A “Small Miracle”: German Media on the Paris Agreement

Foto Zeit Online Dec 13 2015Paris has produced a „decisive signal for converting the economy from coal, oil and gas to clean energy, not only in the rich countries,“ comments Zeit Online. To Taz – die tageszeitung the agreement is „revolutionary“, and „a small miracle“.

However, „the discrepancy between the goals agreed on in Paris and the countries’ actual climate policies is huge,“ a representative of BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany was quoted by Zeit Online. Current pledges are projected not to be able to limit global warming to under 2 degrees.

The „Climate Vulnerable Forum“, a group of small island states, African countries, and vulnerable developing countries, had successfully pressed to include a more ambitious goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, explains Tagesspiegel.

To Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the goal is in accordance with science. But if Germany supports the 1.5 degree target, the country will need to revise and adjust its climate protection plans immediately (see Zeit Online).

Economist Nicholas Stern compares Germany to India: On the one hand, there is a massive development of renewable energies, on the other hand carbon dioxide emissions rise because of coal (see Tagesspiegel).

To work towards the Paris goals, „nearly all individual governments need to enhance their 2025 or 2030 contributions“, researchers with the Climate Action Tracker conclude.

In traditional German media, the Paris Agreement remained a marginal issue: Saturday evening, national public television ARD broadcast only a short three-and-a-half-minute news report on the summit, followed by three hours of quiz show, according to a media critique published in taz. In many Sunday newspapers, other topics such as football and christmas seemed to rank higher than the climate summit.

Online, the discussion was much more alive and kicking, with follow-up stories such as „Could Trump stop the climate agreement if he became President?“ making headlines Sunday evening.

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