How should we respond to a changing climate, lifestyles and economies?

November 15, 2017 | COP 23 | Bonn, Germany

On November 15, 2017, the second dialogue on the climate, “How should we respond to a changing climate, lifestyles and economies?” held at the Climate Planet in Bonn’s Rheinauen Park, explored pressing issues, such as how to shape economic development so it doesn’t drive resource consumption and whether growth and climate protection are truly irreconcilable.

State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Dr Friedrich Kitschelt, Managing Director of Climate-Alliance Germany Dr Christiane Averbeck, Managing Director of MISEREOR Monsignor Pirmin Spiegel, and Prof Klaus Töpfer, former head of the UN Environment Programme and former federal minister of the environment, discussed the next steps in the fight against climate change in front of a full house at the Climate Planet. They also took questions from the some 250 guests who attended the event organised by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum.

State Secretary Kitschelt underlined the urgency of meeting the climate targets set in Paris and the 2030 Agenda. He pointed to development projects the BMZ launched last year, which will save 240 million tonnes of CO2, roughly the annual output of 100 coal-fired power plants.

What can we do to combat climate change?

Kitschelt said development policy and climate protection were inextricably intertwined. Of the federal funds earmarked for combating climate change, 2.8 billion euros were from the BMZ's budget alone, he added, "making us the foreign office for climate change." The State Secretary highlighted three key steps essential to achieving set climate targets: implementing a global energy revolution, decoupling economic growth from resource consumption, and advancing regional solutions.

Christiane Averbeck called on NGOs to raise awareness for climate protection “on the street” and emphasised public outreach as an important task for the 115-member Climate-Alliance. She noted that people industrialised countries in particular needed to cut back their meat consumption, adding, "We have to reduce it by two thirds by 2050." Averbeck cited phasing out coal as the most urgent issue for reducing CO2 emissions.

Pirmin Spiegel emphasized that ideas and solutions from people from developing countries had to be heard and implemented. He argued that development driven by external pressure from donor countries could never achieve lasting success. “Development must come from within, and we have got to learn how to listen," Spiegel said.

Klaus Töpfer, who attended the Rio conference back in 1992 when the concept of sustainable development was defined as the key paradigm for future development and climate policy, pointed to the urgent need to implement practical measures to meet climate targets: "I would really like to see us get up and moving," Töpfer said: "It is not enough to ratify the Paris Agreement worldwide; we have to realize it too.”

Picture above: Pirmin Spiegel, Christiane Averbeck, Friedrich Kitschelt und Klaus Töpfer beim Klimadialog im Climate Planet. Photo: foto-matzke.de

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