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"An alliance is emerging": climate summit COP22 concludes

11/18/2016 - The UN climate summit COP22 in Morocco sent a signal of renewed confidence in the Paris climate agreement - despite the widespread concern that the USA under President Donald Trump might drop out of international climate policy. Leading scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research most actively participated in the international meeting which concluded today. Countries including oil-exporting Saudia Arabia expressed the wish to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Almost 200 nations at two-week talks agreed a statement that the fight against climate change was an "urgent duty" and "irreversible".
"An alliance is emerging": climate summit COP22 concludes

Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry in a passionate speech at the COP22 climate summit called upon his fellow Americans to continue tackling the climate challenge. Photo: UNFCCC

"An alliance from California to Germany to China is emerging and they stand for the new economy," said PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber to Reuters newswire. "Trump, (Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin stand for the old economy." The world will move ahead, he said. "However, from a scientific perspective it is clear that the emission reductions pledged so far by governments accross the world do not suffice to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius," Schellnhuber told the leading German news agency dpa. "To avoid the bulk of climate risks, governments definitely need to increase their efforts."

"Exit from coal"

"We need to exit from coal use if governments want to stay true to the climate stabilization targets they agreed in Paris one year ago - the ratcheting up of national emission reductions that follows from the Marrakech climate summit should therefore include carefully designed coal phase-out plans," said Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of PIK and Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change. "Pricing CO2 emissions would be a sensible way to help quitting coal use, which is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. It would incentivize renewable energy and provide governments with revenues for much-needed infrastructure improvements. The greatest economies, united in the G20, at their meeting under German presidency next summer, could substantially advance these instruments to reach the climate targets they themselves set."

Both Schellnhuber and Edenhofer attended the second week of the summit, along with a number of other PIK researchers that have been actively involved in side events - from novel scientific approaches for insuring farmers in Africa agains yield failure to policy options for the greatest economies, assembled in the G20, for effective CO2 pricing. The leading scientists, among other things, briefed the German delegation to the UN summit.

Washington Post and Frankfurter Allgemeine report

Many media reports drew from PIK expertise. Besides Reuters and dpa, Schellnhuber also talked for instance to the Washington Post. Together with Axel Weber of UBS bank and Christian Thimann of AXA insurance he published a Project Syndicate op-ed on what finance can do for climate stabilization - the piece has been picked up for instance by the Gulf Times. The weekly edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung run an interview with Edenhofer who has also been approached by Valor Economico of Brazil and the Economic Times of India as well as the Russian news agency Interfax, to name just a few.

(to be updated and translated into German)

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