Merkel wants G7 to commit to 2-degree global warming goal

Sat Jun 6, 2015 6:26am EDT
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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, June 6 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Group of Seven (G7) leaders to agree to limit the rise in average global temperatures to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, warning that without such a commitment a broader climate deal could fail.

Climate is one of the key topics on the agenda at a G7 meeting in a Bavarian castle starting on Sunday. Merkel is hoping leaders will send a strong signal on cutting greenhouse gases ahead of a United Nations climate meeting in Paris in December.

The conference in Paris will only be credible if countries stick to the 2-degree goal that was agreed in Copenhagen back in 2009, Merkel said in a video podcast released on Saturday.

"Otherwise I don't think there will be a climate agreement in Paris and all of the participants know that. That's why I hope that we, as the G7 countries, can clearly say: we stand by this goal," she said.

But she warned not to expect a broader accord at the summit: "I don't think we should compare the G7 summit with targeted negotiations towards a climate agreement; rather there can only be a commitment from important industrial countries here."

Scientists say that based on current emissions and reduction pledges already in place, global temperatures look set to rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

A 2-degree increase could make some islands in the Pacific uninhabitable, increase the number of weather-related disasters and lead to large numbers of people being displaced, experts say.

Rich nations have already agreed to mobilise an annual $100 billion in climate finance by 2020 but only around $10 billion has been pledged so far.

"I think it's important that we, as G7, give a confirmation, so-to-speak, of this 100-billion fund," Merkel said, adding that payments and promises would, however, be sought at other conferences.   Continued...