23 Apr 2024, 14:27
Julian Wettengel

German climate envoy expects “difficult discussions” on COP29 at upcoming minister meeting

Clean Energy Wire

This year's Petersberg Climate Dialogue will create space for ministers from about 40 countries to have "difficult discussions" on international climate policy issues in preparation of COP29 in Azerbaijan at the end of the year, said Germany’s climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan. The conference, organised by the German government, will take place on April 25th and 26th. "In my experience, having smaller workshops where ministers have to engage – unscripted – help to at least build an understanding for one another," said Morgan during an event organised by Table.Media. "Then we can build on that." One major focus of this year’s conference would be on climate finance, as Germany continues to call on emerging economies to start contributing funds. "There are countries out there that are now taking the global stage. With that role comes a responsibility," said Morgan. She added that "we are in a new moment where it is completely reasonable to ask countries that are extremely wealthy and have the capabilities" to contribute. Her comments concerned the G20, not the smaller countries, she said.

Germany and the EU have called on emerging economies like China to start paying into international climate finance mechanisms. The United Arab Emirates' contribution to the loss and damage fund at last year's COP28 has remained an outlier in terms of contributions from countries other than the traditional industrial countries – which, however, bear a large part of the responsibility for climate change due to their emissions over the past century and a half. Jan Kowalzig, climate finance expert of NGO Oxfam, said that it was right to ask emerging economies to put up climate finance. However, he criticised that it was made "all too easy for them to say no and point fingers at the developed countries" which failed to provide 100 billion U.S. dollars in climate finance annually by 2020. Developed countries have to be more outspoken about failing that goal, he said, but show that they are willing to take the lead going forward so that others could follow.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue is a "very important" stepping stone on the way to this year's UN climate change conference in Baku, said researcher Tom Evans from E3G at a separate event organised by the think tank. "We need to turn up the heat on COP29 and recognise that there is a lot at stake." Another important event follows just two days later with the G7 climate and energy minister meeting in Italy starting on 28 April. This represents the first real moment for G7 countries to show how they intend to implement the decision from last year's COP28 in Dubai – namely how they intend to transition aways from fossil fuels, said Luca Bergamaschi of think tank Ecco. "This must be done in a way that is secure, fair, and global. […] The G7 must demonstrate that this transition is possible," he said.

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