Deal with Global South necessary if Germany opts for 2050 net zero climate goal – opinion
Germany needs a ministry for climate justice and Europe and the US should partner with the Global South to forego a developed fossil fuel economy and instead move straight into a renewable electric world Patrick Graichen, director of the Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende*, writes in a guest column for Zeit Online. While the German government has set a 2050 target for climate neutrality, climate protection advocates are demanding that the country become CO2-neutral by 2035 in order to stop the average temperature worldwide from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. But making an industrialised economy like Germany completely CO2-free in just 15 years is unrealistic, Graichen notes, pointing out that in order to limit global warming in line with that goal the world would have to keep its CO2 emissions below 450 billion tonnes.
Distributing it equally would force Germany to reach climate neutrality by 2035 and the US to be CO2-neutral by 2025 – both extremely unrealistic scenarios. Instead, Graichen argues, the EU and the new US administration should offer the Global South, a lose collection of primarily African, Latin American, Asian, and Oceanian countries, a comprehensive partnership before the next UN climate conference in Glasgow scheduled for the end of 2021. The move would cost the industrialised countries a lot of money, but in return they would be able to emit more CO2 than they are entitled to with an equal per capita distribution. “For Germany, this means that the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) must become the ‘Federal Ministry for International Climate Justice’,” that supports and co-finances the energy transition in the Global South and help those countries to adapt to climate change he adds.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.