With the world reeling from the economic fallout from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, top officials from 40 countries met in Berlin on Monday for candid talks on staying focused on fighting climate change and addressing its impact.
Organizers have billed the two-day meeting as an opportunity to rebuild trust between rich and poor nations ahead of this year’s UN climate summit in Egypt, after technical talks last month made little progress on issues. as climate aid for developing countries.
“Many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are experiencing severe climate shocks now,” Germany’s climate envoy Jennifer Morgan told The Associated Press. “The question is how to support them both in adapting to those impacts and when they experience real loss and damage. We must also show more solidarity.”
Developing countries still expect rich nations to provide $100 billion in climate aid each year, a goal they were due to hit by 2020.
Yet big polluters have also long resisted the idea that they should pay for the destruction their greenhouse gas emissions are wreaking around the world.
The closed-door talks in Berlin begin with a presentation by experts on the topic of “loss and damage” to the ministers, who will then break into small groups to discuss and listen to each other in the hope of building trust ahead of the meeting. of the UN in November. summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The meeting in Berlin comes as scientists say the extreme heat that has hit much of the northern hemisphere in recent weeks could become the new normal in the summer if global warming continues.
“While this meeting is taking place, parts of Europe are baking, indeed burning; and sadly it is an experience that is already all too familiar to many millions around the world,” said Alok Sharma, the British official who led last year’s climate talks in Glasgow. He told delegates as the meeting opened: “My plea to all of you is, please let us speed up our work.”
“It behooves us in these uncertain times to act quickly to ensure that climate action remains high on the international agenda, and that the current situation is not taken as a pretext to backtrack or renege on previous commitments, especially those related to climate change. I support developing countries,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who will chair the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.
China was participating in the Berlin meeting. Russia was not invited.
The issue of energy sources endangered by Russia’s war in Ukraine looms over the talks.
Environmental activists warn that recent efforts by countries like Germany to harness new sources of fossil fuels could undermine the countries’ already fragile climate actions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to discuss the purchase of liquefied natural gas from Egypt with the country’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Berlin on Monday, just a few miles from where talks on the climate.
“Russian war of aggression is forcing us to make short-term decisions that we don’t like, including increasing coal use for a very limited period of time,” said Morgan, who was previously director of Greenpeace International.
“But we’re not just firmly sticking to our climate goals: we’re accelerating the energy transition and will phase out fossil energy use even faster,” he added, citing a recently approved plan to ramp up solar and wind power. generation in Germany.
US climate envoy John Kerry also comes to the talks following setbacks in the US by President Joe Biden in his efforts to regulate pollution and boost renewable energy such as wind and electricity. solar.
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