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One day before the two-week COP23 Climate Change Conference commenced, Federal Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller opened the Climate Planet in Bonn's Rheinauen Park.
In 2017, Danish NGO Global Citizen created the largest replica of the earth to celebrate Aarhus designation at European Capital of Culture. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GIZ brought it to Bonn. The opening event was organised by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum.
Minister Müller, Frank Bainimarama, prime minister of COP23 host country Fiji, and Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) spoke to some 200 guests about the importance of implementing the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement in order to limit the global rise in temperature to two degrees by the middle of the century: "We have to be better and move faster, otherwise the successes we have achieved so far in combating climate change are in danger,” Müller said.
The minister emphasised the important contribution people in the industrialized countries could make by comprehensively changing their consumption patterns. According to Müller, every person in Germany generates about 9.5 tons of CO2 annually compared to only half a ton per person in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Fiji.
Not only was the per capita consumption of fossil fuels in industrialised countries much higher than in the countries of the Global South, Müller added, the latter were also particularly vulnerable to climate change. Minister Müller cited climate risk insurance as an important instrument for mitigating these effects, as it would help governments and individual farmers recoup their losses for damage caused by droughts or floods.
Müller emphasized the need for a new climate and development policy concept that centred on the key issue of the climate: "It also needs to make it onto the future federal government’s agenda," he said. Germany, he added, had an important role to play in the fight against climate change.
According to Müller, the development ministry was also increasing its efforts to protect the climate and is on schedule to be climate neutral by 2020.
Fiji Prime Minster Frank Bainimarama thanked Germany for hosting the UN Climate Change Conference. Fiji placed protecting the seas on the negotiations agenda as a primary issue.
UN Climate Change Secretariat Secretary-General Patricia Espinosa also called for meeting the two-degree target to minimise irreparable climate damage: "Let us go forth. Let us complete our work. Let us act with a renewed sense of purpose,” she encouraged the audience.
Bonn Mayor Ashok Sridharan expressed his admiration for Climate Planet, and noted that it was an important contribution to raising awareness of climate change among young people in particular.
The BMZ and the City of Bonn presented Climate Planet with support from the GIZ. Visitors can walk right into the interior of the earth and explore the climate from the inside. The exhibit features a 360-degree screen shaped like a globe showing a documentary that strikingly illustrates and explains the earth's climate and evolution.
Picture above: Climate Planet opens in Bonn’s Rheinauen Park. Photo: matzke-foto.de