20 July 2022
Petersberg Dialogue Prioritizes Loss and Damage, Energy Transition
Photo by Patrick Hendry
story highlights

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for a doubling of collective adaptation finance from 2019 levels to enable the delivery of the USD 100 billion goal in annual climate financing by 2023.

The EU showed support for operationalizing the Santiago Network on loss and damage while acknowledging that “there is no level of adaptation and loss and damage that will be able to address the issue if we do not do better on mitigation”.

Decarbonization and acceleration of the global energy transition were discussed at length.

The 13th Petersberg Climate Dialogue brought together high-level representatives from around 40 countries ranging from vulnerable island nations like the Marshall Islands to heavily emitting states such as China, India, and the US, for a round of talks in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27). A package of actions under discussion included climate change mitigation and energy transition, adaptation and loss and damage, and climate finance.

For the first time since it assumed responsibility for climate diplomacy, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office co-hosted the Dialogue with Egypt’s incoming COP 27 Presidency.

Highlighting the climate crisis as “the most important challenge of our time,” which “threatens peace and stability worldwide,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said this year’s Dialogue met at a time when “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is exacerbating a global energy and food crisis that is pushing millions into poverty, hunger and starvation.” She underscored Germany’s commitment to “building trust and promoting multilateral cooperation.”

Baerbock stressed the need to “give adaptation and loss and damage the attention they deserve” and to “breathe life” into the Global Goal on Adaptation by agreeing global and regional priorities. She highlighted agreement among the Group of 7 (G7) Foreign Ministers “to scale up anticipatory humanitarian action to address unavoidable loss and damage” and efforts by the G7 Development Ministers to expand disaster risk finance and insurance to vulnerable countries. Germany holds the G7 2022 Presidency.

Baerbock called for a doubling of collective adaptation finance from 2019 levels to enable the delivery of the USD 100 billion goal in annual climate financing by 2023. She indicated that Germany’s Special Envoy for International Climate Action Jennifer Morgan and Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault are working closely to develop a progress report for the 2021 Climate Finance Delivery Plan.

Baerbock highlighted decarbonization and acceleration of the global energy transition as key priorities, and urged shifting financial flows towards climate neutrality. She acknowledged, however, that in the short term, Germany “will have to revamp coal-fired plants as an emergency reserve,” to reduce dependency on Russian oil and gas. In this context, she stressed the importance of renewables and energy efficiency not only for protecting the climate, but also for safeguarding energy security. Calling renewable energy “freedom energy,” Baerbock drew attention to Germany’s goal of having renewables contribute at least 80% to the country’s electricity consumption by 2030. She indicated Germany’s readiness to support international cooperation on renewable supply chains, a global market for green hydrogen, and storage and energy efficiency regulations.

“We are almost reaching a situation where Mother Earth is going to shed humanity as an old skin, rid itself of all of us,” said Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans. He signaled the EU’s support for operationalizing the Santiago Network on loss and damage while acknowledging that “there is no level of adaptation and loss and damage that will be able to address the issue if we do not do better on mitigation.”

Timmermans reported that the EU plans to conclude negotiations on its ‘Fit for 55’ legislative programme, which includes an EU-wide target of reducing net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030. He further indicated that while some member States have to increase their use of fossil fuels in the short term, “it will not take us off our targets to reduce our emissions by 55%.”

On behalf of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), Ghana said adaptation, loss and damage, the 1.5ºC goal, and the urgent need to scale up accessible finance “must be at the center” of the COP 27 outcome, calling for “dedicated funding to address loss and damage,” an implementation plan for doubling adaptation funding by 2025, and stronger mitigation targets from “the most capable and responsible nations” by the pre-COP. He said the Vulnerable 20’s (V20) new funding programme for addressing loss and damage could “help inspire aspects of any ultimate global facility,” and drew attention to the vulnerable countries’ proposal for COP 27 to mandate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to develop a special report on loss and damage.

Ghana highlighted the findings of a V20 report that “the world’s most at-risk nations would be twice as wealthy today in the absence of climate change,” and characterized debt relief as a tool “to empower governments to invest in strategic areas of development,” such as education, healthcare, digitization, affordable and sustainable energy, and climate-resilient infrastructure. 

In a video message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries to take responsibility for “our collective future,” rebuild trust, and come together “to keep 1.5°C alive and to build climate-resilient communities.” Calling for “a just energy transition that accelerates coal phase-out with a corresponding deployment of renewables,” he looked to the G7 and G20 for leadership on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and renewables, and recognized the key role of partnerships, such as between the EU, UK, US, and South Africa, in enabling such transition.

Guterres stressed the need to:

  • demonstrate at COP 27 that a renewables revolution is underway;
  • ensure universal early warning systems coverage in the next five years and double adaptation finance to USD 40 billion a year;
  • introduce deadlines and timelines for the delivery of USD 100 billion in climate finance annually; and
  • address loss and damage within the multilateral climate process, including finance for loss and damage.

Taking place against the backdrop of global crises, the 13th Petersberg Climate Dialogue sought to “strengthen trust both in multilateral climate negotiations and between states.” Selected countries gathered in Berlin, Germany, from 17-19 July, at the invitation of the German Foreign Minister, “to prepare the ground for successful negotiations at the COP.”

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue process was launched in 2010 by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Dialogues convene annually and are co-hosted by Germany and the country that takes over the chair of the next UN Climate Change Conference. UNFCCC COP 27 will take place from 7-18 November in Sharm el‑Sheikh, Egypt. [German Federal Foreign Office Article] [UNFCCC COP 27 Presidency Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story about 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue]

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