Petersberg Dialogue: A chance for leaders to refocus on accelerating climate action and ambition

Posted on 13 July 2022

After a number of underwhelming international meetings this year, tangible progress at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue next week is essential for putting the world on track for a successful COP27, write Christoph Heinrich, CEO of WWF Germany and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead.
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue, launched in 2010 and held annually since, involves Ministers and senior negotiators open discussions in small groups on key issues in international climate policy. The next Dialogue, starting on 18 July, marks what will be an especially important year, with new processes in place for the climate COP27. It follows a distinct lack of progress at the recent UNFCCC Bonn sessions and the G7 Summit. 

While the G7 Summit under the German presidency made limited progress on international climate diplomacy - such as the G7 committing to the decarbonisation of the power sector by 2035 and reaffirming cornerstones of the Glasgow Climate Pact and the Paris Agreement - the big leap towards ambitious climate action was notably missing. The G7’s proposed ‘climate club’ should complement, but not replace, actions and commitments made under the UNFCCC process. Its success will be assessed in terms of concrete advances achieved by the end of this year. 

There are five key areas that must advance if there is to be progress towards achieving strong outcomes at COP27:
  1. Mitigation Work Programme: Countries must accelerate their climate actions nationally, with strong attention to sectoral approaches. They must accelerate and scale up their implementation of climate actions now, to enable global emissions reductions of at least 45 per cent by 2030. Immediate actions can also enable more ambitious NDCs by 2025 for the period to 2035, following the Global Stocktake.
  2. Energy: The current energy crisis and the stark IPCC report warnings give strong momentum to build on the provisions of the Glasgow Climate Pact to accelerate the energy transition, energy efficiency, elimination of  coal and fossil fuel subsidies and supporting a just transition. We also expect a call for a quantum leap towards renewables in the cover decision of COP27. 

    The German presidency should clarify how it will ensure that any short-term expansion of liquified natural gas infrastructure and extraction will avoid an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (and locking in these emissions) and be compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C. In our view, energy needs must be met primarily with renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and without expenditures on new infrastructure, while maintaining the recent G7 commitment to end international fossil fuel finance by the end of 2022.
  3. Loss and Damage: The G7’s Global Shield against Climate Risks proposal, aimed at protecting vulnerable people against future climate risks, is a useful step, but governments have to do more. WWF strongly supports calls for a new funding facility for Loss and Damage. Developing countries would see this as a signal of good will, and that can unlock much needed progress in other agendas. It is important that we have a process at COP27 dedicated to establishing a Loss and Damage funding mechanism.
  4. Finance: Delivering on climate finance is a trust building element, and is essential for enhanced ambition. We need delivery of USD 100 bn this year, and to close the gap from previous years until 2025. We expect the implementation of the G7 pledge to double funding for climate adaptation to achieve a balance between funding for mitigation and adaptation. Developed countries also need to support ambitious new funding targets for the period after 2025. There should be separate targets based on actual needs for mitigation, adaptation, and for loss and damage suffered by vulnerable countries. 
  5. Nature: We must continuously foster convergence between nature and climate agendas. A way to do that is to include nature-based solutions as one important part of the ambition narrative, both for mitigation and adaptation. With the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) taking place just a few weeks after COP27, it is essential to send a strong political message from COP27, building on the contribution of nature to a 1.5˚C pathway. 
There is a small window of opportunity to take action before we reach irreversible tipping points. Global focus must be on scaling up sector-specific actions responding to the climate crisis to enable greater ambition in national and global emissions reductions. Governments must do this while building resilience and reducing and addressing loss and damage.

Under the auspices of the German presidency, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue is the place for leaders to refocus on climate ambition and the actions needed to ensure the world is on track to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.
A sign from the global climate strike in 2019.
© Markus Spiske / Pexels