Mr. Saddam Hussein's Remarks at the Climate Policy Conference in Germany


Mr. Saddam Hussein, Programs Manager of UYSHR discusses Germany's Cimate Change Policy with a German Official at the sidelines of the Climate PolicyConference in Germany.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here.

I followed today’s discussion with great interest and I am impressed by the level of commitment to bringing the climate debate forward.

Climate Change is a very complex issue that needs action on many levels: starting from the individual and household level through regional and national levels up to the international level.  Talking as the representative of Germany – and after the very comprehensive debate on the impact of climate change in Uganda - I hope, you allow me to use the occasion of this workshop to elaborate about Germany’s view of the international process of climate diplomacy.

Protecting the climate is a global task that can only be dealt with globally. Of course, we are aware that we hold differing degrees of responsibility for climate change, that its consequences impact us differently, and that we have different opportunities to meet this challenge. This remains our philosophy in Germany, from the Kyoto Protocol to the present day.

But for a start we can say that no international agreement has ever previously been signed by as many countries as quickly as the Paris Climate Agreement. On 22 April of this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted a celebratory ceremony in New York. More than 170 countries – including Uganda - took this as an occasion to sign the Agreement. The Agreement only enters into force when it has been ratified by 55 countries which are responsible for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries—above all, threatened island nations—already ratified the Agreement at the ceremony in New York. Other countries—including the United States and China—have announced their intention of taking this step this year. This is very important. Germany attempts to complete the entire process before the climate conference in Marrakesh. We want to then present the instrument of ratification together with the European Union and the other Member States and thereby to send a clear signal that Europe is implementing the outcome from Paris and is pulling together in the same direction when it comes to climate protection.

A great many things are in motion, not only in Europe, but in every region of the world. The global transformation has already begun. The expansion of renewable energy sources is developing with especially rapid momentum. Last year global investment reached a new record high of 286 billion US dollars, meaning that more than twice as much was invested in renewable energies as in fossil fuel power generation. Also in Uganda, Renewable Energy is the largest sector of our bilateral cooperation. Apart from being one of the largest international partners in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency, Germany - among a broad variety of other aproaches  - also supports climate-change adaptation programs in rural areal or the introduction of market mechanisms for the reduction of carbondioxide emissions.

One can say, then, that things are moving forward. But we need progress not only in the area of energy, but rather in all sectors: in business, in transport, and in private households. In my view, three aspects of the Paris Agreement are especially important here: 

  • we need to develop long-term strategies, 
  • we need to further advance our climate commitments and contributions regularly, 
  • and we need conclusive answers to questions regarding funding and incentives.

Regarding the first point: the fact that we need long-term strategies is obvious because we have determined that we will make this century a century of decarbonisation. This will be especially dependent on long-term investments, both public and private. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that by the year 2030, more than 90 trillion US dollars will be invested worldwide in infrastructures, including for energy, transport and water. The task here is to shape these investments in a climate-friendly way. It is interesting that the extra costs associated with this are actually quite low. They are estimated to lie between 0.3 and at most 4 per cent added onto the investment costs. But in return, we will have climate-friendly investment. I do not want to play down these additional costs. But we have known at least since the Stern Review that in the long term –and in fact even in the medium term—they pay for themselves. When we consider what consequences of climate change we will otherwise be in for, we know that this is certainly worth it.

Germany is currently working out a climate protection plan that describes the steps towards the target of lowering emissions by 80 to 95 per cent by 2050 in comparison to 1990 levels. The year 2050 is really not so far away anymore. It is now 2016, so we have less than 35 years left until then. If one considers the lifespan of power plants and other infrastructures, one sees that this timespan is in many cases only one investment cycle long.

At EU level, we have agreed that if at all possible, we will develop a climate strategy for the coming decades by 2018. Work is also underway on long-term plans in the United States and Canada. Ultimately, all countries are called upon to develop long-term strategies—not only with an eye to climate protection, but also with an eye to future opportunities for growth and prosperity: Ultimately, and this also applies to Uganda, the question of whether we are even able to have a successful economy at all is at stake in climate protection. That is why the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, upon which the international community also agreed last year, are so closely connected.
Now, the second crucial point when it comes to breathing life into the Paris Agreement: the fact that all countries have offered voluntary climate contributions is very welcome.

However, the sum of these contributions is not enough to keep warming below the two-degree threshold. That is why it is so important to us for there to be a revision every five years. 
Targets are fine, but they must be backed up by reasonable funding. This is the third component. The Paris Agreement obligates us to reconcile our financial flows with low-emission, climate-friendly development. The starting point is the positive thing that remained from the Copenhagen conference, which is the pledge to provide 100 billion US dollars annually to developing countries from public and private sources beginning in 2020. In Paris this pledge was affirmed and extended to 2025, at which point a new funding target must be agreed. A roadmap for how these 100 billion dollars are to be attained by 2020 is currently being developed in a working group of industrialized countries.

By 2020, Germany intends to double its contribution compared to 2014. But of course we also know that public contributions are only one part of the equation. We also must interlink them with private investments in an intelligent way.

We as a global community on the whole depend on the emerging economies and developing countries pursuing, or being able to pursue, a path of transformation. In this area, Germany supports developing nations through a global partnership initiative. In this initiative, governments around the world and international institutions support developing countries in the drafting and implementation of their national climate strategies. At the same time, these national climate strategies also serve the goal of overcoming poverty and opening up new economic prospects. The first concrete outcomes regarding the shaping of global partnership are to be presented in Marrakesh.

Ladies and gentlemen, last year’s Paris Agreement points us in the right direction. We have many partners in walking this path; and that we also still have many obstacles to overcome. It is no exaggeration to say that climate protection is no more and no less than a question of survival. Let us therefore continue to breathe life into the climate debate internationally and here in Uganda as well.

Thank you very much.