Effective Climate Protection Requires International Cooperation

The implementation of the Paris climate agreement will be significantly more difficult after the United States announced its withdrawal. But many other countries are determined to achieve progress on this matter. Successful companies are the main prerequisite for effective climate protection.

The BDI has been actively engaged in the negotiations for the Paris climate protection agreement, including through side events that the BDI held during the conference. The rapid entry into force of the agreement has been welcomed by German industry. The main goal is to achieve global greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of this century; by then, only as much man-made greenhouse gas (CO2 etc.) is to be emitted as oceans and forests can absorb. A huge challenge given the almost 35 billion tons of CO2 emitted worldwide annually. Germany’s share in these 35 billion tons is a bit more than two per cent. China and the United States together are responsible for about 44 per cent of the global CO2 emissions. Now the almost 200 signatories must work together in order to establish how this ambitious goal can be attained. The UN Climate Conference in Bonn in November 2017 has been an important interim step. Again, the BDI was present in Bonn to interact with delegates and non-state actors striving for climate protection.

The announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement has made it more difficult to achieve progress. For this reason, it will take some time for more or less comparable conditions of competition to prevail worldwide in climate policy, the aim always being the establishment of a more level playing field for globally active companies.

Climate protection can succeed only with competitive companies

No single state can stop climate change on its own – and that includes Germany. Many states, including China, want to work together more closely now, compared to before the United States’ announcement to step away from the Paris Agreement. This gives grounds for some hope. If European companies are both committed to protecting the climate and want to compete successfully on international markets, Europe must ensure the cost effectiveness and economic efficiency of climate policy. If this can signal that economic success and climate policy do not contradict each other, other states can be encouraged to “join in”. Successful companies are thus the main prerequisite for successful climate protection as well as for job creation and prosperity.