Available as a video stream: MCC Policy Dialogue on new IPCC report
What does the new global assessment mean for Germany? We discussed this with federal ministries, industry, consumer and non-governmental organisations (in German).
A major effort is now needed if the world wants to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. German policy must use the entire solution space and develop strategies that make it easier for people to protect the climate. This is the conclusion of the public “Policy Dialogue” on the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which took place today in the well-attended conference centre “Axica” in Berlin-Mitte and in parallel on the internet. The event was hosted by the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change). With experts from science, politics, business, and society, it is still available as a video stream via the Youtube player on the right.
The Policy Dialogue was prompted by the recent IPCC publication on “Mitigating Climate Change”, which is the largest assessment of global climate policy in eight years. “We are still heading for the wall, albeit at a reduced speed,” as MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer described the core message of this report. “We have not yet succeeded in operating a steering wheel to drive away from the wall.” The European Green Deal, which aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050, is at least a step towards this, he said. “It is not only important for the climate, but also for geopolitics; Europe is acting as a strong demand cartel,” Edenhofer emphasised, referring to the changed environment caused by the Ukraine war. “The Green Deal signals that Europe will reduce imports of fossil energies.”
Sven Giegold, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), said in his keynote speech: “In our house, we are working on getting away from Russian gas and oil as quickly as possible. The crisis creates additional legitimacy for the energy transition.” However, he said, the transformation must be carefully managed. “We must not make the mistake that our talk about climate protection is perceived as a restriction of freedom,” Giegold warned. “Under no circumstances must we lapse back into the moralism of the ecology movement of the 1980s.”
From the other side, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) also has had a long way to go, said its Deputy Director General Holger Lösch. “After all, these are all paths to consciousness, even for an industry. It's quite clear: a four-degree world is not an entrepreneur's paradise!” Lösch discussed the issue together with BMWK department head Birgit Schwenk and Viviane Raddatz from the environmental foundation WWF Germany following input from MCC group leader Jan Minx. As Coordinating Lead Author in the IPCC report, Minx was in charge of the chapter on emission trends.“ The global CO2 emissions of the last decade are comparable to the current budget left to achieve the 1.5 degree target,” Minx clarified. “The IPCC is clearer than ever in this report: atmospheric carbon removals are not an optional extra, they are a necessary complement to strong and deep emission reductions.”
Input for a second panel round was provided by MCC Group Leader Felix Creutzig, as Coordinating Lead Author in charge of the chapter on demand-side climate solutions, included for the first time in an IPCC Assessment Report. These address energy use behaviour in mobility, housing, and diet. “By 2050, emissions could fall by 40 to 70 percent if the state helps with choice architecture, i.e. framework conditions and investments.” How this could be done was discussed by Klaus Bonhoff, Head of the Policy Principles Department at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), Thomas Engelke, Team Leader at the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv), and Kerstin Haarmann, Federal Chairwoman of the Transport Club Germany (VCD). The essence of the discussion was that climate protection and wellbeing are compatible if politics ensures choices. To illustrate this, Haarmann held her mobile phone in the air: “In the future, the smartphone and not the car must stand for individual mobility."