Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Merkel suggests new way of fighting global warming

  • The Kyoto protocol is due to expire in 2012 (Photo: EUobserver)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has outlined a new model for fighting global warming in a bid to get both industrialised and developing countries on board.

In a speech in Japan on Thursday (30 August), Ms Merkel suggested that carbon dioxide emissions - thought to be the main reason for climate change - should be tailored to the size of a country's population.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We have to assume that emerging nations naturally don't want the same responsibility" as industrialised nations, the chancellor said, according to Deutsche Welle.

She went on to suggest that developing countries should be allowed to increase their emissions per head while industrialised countries should decrease emissions per head until the two sides meet.

The proposal is aimed particularly at countries such as India and China who are growing at a fierce economic pace and fear their competitiveness will be harmed if they have to adhere to strict green limits.

They believe they should not have to pay for the current state of the environment when it was largely richer countries that caused it.

Rich countries, on the other hand, see big emerging states as the future major pollutants and say they need to be fully signed up to fighting climate change.

Ms Merkel also stressed that countries need to set specific targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions indicating that vague commitments to do better are not enough.

"We are not going to get around the need for quantifiable reduction goals," said the chancellor.

She also said that the US must be a part of any international deal on climate change for it to be a success.

Until now Washington has refused to commit itself to the world's main tool for combating global warming - the international Kyoto treaty on climate change.

"I think America will cooperate - America must cooperate. If we can't find a regulatory regime that is accepted by the USA, then China and India will never agree to reduction targets," said the chancellor.

This is the second time she has made such a public stand on the issue. In June, as current president of the G8, she chaired a meeting that saw six of the world's most industrialised countries agree to at least halve global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Russia and the US - as the remaining two of the G8 countries were not on board - but she is credited with getting US president George W. Bush to agree that all G8 countries should make substantial but undefined cuts.

Ms Merkel's latest ideas are part of an ongoing international discussion on the period after 2012, when the Kyoto protocol expires.

Efforts at fighting climate change at the political level have stepped up recently as ordinary people see and feel the effects of drought, flooding or other catastrophes of global warming.

The EU likes to see itself as the world leader on this front. It has pioneered the first multi-country emissions trading system for businesses – something it also intends to extend to aeroplanes. It is planning to start producing cleaner cars and has set itself ambitious CO2-reducing goals.

However, it is also undergoing much internal debate on whether it can manage to compete economically while adhering to strict green targets.

NGOs query Merkel's G8 climate 'success'

World leaders yesterday managed to stave off calamity headlines at their G8 summit in Heiligendamm, but their climate change "breakthrough" has been condemned as insufficient. Meanwhile, the Russian leader surprised his US counterpart with an alternative suggestion on the missile defence shield.

Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP

Reinhard Buetikofer, who participated in the failed coalition talks, puts the blame squarely on FDP being 'afraid to govern', but hopes "there will be a lot of phone calls" to German politicians on the consequences of the deadlock in Berlin.

Opinion

Eastern partners, eastern problems

The EU must hold out the olive branch of possible membership in the distant future - but the current domestic problems in the ex-Soviet states, let alone their links to Russia make more than that difficult.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya