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UK, Germany call for green recovery from COVID-19 at 11th annual summit

The 11th Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD), which is always organized by Germany, is being held for the first time as a video conference today and tomorrow, April 27-28. Around 35 environment ministers are meeting virtually in order to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK’s Alok Sharma, as president of the next Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, is co-chairing this year’s PCD with Germany:

Here’s what the other co-chair, German environment minister Svenja Schulze, had to say:

Live streaming can be watched here, and heads of states’ video statements can be seen here.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are scheduled to give speeches and answer ministers’ questions tomorrow.

Businesses, unions, scientists, cities, and NGOs are also participating at Petersberg for the first time.

Meetings will focus on how the international community can emerge from the pandemic in a more resilient and climate-friendly way.

The PCD states 2020’s goal as:

This year’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue will focus on how we can organize economic recovery after the acute crisis management, and how countries can proceed with ambitious climate action despite the postponement of COP26. The goal is a green recovery. This means not only creating new jobs but also advancing climate action in ways that make the entire world more resilient. It also includes the question of how to design stimulus programmes that will facilitate a more committed climate policy in future.

Who is and isn’t on board for green recovery

60 German companies said in a letter ahead of the PCD:

We appeal to the federal government to closely link economic policy measures to overcome both the climate crisis and the coronavirus crisis.

Companies included ThyssenKrupp, Salzgitter, Bayer, Covestro, E.ON, HeidelbergCement, Puma, Allianz and Deutsche Telekom, according to Reuters.

But not all companies are keen:

Car makers are already lobbying to prevent the announced tightening of emissions limits on cars, airlines for a waiver on jet fuel taxes, and the plastics industry for an appeal of the ban on some plastics products.

EU green chief Frans Timmermans said every euro spent on economic recovery measures after the coronavirus crisis would be linked to the green and digital transitions, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, China is plowing ahead with its carbon-intensive path, and Donald Trump is still desperately clinging to the idea of rescuing fossil fuels in the US. But the UK climate economist Lord Stern told BBC News:

The immediate priority is the current COVID crisis — but then we have to build for the future.

Timmermans is right and Trump is wrong. We should only be bailing out firms that are going to contribute to tackling climate change.

They don’t have be be ostensibly clean tech firms at the moment — but they do have to be committed to cutting their emissions in line with international targets.

Photo: CGTN

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.