05 Jul 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Sino-German G20 tandem / NGO call on govts to deliver

Clean Energy Wire

Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have vowed to work together closely at the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg to further shared goals and overcome diplomatic difficulties with third countries. During a visit in Berlin, Xi said China was going to support the German presidency in making “positive progress” at this year’s summit and ensure that issues figuring prominently at last year’s G20 in China, such as climate protection and economic modernisation, were also given priority in Hamburg. Merkel said “we cooperated closely last year” and this partnership was set to continue. The Chancellor said Argentina, which hosts the summit in 2018, would join China and Germany in a “troika” meant to ensure continuity in the international top-level forum. Both countries also signed a number of important economic cooperation agreements, for instance in digitalisation, aviation, hydropower and electric vehicles. “We don’t just exchange goods but also have increasingly deep cooperation in technology research,” Merkel added. Xi stressed that in the 45th year of official diplomatic ties between Germany and the People’s Republic, “new breakthroughs” were needed as the countries’ partnership entered a “new phase”. He added that Beijing and Berlin would also ramp up efforts to develop joint projects in third countries, for example in Africa, and work towards “bringing Europe and Asia closer together.”

See the CLEW interview with G20 Research Group founder John J. Kirton for more on Merkel's summit diplomacy.

The Clean Energy Wire will publish an analysis of German-Chinese climate policy cooperation on Thursday.

Clean Energy Wire / Greenpeace

The G20 is in principle “an acceptable format” to find solutions for big global challenges, but the Hamburg summit “must deliver results” given the costs associated with hosting the event, said Sweelin Heuss, managing director at Greenpeace Germany, at a press conference in Hamburg. Germany, for example, must exit coal and shut down the oldest power plants fast, to be able to reach its 2020 climate target. “Merkel must deliver. Otherwise, German climate policy is in no way better than that of the US,” said Heuss.

Greenpeace’s demands for the remaining G19 (without US) are:

  • Speedy implementation of the Paris Agreement; intensified climate protection efforts
  • Commitment to transition to 100 percent renewables by mid century
  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies by 2020
  • Merkel must initiate Germany’s coal exit.

Greenpeace also presented a study by the Finnish Lappeenranta University of Technology, which showed that by 2015 at least one form of renewable energy was already cheaper than any fossil fuel in the context of power generation in eight of the G20 member states, according to Greenpeace. By 2030, this would be the case in all the countries.

Find a Greenpeace press release in German here and the study in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?, the CLEW article G20 climate, energy plan goes to the wire at Hamburg summit and the interview “Merkel has to play her cards right at the G20 summit in Hamburg”.

The Hamburg summit must send out the clear signal that the “overwhelming majority” will now implement the Paris Climate Agreement – with or without the US, says environmental NGO Germanwatch in a press release. “The G20 has a special responsibility for the compliance with international rules. Here meet the world’s largest economies, the largest users of resources and the biggest climate destroyers – and they must implement the agreed accords and goals,” said Germanwatch chairman Klaus Milke.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW interview with Germanwatch’s Christoph Bals “G20 needs to show concrete steps to implement Paris climate accord”

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

The G20 should boost the innovative strength of industry and accelerate technology development, so that it can “make its maximum contribution to climate protection,” writes Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and CEO of BASF, and Chairman of the Business-20 (B20) Taskforce on Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency in a guest blog for International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Bock says that his business, the chemical industry, contributed to “saving energy, avoiding emissions and therefore to achieving the greenhouse gas reduction targets,” and calls for “fair competitive conditions and a global approach to regulation.”

Find the blog in English here.

Find CLEW’s full background on the Hamburg summit in the dossier G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.

F20 Foundation Platform

An international group of 45 private foundations and philanthropic organisations has called on the G20 to make the implementation of the UN agreements on climate protection and sustainability their core responsibility. “If necessary, this must be enforced without the agreement of US President Trump,” the group said in a press release. Speaking at a conference of the F20 Foundation Platform in Hamburg, German environment minister Barbara Hendricks voiced optimism that the G20 could still achieve “a good result” on climate and environmental issues, “despite the adverse global political circumstances”. At the meeting of the G7 group in Sicily, six of the seven countries showed they understood that forceful action on climate change was important to keep their economies competitive, she said, adding that President Trump might still realise that leaving the Paris climate agreement was a “shot in the foot”.

Find the F20 press release in English here and a report on the progress of the global energy transition here.

Find CLEW’s full background on the Hamburg summit in the dossier G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.

The Clean Energy Wire’s funders – the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation – are part of the F20 Foundation Platform.

Frankfurter Rundschau

Germany no longer is among the countries most engaged in advancing climate protection, Werner Rätz, co-founder of global justice group Attac Germany says in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau. This year’s G20 host is advancing its energy transition “only half-heartedly,” while countries like China and India have started to emerge as the new vanguards for meaningful climate protection, he argues. Rätz also says the G20, as a small number of dominant nations meeting to set the rules for the rest of the planet, lacks legitimacy and the only legitimate forum for this kind of global agenda-setting is the United Nations. “All other states can watch but have no voice,” Rätz says.

Find CLEW’s full background on the Hamburg summit in the dossier G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.

Zeit Online

The G20 meeting in Hamburg is meant to address some of the most pressing global problems but many of the heads of state present at this year’s summit have a very poor record of defending human rights in their own countries, Christian Grefe writes in a commentary for Zeit Online. Germany must use its G20 presidency to openly discuss these contradictions and ensure that the United Nations, as the most important forum, does not suffer at the hands of a few dominant G20 countries, he argues.  The active participation of civil society is also needed to increase pressure on governments to put issues that concern their citizens on the table, he argues. “Without public pressure from citizens and their participation in UN, the Paris Climate Agreement would not have been made in 2015 and nor would the global Agenda 2030 with its sustainable development goals,” Grefe says.

Read the commentary in German here.

Find CLEW’s full background on the Hamburg summit in the dossier G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.

Hamburg Senate

The city of Hamburg, host of this week’s G20 summit, has joined the international network Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, according to a press release. “Cities and communities are key to reaching international climate targets. Especially after the United States’ decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, networks and cooperation are more important than ever,” said the city’s environment senator Jens Kerstan. Hamburg’s accession was a signal and showed the clear commitment to the Paris accord days before the summit.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossiers G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit and Cities, municipalities, and the Energiewende.

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) introduced a new website that aggregates power market data from different transmission grid operators almost in real time and provides them in a user-friendly way, the agency said in a press release. Data includes power production by source and power import and export data by country.

Find the press release in German here and the website in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts.

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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