Hollande and Merkel back long term carbon cutting goal

EU heavyweights say global economy must be decarbonised by 2100, back carbon markets to deliver cuts and growth

(Pic: Petersberg Climate Dialogue)

(Pic: Petersberg Climate Dialogue)

By Ed King

Germany and France have backed moves to target radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions later this century, as part of a global climate deal.

The leaders of the two countries made the call at a climate conference in Berlin, where ministers from 35 countries are meeting to lay the foundations for a proposed UN pact later this year.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said a “complete shift to carbon free economic action” should be the goal for Paris, where the agreement is set to be finalised.

“We advocate reductions of at least 60% on 2010 levels by 2050, and this should be the long term goal,” she told the meeting.

This would correspond to worldwide cuts of 50% on 1990 levels. “It is ambitious but I think we will be able to make it,” she said.

Scientists with Climate Action Tracker say emissions will need to be zero between 2060 and 2080 and possibly negative after for a decent chance of avoiding warming of beyond 2C, a ceiling world leaders agreed to avoid in 2009.

Emissions from industry and combustion would need to be zero “no later than 2065” the CAT team write.

Early deal

France president Francois Hollande backed the call for a long term goal, suggesting a climate deal offered the chance to create a “new development model”.

A legally binding agreement to limit warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels would be the “first pillar” of the Paris deal, he told delegates.

Hollande urged countries who had not submitted their proposed contributions to a UN deal to do so as soon as possible.

“The best possible agreement will see the meeting concluded before [Paris],” he added.

European climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said a long term goal could offer countries a “yardstick to measure the level of efforts”.

“We also need a travel guide – accounting and rules. And also a timetable, with a dynamic global review every five years.”

Funding drought

Hollande warned ministers that “nothing would move forward” unless public and private flows of finance to help developing countries invest in greener energy systems were ramped up.

The forthcoming G7 summit which Merkel will chair should offer some clarity on how developed countries will meet their promise of US$ 100 billion of climate finance by 2020, she said.

Both leaders suggested financing instruments that could deliver results after Paris were agreement on carbon pricing and more links between the world’s carbon markets, ensuring economies would grow while emissions fall.

“I still recall negotiations in Copenhagen [2009 UN climate summit] we were not able to agree on funding… industrialised countries have to take the lead again,” said Merkel

“At the G7 we will raise issue with World Bank president… maybe in margins of G20 this can be also discussed.”

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