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The 24th UN Climate Change Summit: Demands for radical change

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Representatives from nearly 200 countries are negotiating for two weeks in Katowice (Katowice) on how the historic decisions of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference can be supplemented by clear rules on implementation and review.

In the French capital, it had been decided to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, possibly even to 1.5 degrees. However, the measures promised worldwide to reduce harmful greenhouse gases are far from sufficient. In the morning (11.00 o’clock) also Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze (SPD) and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) in Katowice, what they expect from the summit.

Already on Sunday climate diplomats met in Katowice for a first plenary session. „Over the next two weeks, we need to be creative and flexible in order to use the time wisely and deliver the agreements we all strive for,“ said Poland’s Vice Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka, President of the Polish Presidency two-week conference took over. Tens of thousands of people had demonstrated in Berlin, Cologne and Brussels over the weekend for an energy turnaround.

Efforts to prevent overheating in the world focus on stopping the release of greenhouse gases as soon as possible and completely. The burning of coal, oil and gas, which releases carbon dioxide, is the focus of attention. In addition, other sources of greenhouse gases – such as livestock and industrial production – must be stuffed and ultimately carbon dioxide from the air should be siphoned off, for example by afforestation of forests or CO2 storage underground.

The German Minister of the Environment Schulze relies on progress in Katowice. „Everyone should know after this conference what he has to do, how he measures progress in climate protection and makes transparent, and everyone should be able to understand what the other is doing,“ said the SPD politician of the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“ (Monday). „That’s how commitment and trust come into being.“ Schulze warned that states should not be deterred if large countries like the USA or Brazil turn away from the Paris Climate Agreement. „The big ones, who will duck for a moment, will come back,“ said the minister. „Reason will not be stopped permanently.“

The US has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement as one of the largest polluters of greenhouse gases. At the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, US President Donald Trump continued to be in an isolated position – all the other participants stressed on Saturday, however, that the climate agreement was irreversible. Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her confidence in the success of the Climate Conference.

Development Minister Müller warned against closing his eyes to global warming. „We can pretend that we are not aware of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, but nothing would improve,“ said the CSU politician to the editorial network Germany (RND / Monday). The earth will be able to cope with three, four degrees plus. „Human life, as we know it, will then hardly be possible,“ warned the minister.

Müller has great expectations for the conference. „Climate protection is a question of survival for humankind, and Katowice must bring about a clear turnaround, where the decisions must be made to implement the Paris Agreement in a binding manner,“ Müller told the „Passauer Neue Presse“ (Monday). He finds it disappointing that of 184 countries, only 17 are on schedule and that Germany is behind its own goals. But the Federal Republic will catch up ambitiously and go ahead.

Germany has announced that it will double its annual contribution to the United Nations Green Climate Fund from 2019 to 1.5 billion euros. The funds are funded by wealthier countries, while climate protection projects in emerging and developing countries are financed.

At the same time, the minister emphasized the responsibility of the developed industrialized countries. „The richest 10 percent of the world account for 50 percent of carbon emissions, and the worst hit is the poorest countries with the lowest emissions,“ Müller told the RND.