‘Time is running out’: US, Germany intensify climate change fight | Climate Crisis News

The agreement will see the two countries develop and deploy technologies to accelerate the clean energy transition, particularly in the areas of offshore wind power, zero-emission vehicles and hydrogen.

The United States and Germany have signed an agreement to deepen cooperation in switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy in an effort to control climate change.

Friday’s deal will see the two countries work together to develop and deploy technologies that will accelerate that clean energy transition, particularly in the areas of offshore wind power, zero-emission vehicles and hydrogen.

The US and Germany pledged to also collaborate in promoting ambitious climate policies and energy security around the world.

US climate envoy John Kerry said the two countries aim to benefit from an early shift to clean energy through the creation of new jobs and opportunities for businesses in the growing renewable energy market.

Such a market relies on a common standard regarding hydrogen which can be classified as “green”, for example. Officials will now work to reach a common definition to ensure hydrogen produced on one side of the Atlantic can be sold on the other.

Robert Habeck, Germany’s minister of energy and climate, said the agreement reflected the urgency of tackling global warming. Scientists say sharp emission reductions will need to occur worldwide this decade if the goals set out in the 2015 Paris climate accord are to be met.

“Time is really running out,” said Habeck, calling climate change a “challenge of our political generation.”

‘A very concrete declaration’

The US-Germany agreement was signed on the sidelines of a meeting of energy and climate ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations.

The group is expected to announce a series of new commitments on Friday to tackle climate change, including a joint target to phase out the burning of coal for electricity and increase financial support to poor countries affected by global warming.

Coal is a highly polluting fossil fuel that is responsible for one-fifth of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions.

“There are very concrete declarations and agreements for the expansion of renewable energy, but also, for example, the cessation of the use of coal,” German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said Friday.

G7 members Britain, France and Italy have set deadlines to stop burning coal for electricity within the next few years. Germany and Canada target 2030; Japan wanted more time; while the Biden administration has set a target to end the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation in the United States by 2035.

Setting the same deadline would put pressure on other major polluters to follow and build on the compromise agreement reached at last year’s UN climate summit, in which countries committed only to “gradually reduce” rather than “eliminate” coal – with no fixed date.

Pressure on rich countries

Habeck said the issue could be brought to a summit of G7 leaders in Elmau, Germany, next month and then to a meeting later this year of the Group of 20 leading and developing economies, which are responsible for 80 percent of global emissions.

Getting all G20 countries to sign on to ambitious targets set by some of the most developed economies will be key as countries such as China, India and Indonesia remain heavily reliant on coal.

There is also pressure for rich countries to increase their financial assistance to poor countries ahead of this year’s UN climate meeting in Egypt.

In particular, developing countries want clear commitments that they will receive funds to address the losses and damages suffered by climate change.

Rich countries have rejected the idea for fear of being held responsible for the costly catastrophe caused by global warming.

The meeting in Berlin will also seek to reach an agreement on the gradual elimination of combustion engine vehicles, increase funding for biodiversity programs, protect the oceans and reduce plastic pollution.

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