UN climate conference in Egypt: environmentalists: Scholz must be measured by promises

At the UN climate conference, the chancellor promised that Germany would phase out gas, coal and oil without any ifs or buts and meet its climate targets.

UN climate conference in Egypt: environmentalists: Scholz must be measured by promises

At the UN climate conference, the chancellor promised that Germany would phase out gas, coal and oil without any ifs or buts and meet its climate targets. But experts warn that the government is by no means on course. Climate protectors want to take Scholz at his word.

Climate protectors react critically to Chancellor Olaf Scholz's promise that Germany will phase out oil, gas and coal "without any ifs or buts". This is a "deception of the international public" if Scholz also wants to provide money for new gas fields in Africa that are fueling the climate crisis, said the executive director of Greenpeace Germany, Martin Kaiser, on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Egypt.

If the chancellor is serious about his commitment in Sharm el-Sheikh, not a single euro of German tax money should be allowed to flow into new gas fields. “Chancellor Scholz will have to be measured by that personally.” Viviane Raddatz from WWF Germany explained that although Scholz distances himself from a "renaissance" of fossil fuels, Germany has largely triggered this development itself with efforts to find new gas sources.

The political director of Germanwatch, Christoph Bals, also said that from now on Scholz would have to be measured by his promise to phase out fossil fuels. "He must clear the way for a review process that ensures exactly that." The short-term replacement of Russian gas must be organized in such a way that it is compatible with the climate goals.

However, according to scientific assessments, it does not look like that: Just two days before the start of the consultations in Egypt, the independent expert council dismissed the German climate protection efforts as insufficient - even if the experts, who tried to be sober, would never put it that way. Their conclusion: It is unlikely that Germany will still be able to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990.

In his speech in Egypt on Monday evening, Scholz warned, among other things, of a "renaissance in fossil fuels" such as oil, gas and coal. "For Germany, I say: there will be no such thing." Most recently, however, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the associated decoupling of Russian gas supplies meant that German coal-fired power plants remained on the grid longer and the federal government wanted to promote the development of gas fields in Africa, for example. Scholz had already promised Senegal support in developing a gas field off the coast in May. The small country in West Africa is intended to fill at least part of the gap created by the lack of gas from Russia.

In Egypt, the Chancellor also reaffirmed the long-term goal that Germany should become climate-neutral by 2045. This means that the emission of climate-damaging gases is completely offset by their absorption in the soil, forests or oceans. The environmental organizations also criticized Scholz's announcement that 170 million euros would be made available for a new protective shield against climate risks.

This will be financed from the annual funds for the fight against climate change, which are to increase from 5.3 to six billion euros by 2025. WWF expert Raddatz said: Predecessor Angela Merkel had already announced the increase to six billion euros by 2025 at the last COP in Scotland. "There were no new signals from Chancellor Scholz that could have brought positive movement to the negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh."

Germanwatch, on the other hand, said that Germany was establishing itself as a pioneer among industrialized countries with the announced 170 million euros for a global protective shield against damage and losses. This is a good start. "In view of the actual damage and losses caused by the climate crisis, however, the sum is just a drop in the bucket."

Video message expected from Zelenskyj

At the world climate conference on Tuesday, representatives from around 200 countries will continue their deliberations on stepping up the fight against global warming. Scholz takes part in several high-level rounds in the morning. Among other things, it is about a planned protective shield against climate risks and the "Climate Club" he initiated, in which states are supposed to agree on goals and standards for more climate-friendly economies. The Chancellor is also planning bilateral talks with the heads of state and government of Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia, Kenya and Tajikistan.

Dozens of heads of state and government, including those from Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Portugal and the European Union, will speak in front of the plenum on the second and final day of the summit segment. A video message is expected from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose country is repelling a war of aggression by Russia. The summit lasts until the end of next week. 45,000 participants are registered on site on the Red Sea. On Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned in somber words about the devastating consequences of global warming. "We're on the highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator," he said.

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