Climate policy

The Turn of the Year in Climate Policy: Insights and Outlook

The term “triple crisis” loomed large in 2022: The interlinking crises of the pandemic, the climate and energy crises, and the war in Ukraine took many people to their existential limits this past year. Geopolitically, we now face a fragmented world in which power relations are increasingly contested. This was evident at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November, where familiar lines of conflict shaped negotiations. Tensions between countries of the Global North and South, for example: Who bears how much responsibility for the climate change that is already occurring (not least of all financial responsibility!) and who (still) counts as a developing country and should be granted support? Debate also continues to rage around the exploitation and use of fossil fuels, which many countries wish to continue for as long as possible – even under the Paris Agreement.

A G7 Climate Club to Booster Transatlantic Relations?

Since January, Germany has held the presidency of the Group of 7 (G7). In line with its own national priorities, the German government announced ambitious climate policy goals for its G7 presidency. They included accelerating the global coal phase-out and enhancing sectoral decarbonization. The G7 presidency also introduced the concept of a G7-based climate club, which represents an opportunity to intensify transatlantic climate and energy relations.

Germany’s G7 Presidency

Energy security, high expectations, and a climate club?

In 2022, Germany assumed the presidency of the Group of 7 (G7). Its term got off to an ambitious start but was soon overshadowed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine, the war is having an immense impact on the energy sector and efforts to protect the climate, the extent of which cannot be calculated at present. At the same time, Germany now finds itself caught up in a severe crisis due to its dependence on Russian gas imports.

Methane: A new hope? There is plenty of potential, but ambition is lacking

There is a lot on the international climate policy agenda in 2021. Most importantly, countries will finally have to submit their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The European Green Deal will contribute to this process and will hopefully lead the EU towards a low-carbon economy with new climate protection targets and many other measures. With pressure growing to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil its international commitments, the EU is now examining the options around methane.