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Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Berlin for Petersberg Climate Dialogue IV

May 6, 2013

Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and his Polish counterpart Marcin Korolec have invited some 35 ministers from all regions of the world to participate in the fourth Petersberg Climate Dialogue from 5 to 7 May 2013. The goal of the dialogue is to facilitate informal discussions of key issues in international climate policy. It serves to complement the UN climate negotiations (not to duplicate or replace them) in order to lend greater momentum to the political process that underlies international climate action. Under the heading “Shaping the future”, the fourth dialogue meeting aims to make a constructive contribution to the next UN climate change conference (COP 19) in Warsaw at the end of the year, and beyond.

Minister Balakrishnan shared Singapore’s initiatives in energy conservation, fuel efficiency, green buildings, traffic management and research and development of clean environment technologies.

The focus of the dialogue was on the following questions:

  1. How can we shape an ambitious, effective and fair climate agreementwith active participation from all countries by 2015, and implement it from 2020?
  2. How can the UN climate process bring about more climate action at national level up to 2020, so that we can remain below the 2°C ceiling?
  3. How can international climate policy create effective incentives for more private investment to advance the transformation towards a low-emission economy?
  4. How can the climate change conference in Warsaw help us to achieve our main goals, and what are the most important milestones on the path to a new agreement in 2015?

Discussing these questions is intended to generate political momentum for international climate policy, which can then be translated into concrete progress in the UN negotiations this year.

The dialogue strives to achieve the following results:

  • Potential elements of a new international climate agreement and different options for the type and structure of the agreement will be debated. There are already indications that different players have different ideas regarding the shape and role of a new climate agreement. A discussion at an early stage in the process will enhance understanding of the different options and their consequences, and will facilitate consensus.
  • Important milestones are to be identified for the period up to 2015. These should cover the negotiations on a post-2020 agreement and the implementation and strengthening of national climate action with the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C.
  • Effective strategies are to be presented on how support and commitment by the general public can be ensured, in particular at national level. In this context, it will be important to explore how governments can give incentives to various stakeholders (e.g. the private sector or civil society) to back political decisions for more climate action and to make a greater contribution to the fight against climate change themselves.

Federal Environment Minister Altmaier and Polish Environment Minister Korolec will compile a political summary of the meeting (“co-chairs’ summary”) so that the results can feed directly into the UN negotiations. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel will open the conference.

Context and background

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue – complementing the negotiations since 2010

Initiative:

Federal Chancellor Merkel initiated the Petersberg Climate Dialogue after theUN climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Germany has a long tradition (UN climate change conference in Berlin in 1995, EU and G8Presidency in 2007) as a political pioneer in international climate policy. Today, Germany shows with its Energiewende project how important it is to take concrete steps at the national level to implement the economic transformation towards a low-carbon future, thus being in a better position to fulfil international obligations. This approach can be a model for others.

Purpose:

The purpose of the dialogue is to advance international climate action at several levels:

  1. UN climate negotiations: Scheduled in the middle of the year, the dialogue gives ministers the opportunity for political reflection on the decisions taken at past UN conferences and for an open discussion on the desired outcome of the next UN conference(s). The Petersberg Climate Dialogue meetings in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 made it clear that ambitious climate policy must remain among the priorities of the international community.
  2. National climate policy of participating countries: The dialogue will also build a bridge between “implementation and negotiation”. It provides a platform for an exchange on the challenges countries face in the implementation and planning of national climate measures. The International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV (measurement, reporting and verification, www.mitigationpartnership.net ) promotes international networking and practical exchange. The dialogue also helps players to use experience gained in the implementation of climate action for the UNclimate negotiations.
Status:

The initiative to establish the Petersberg Climate Dialogue originated in Germany. The meetings are co-chaired by Germany and the upcoming Presidency of the UN climate negotiations (Mexico in 2010, South Africa in 2011, Qatar in 2012 and Poland this year). Participants come from all regions of the world and all negotiating groups. Discussions are held in an informal style to facilitate an open and honest debate. Similar to the meetings in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Germany and its co-host have invited about 35 countries to this year’s conference. The diverse and representative character of the dialogue sends an important signal: all countries together should shoulder the responsibility for effective climate action and demonstrate joint leadership in the international arena.

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