cutting emmissions

Troubled Talks on Climate Change

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  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If the attendees at the climate conference fail to agree on targets to reduce carbon emissions, it will be difficult for them to call on other countries at the talks in Paris at the end of the year to cut their emissions.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • There is an overall belief that the current generation of political and industry leaders may be the last generation capable of reversing climate change, but efforts are faltering as only 40 of the 190 member countries of the United Nations have met their obligations by presenting their individual contributions to fighting pollution.
    • The Grand Coalition in Germany has failed to effectively address the issue and has even backed away from some goals by allowing coal-fired power plants to generate larger amounts of CO2 than previously agreed.
    • Efforts to enlist the transportation sector in the fight against global climate change also are floundering with Germans purchasing only 20,000 electric cars while the federal government has set a goal of one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Concern about the consequences of climate change is growing more and more urgent.

“The results of climate change will be uncontrollable if we don’t limit global warming to two degrees,” said German Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), at the opening of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue VI in Berlin.

Her warning was echoed by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. “Climate change is accelerating. What we need is a more climate-friendly economy. We must now deliver results,” he said.

A binding worldwide climate agreement will be signed in December in Paris to take effect in 2020.

The annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue, launched in 2010 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the center-right Christian Democratic Party (CDU), is one effort to address the crisis by better preparing for the official summits.

This year, one of the most important questions is how emerging and developing nations can play a part in climate protection so that it doesn’t fall solely to industrialized nations.

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