Berlin hosts envoys for heart-to-heart talks on climate

With the world reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, senior officials from 40 countries were meeting Monday in Berlin for heart-to-heart talks on how to stay focused on fighting climate change.

Organizers have billed the two-day gathering as an opportunity to rebuild trust between rich and poor nations ahead of this year’s U.N. climate summit in Egypt, after technical talks last month achieved little progress on key issues such as climate aid for developing countries.

“Many of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world are experiencing severe climate impacts now,” Germany climate envoy Jennifer Morgan told The Associated Press. “The question is how to support them in both adapting to those impacts and when they experience real losses and damages. We must also show more solidarity.”

Developing countries are still waiting for rich nations to provide $100 billion in climate aid each year — a target they were meant to reach by 2020.

Big polluters, however, have also long resisted the idea that they should pay for the destruction their greenhouse gas emissions are causing around the world.

The closed-doors talks in Berlin will kick off with experts delivering a presentation on the issue of “loss and damage ” to ministers, who will then break into small groups to discuss and listen to each other in the hope of building trust ahead of November’s U.N. summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The meeting in Berlin comes as scientists say the extreme heat slamming large parts of the northern hemisphere in the last few weeks could become the new normal in summer if global warming continues.

The question of energy sources endangered by Russia’s war in Ukraine is looming over the talks.

Environmental activists warn that recent efforts by countries such as Germany to tap new sources of fossil fuels could undermine countries’ already fragile climate actions. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to discuss buying liquefied natural gas from Egypt with the country’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Berlin on Monday, just a few miles from where the climate talks are being held.

“The Russian war of aggression is forcing us to take short-term decisions we don’t like, including the increased use of coal for a very limited period of time,” said Morgan, who was previously the head of Greenpeace International.

“But we are not only sticking rock-solidly to our climate goals — we are accelerating the energy transition and will phase-out the use of fossil energy even faster,” she added, citing a newly approved plan to ramp up solar and wind power generation in Germany.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, likewise, comes to the talks following setbacks suffered in the U.S. by President Joe Biden in his efforts to regulate pollution and boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

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Follow AP’s coverage of climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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