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On COP23 and the coalition negotiations in Berlin:"Stabilizing the climate, modernizing Germany"

11/10/2017 - "If we stabilize the climate, we will also establish more stability in the world. This requires national pioneers. Germany will lose its position as a role model if it does not quickly and effectively reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases, which have so far stagnated at a high level. The phasing out of coal is an indispensable step in this respect." This was the message from leading scientists at yesterday's press conference of the German Climate Consortium (DKK) at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In a statement on the UN Climate Change Conference and the current negotiations on forming a new German government, leading climate scientists addressed policymakers and the public, including the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Mojib Latif from the Helmholtz Centre for Oceanography Kiel (GEOMAR), Monika Rhein from the Institute for Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen and Gernot Klepper from the Institute for World Economy at the University of Bremen.

The German Climate Consortium DKK has issued a statement on the UN Climate Change Conference and the coalition talks in Berlin:


Stabilizing the climate, modernizing Germany

The Climate Change Conference in Bonn is also sending a message to Berlin, where the parties are now negotiating the formation of a new federal government - this was stated on Thursday by leading researchers who are members of the German Climate Consortium (DKK). The effects of climate change are already being felt today, and Germany should begin the phase-out of coal-powered electricity in order to reduce greenhouse gases, says the joint declaration by climate scientists.

"With a stabilized climate, there can also be more stability in the world," reads the statement of the DKK. "Extreme weather and rising sea levels threaten human life, nature and property. Risks for global supply chains or increasing migration are further consequences. This also applies to Germany. Climate protection is part of a preventive policy for stability and security. For global climate stabilization to succeed, as agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement, national role models like Germany - which has made a great contribution towards advancing climate protection -  and comprehensive climate research are needed. Climate protection secures Germany's role as a technological pioneer and export nation."

Start the exit from coal
In Germany, emissions have not fallen in the past eight years - despite the expansion of renewable energies, which already in 2016 accounted for 29 percent of the electricity mix. "Without an exit from coal, Germany will miss the 2020 climate target by a huge margin - greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by only 32 percent instead of the promised 40 percent. The politicians in charge must use the next legislative period to readjust. The withdrawal from coal is the first inevitable step in this direction," said Mojib Latif at the public presentation of the statement in Berlin. He is chairman of the German Climate Consortium and researcher at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Oceanography in Kiel. Latif continued: "Without a global movement away from coal-fired power generation, the Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global warming to well below two degrees cannot be met."

With a stabilized climate, there can also be more stability in the world
Even current global warming of as yet just one degree increase in global mean temperature is having drastic effects. "Weather extremes are on the increase and even affect us in Germany, for instance through heavy rainfall," said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "Particularly in poorer countries, however, droughts, floods or hurricanes can trigger a cascade of consequences, as research shows. In Puerto Rico, for instance, one of the devastating hurricanes of this autumn destroyed the economic development of years within hours, health care was also hit hard. Of course, such extreme events increase migration. It's in the hands of the coalition negotiators in Berlin whether they want to open the door to further climate chaos - or whether they want to secure stability for Germany and the world."

Sea-level rise threatens Fiji Islands
The Republic of Fiji is the first small island nation to hold the presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference. This brings the concerns and needs of such particularly vulnerable and less developed countries into focus. "Island states such as the Republic of Fiji are particularly affected by sea-level rise as their coastlines rise only slightly above the Pacific. In addition, the sea levels in this region have been rising twice as fast as the global average since satellite measurements began in 1992", said Monika Rhein, oceanographer at the University of Bremen. "The sea level will continue to rise and will threaten many large coastal cities. We can, however, control the amount/level of sea-level rise by sustainable climate policy."

Using the CO2 price as an accelerator of the energy turnaround
The Paris objective can only be achieved if there is sufficient progress on transforming global energy systems. "In addition to a free market, new statutory and politico-economic conditions are needed. They can provide companies and consumers with the incentives they need to reduce their energy and resource consumption as quickly as possible. The key element that economists have long been demanding is a price for greenhouse gas emissions, commonly known as the CO2 price. Such a price is the much-needed accelerator of the energy transition in Germany and worldwide. Even without it, the energy turnaround is already underway, but it is far too slow," said Gernot Klepper, climate economist at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Link and download
The complete statement can be found online: www.klima-konsortium.de/stellungnahme-cop23

Climate interview with PIK director Schellnhuber on the press briefing:

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