Merkel: binding, verifiable climate targets needed

July 4, 2011 By JUERGEN BAETZ , Associated Press
German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, right, and South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane attend the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, Sunday, July 3, 2011. International delegations have gathered on Sunday in Berlin for a two-day conference to prepare for the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Durban. (AP Photo/Thomas Peter, Pool)

(AP) -- All nations must commit to binding and verifiable goals to reduce their carbon emissions to reach a new international climate agreement as the Kyoto Protocol expires next year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

"We now need concrete measures in every country," Merkel told environment ministers and negotiators from 35 countries gathered in Berlin to lay the groundwork for an international in Durban, South Africa, starting November 28.

Germany and the European Union are pushing to agree on "a single and legally binding treaty" replacing the , with industrialized nations taking the lead and also contributing to reduce , Merkel said.

The 1997 treaty, named after the Japanese city, bound nearly 40 countries to specific targets.

"Kyoto expires. That's why we have to make it clear what will be the way forward," Merkel told the representatives at the informal two-day meeting co-chaired by Germany and South Africa.

The conference in Durban is unlikely to yield a final agreement, but major steps in that direction have to be achieved, Merkel said.

"We have a giant task here," she added, referring to resistance from nations reaching from the U.S. to China to agree on ambitious binding climate targets.

Merkel stressed that emission reduction targets must not only be binding, but also verifiable. "As a matter of transparency ... it is necessary that someone can examine whether one sticks to the commitments," Merkel said.

The institution or the process overseeing the progress toward achieving the goals will also have to be agreed on, Merkel said.

Taking steps to fight now comes with a cost and requires efforts, "but inaction would be yet more expensive," she said. "This is a challenge for humankind as a whole."

Scientists say climate change already has begun with more , more frequent and the melting of Arctic ice.

In the negotiations toward a post-Kyoto agreement, developing countries have insisted that the nearly 40 countries bound to specific reductions targets by the 1997 treaty renew and expand their commitments when they expire in 2012.

But industrialized countries stress they want the rest of the world to show willingness to accept legal obligations, if not now at least in the future.

The last time world leaders tried to break the rich-poor deadlock on climate change was at the 2009 Copenhagen summit, which ended in disillusionment. Instead of a legal agreement, it concluded with a political statement brokered by President Barack Obama that failed to win unanimous approval and adoption by the conference.

Merkel said Sunday that achieving the previously agreed goal of avoiding the planet's overall climate to warm up more than two degrees Celsius will require to get carbon dioxide emissions per head down to two tons, with the U.S. standing at 20 tons, Germany at 10 tons and China above 4 tons.

The chancellor said "emerging economies must share part of the burden because industrialized nations alone cannot reach the goal."

Merkel also said she had "very detailed" discussions on climate change earlier this week with visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, stressing "the fundamental importance it also has for China."

In one of the world's most ambitious climate targets, Germany has pledged to reduce its by 40 percent by 2020 compared to the 1990 level.

In addition, the country decided to abandon nuclear power by 2022 and to replace it mainly by doubling the share of renewable energies in its electricity production to 35 percent within ten years, and to 80 percent by 2050.

Explore further: Researchers discuss climate change and small-scale fisheries in the pacific


Related Stories

US intel chief issues warning about climate change

February 13, 2018

The top US intelligence official issued a warning on Tuesday about the dangers of climate change in testimony that was seemingly at odds with the skepticism of President Donald Trump and other members of his administration.

Recommended for you


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2011
Until Al Gore and the UN's IPCC order the release of all experimental data at the base of their dire predictions of "An Inconvenient Truth",

A total moratorium is requested on additional dire climate forecasts by any scientist receiving government research funds.

The key issue is just this, and nothing else:

Do we face "An Inconvenient Truth" or

"A Convenient Untruth" for politicians?

That is the question.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2011
The Declaration of Independence adopted in Congress 235 years ago, on July 4th, 1776:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The next 235 years will be better yet, if we can convince politicians and world leaders that they are far less powerful than the forces of Nature !

With best wishes,
Oliver K. Manuel
not rated yet Jul 05, 2011
For the time being,
extinction is a force of Nature.
2 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2011
@ omatumr

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

@ hush1:
Also for the time being,

freedom is a right endowed by nature's God.

...At least until usurped by those who somehow think they know better.
not rated yet Jul 07, 2011
"freedom is a right endowed by nature's God. " - ricaguy

Of course.

No right needed for freedom endowed by Nature.

And those not knowing any better will chose freedom as a right.

Nothing like the 'rights' and 'freedoms'
not rated yet Jul 07, 2011
Typo error and correction:
Ignore "Nothing like the 'rights' and 'freedoms'"
not rated yet Jul 08, 2011
Scientists say climate change already has begun with more extreme weather events, more frequent heat waves

According to NOAA/NCDC, that isn't true. The records show that recent weather is consistent with previous decades, and that the apparent increase is a product of better observation and monitoring technology.

will require to get carbon dioxide emissions per head down to two tons

The tons per capita are irrelevant. Tons per acre would be a better measure in terms of global carbon in the atmosphere. Most places don't even have accurate census data.

Doesn't matter to us anyway. The US isn't going to get involved in anything like that in the near future. Maybe California can join on their own though?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.