Berlin, 30.11.2023 – The global backdrop for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference is turbulent at best: war in Europe and the Middle East is having a considerable impact on prices, supply chains and the general willingness to cooperate in almost all world regions; many nations face empty state coffers and falling even further into debt following relief measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic; and countless severe weather events are making it increasingly clear that climate change is drastically affecting or destroying the livelihoods of many millions or even billions of people. Following an evaluation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has come to the conclusion that the planet is on course to see an approximately 2.9-degree rise in temperature. In many industrialised countries as well as some large emerging economies, emissions have once again risen significantly following the declines of 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.
It is therefore vital that COP28 drives new momentum to cut global emissions and improve climate change resilience, a task which will first and foremost involve issues of financing. Meanwhile, negotiations promise to be a compelling process, not least with a host country expected to seek to promote and export fossil fuels on a large scale for as long as possible.
For the first time, the official German COP delegation includes three members of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE): Mark Lawrence, Scientific Director Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), Kai Niebert, President German League for Nature and Environment (DNR) and Franziska Tanneberger, Director Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC). Council member Katja Dörner is also in Dubai in her role as Mayor of Bonn and Vice President of the Association of German Cities and as Climate Chair of global network ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability.
The reduction or phase-out of fossil fuels, introducing more ambitious national climate targets for 2030 to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees, and the financing of the recently adopted UN loss and damage fund for addressing the impact of climate change in low-income countries are all expected to feature prominently in the talks.
The Council members will both organise events locally in Dubai and, as invited experts, take part in discussions on issues of climate protection together with other delegates and representatives from civil society. Climate financing will be an important topic. In June 2023, the RNE set out a number of proposals on Financing the Transition and Sustainable Development, which they have since presented at numerous national and international forums. The Council places importance inter alia on developing both the World Bank and regional development banks into “transformation banks” that also support in particular the decarbonisation of the economy and climate adaptation. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), carbon capture and use (CCU), carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the potential of natural climate protection will also feature heavily in the Council members’ discussions with international partners. The RNE additionally plans to submit recommendations to the German government in 2024. Other key topics on the agenda will include Germany’s experience of phasing out coal and nuclear energy, expanding renewable energies, climate change and urban development, natural greenhouse gas sinks and innovative agriculture on rewetted peatlands, as well as synergies with biodiversity conservation.
RNE members Katja Dörner, Mark Lawrence, Kai Niebert and Franziska Tanneberger will all be available for interviews and background talks during COP.
Point of contact at the RNE office (Berlin):
Scientific Officer Energy and Climate Policy
T +49 (0) 30 338424 -401
M + 49 (0) 171 5852711
Mayor of the Federal City of Bonn
Topics: Climate neutrality (Bonn will be climate neutral by 2035), cities and regions in the global climate debate – multilevel collaboration, climate and urbanisation, urban cooperation on renewable energies in particular, nature-based solutions for climate protection in urban areas, climate adaptation and resilience as a resilience hub of the Making Cities Resilient initiative from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Prof. Dr Mark G. Lawrence
Scientific Director Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS)
Topics: Climate geoengineering, carbon budgets, communication culture at COPs, the interface between science and politics
Prof. Dr Kai Niebert
President German League for Nature and Environment (DNR) and Professor of Sustainability at the University of Zurich
Topics: Choosing the fossil fuel phase-out and major ramp-up of renewable energies and doubling energy efficiency gains, tackling climate-related loss and damage, the role of NGOs
Dr Franziska Tanneberger
Director Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC)
Topics: LULUCF (greenhouse gas emissions and natural greenhouse gas sinks in land use), peatlands/peat soils and the sustainable use of peatlands, synergies between climate protection and biodiversity conservation
Held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023, COP28 is the first global climate conference in the wake of the global stocktake of the measures implemented to date to combat climate change. This was the most comprehensive review of progress in climate protection to date, presented by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), based in Bonn, in September 2023. The stocktake was based on analysis of the sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
German Council for Sustainable Development
T + 49 30 338424-721