Germany chems call for global climate deal at Durban conference

25 November 2011 15:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The head of Germany’s chemical producers’ trade group on Friday called on governments to work on a binding global deal for climate protection at the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, next week.

“We need such a [global] deal, to ensure that Germany’s chemical industry will remain internationally competitive, and that it will be able to develop new energy-savings products,” said Klaus Engel, who is the president of Frankfurt-based chemical trade group VCI and the CEO of specialty chemicals major Evonik.

Climate protection is a global responsibility, Engel said in an article he contributed to German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The EU accounts for only around 13% of global emissions. As such, the 27 EU countries alone cannot achieve an improvement in the global climate. Climate protection can only be achieved if all countries with greenhouse gas emissions commit to it, Engel said.

Engel also said that Germany’s chemicals industry is a “bridge” that reconciles two seemingly contradictory demands: on the one hand, the call for more global economic growth to overcome the debt crisis, and on the other, calls to curb economic growth in order to protect the climate.

The industry manages to bring economic growth and climate protection to a “common denominator” as it develops innovative products that help to “decouple” production from energy use, Engel said.

Engel pointed to the chemical industry’s role in developing and producing car batteries for electric vehicles, as well as to products that help insulate homes and buildings. In addition, the nanomaterials sector can help cut energy use in many applications, he said.

Germany’s chemical industry, for its part, managed to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50% since 1990 while increasing its production by 50%, Engel added.

In related news, VCI said a survey it commissioned showed that nine out of 10 Germans think that a global climate protection deal is either “important” or “very important.”

VCI general manager Utz Tillmann said the survey underlines the need for political leaders at the Durban summit to work out uniform global climate protection standards. At the same time, participants at Durban should stress a stronger participation of emerging economies in helping to improve the global climate, he added.

The Durban conference – officially known as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) – begins on Monday, 28 November and ends on 9 December.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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