for the transition, and expand resource partnerships
  • Push hydrogen market ramp-up


  • State secretaries from several ministries are set to meet regularly to coordinate the government’s climate foreign policy
  • Germany increases number of embassies with special focus on climate from 36 to 56

Key instruments and forums to reach the goals

  • Multilateral forums such as UNFCCC, UN; NATO, OECD, IEA, IRENA, WTO
  • Climate foreign policy of the European Union
  • G7/G20
  • Bilateral climate and development partnerships
  • Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP)
  • The newly established international “climate club”, especially for industry decarbonisation and joint standards
  • Government sees CO2 pricing as one of the most efficient instruments to lower emissions, and pushes for a global emissions trading system for a uniform global CO2 price, ideally with compensation for low-income households (i.e. redistribution of parts of the revenues)

Other provisions

  • The strategy highlights the historical responsibility of industrialised countries, but says emerging economies must also make financial contributions (“The distinction between industrialised and developing countries, which was made in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), no longer reflects current reality and must not become a barrier to rapid and effective climate protection.”)
  • By 2024: government will assess results of bilateral partnerships
All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.


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