The 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue

By Amy Wilson 

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD) is a series of negotiations that occur annually to prepare and enhance communication on climate matters in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conferences; the Conference of the Parties (COP) [1]. This year’s PCD (PCD XII) was co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Germany [1]. Around 40 countries and key negotiation groups were invited including Least Developed Countries, Small Island States and the Climate Vulnerable Forum [2].

“I am keen we use the Dialogue to keep the momentum going on getting climate finance flowing, greater protection against the effects of climate change, and addressing the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook.”

COP26 President Designate, Mr Alok Sharma [3]

Public satellite events were held between 3 and 6 May 2021 and included topics such as industry transitions, Race-to-Zero emissions vehicles, water resilience, ecosystem restoration, shipping, and the Adaptation Action Coalition Health launch [1]. At the press opening of the conference on 4 May 2021, new calculations from the Climate Action Tracker were also presented; the sum of all the targets submitted so far would limit global warming to 2.4 degrees by the end of the century [3]. 

The ministerial part of the conference (6 and 7 May 2021) started with an address from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Federal Chancellor, and Dr Angela Merkel of Germany.  There was also an acknowledgement of Germany’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2045, and the initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% in 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) [4,5]. The high level discussions focused on aspects such as Article 6, finance, loss & damage, common time frames, and transparency (unresolved issues of the Paris Agreement) [4]. 

The high level discussions highlighted the need for ‘more engagement’ and further work on Article 6 over the next six months [6]. Minister Koizumi of Japan, and Minister Fu of Singapore agreed to lead a series of informal discussions on Article 6 with interested parties and to report back to COP26 President Alok Sharma in July 2021 [6]. 
Finally, the PCD XII clarified that to enable greater ambitious climate targets in developing countries, increased financial support from wealthier countries is required [4]. Ministers spoke of climate finance [4], and specifically carbon pricing during the conference, however, we have to look ahead to the G7 summit to see if countries will make any climate financial commitments.

References

[1] 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD XII), Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (2021). Available at https://www.bmu.de/en/topics/climate-energy/climate/international-climate-policy/petersberg-climate-dialogue/, (accessed on 05/05/21). 
[2] Oxfam International, Petersberg Climate Dialogue must step up climate action in critical year, (2021). Available at https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/petersberg-climate-dialogue-must-step-climate-action-critical-year, (accessed on 05/05/21). 
[3] Petersberg Climate Dialogue: Environment ministers from around the world prepare for Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (2021). Available at https://www.bmu.de/en/pressrelease/petersberg-climate-dialogue-environment-ministers-from-around-the-world-prepare-for-climate-change-1/, (accessed on 05/05/21). 
[4] 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD XII), Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (2021). Available at https://www.bmu.de/en/pressrelease/petersberg-climate-dialogue-ministers-want-to-make-the-un-climate-change-conference-in-glasgow-a-su/, (accessed on 07/05/21)
[5] P. Oltermann, F. Harvey, Germany to bring forward climate goals after constitutional court ruling, (2021), The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/06/germany-to-bring-forward-climate-goals-net-zero-after-constitutional-court-ruling, (accessed on 07/05/21)
[6] Cabinet Office (HMG), Progress on climate action but with more to do on the road to COP26, (2021). Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/progress-on-climate-action-but-with-more-to-do-on-the-road-to-cop26, (accessed on 07/05/21)
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