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19 May 2015 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

Germany and France commit to cutting CO2 emissions

Germany and France commit to cutting CO2 emissions
Germany and France will push for an “ambitious, comprehensive and binding” global agreement on cutting carbon emissions during this year, seeking to “decarbonize fully the global economy over the course of this century,” the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president Francois Hollande pledged at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on May 20.

The joint statement comes few months before the critical UN climate conference, taking place in Paris, where a new legally binding agreement on climate change action is expected to replace the 1992 Kyoto Protocol.

“We have to make a complete shift to a carbon-free economy. Germany and France support this and advocate this everywhere,” Ms. Merkel said at the conference.

Ms. Merkel pledged she would use the next G7 summit, which Germany will host in June, to remind the Western economies that from 2020 on, they pledged $100 billion annually to fight climate change at the global level. The funds are specifically aimed at assisting developing economies in joining the struggle to limit CO2 emissions without forfeiting their economic growth.

"Climate change and prosperity have to go hand in hand," Merkel said, adding that the fight against climate change could not come at the expense of competitiveness and that "we cannot go without growth, we just have to generate it in a different way."

Mr. Hollande also stressed the need for "technologies that allow for lower emissions," and that the international community must "think about innovative ways to attract investment."

Despite calling for a more ambitious push towards phasing out fossil fuels, the German and French leaders were still criticized for not going far enough. During the day, activists from Greenpeace and other environmental groups protested in Berlin, placing a model of the Eiffel Tower converted into a wind turbine in front of the city's Brandenburg Gate and demanding the transition towards renewable energy to complete by 2050.


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