COP28: Germany calls for renewable energy expansion, France for nuclear power

World leaders are trying to reach a consensus on climate action and adaption. The US announced $3 billion in new climate funding while France pushed for nuclear energy as a way to reduce emissions

COP28: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: DW)
COP28: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: DW)
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DW

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for global renewable energy expansion to triple by 2030 at the COP28 summit in Dubai on Saturday.

"It is still possible for us to reduce emissions enough in this decade to meet the 1.5 degree target," he said.

"Let's agree here in Dubai on two binding targets: one is to triple the expansion of renewable energy and the other is to double energy efficiency — both by 2030."

Scholz said Germany has already spent $6.5 billion (€6 billion) on international climate financing and pledged another $100 million (€92 million) for a new climate fund established at the summit on Thursday.

He also touted the ambitions of the "Climate Club," a group of 36 nations co-chaired by Germany and Chile that aims to make high-polluting industries more sustainable in developing countries, but called on countries like China and the Gulf states to take on more responsibility in this area.

"For the countries whose prosperity has grown enormously over the last decades and which have contributed to a large extent to today's global emissions also bear responsibility: We need your support too," he said.

Leaders discuss international climate financing

At COP28, US Vice President Kamala Harris made a new $3 billion (€2.8 billion) pledge to the Green Climate Fund that helps developing countries with climate adaptation and mitigation.

"This is a pivotal moment. Our action, or worse, our inaction today ... will impact the lives of billions of people for decades to come," she said.

However, she acknowledged that "there is more work to do."

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said earlier that major countries and financial institutions should do more to fund international climate adaptation.

"Loss and damage alone, however, is only a part of the equation," she said. "Because for every dollar that we spend before disaster, we can save $7 in damage, and indeed loss of lives."

Some delegates were skeptical about international climate financing as it stands.

Timor-Leste's President Jose Ramos Horta slammed what he called "shark loans" that burden developing countries with debts they cannot easily recover from.

Pope Francis, unable to attend the summit due to ill health, meanwhile said he hoped COP28 would be a "turning point" in a speech read out by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin in Dubai.

"Sadly, I am unable to be present with you, as I had greatly desired. Even so, I am with you, because time is short," the pope said in his message.

France and others call for nuclear energy expansion

Nuclear energy, a nonrenewable energy source which does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, was also on the agenda at COP28.

A group of more than 20 nations including France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada pushed for nuclear energy output to triple by 2050.

"I want here to reiterate the fact that nuclear energy is a clean energy and it should be repeated," said French President Emmanuel Macron.

France gets around two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear power — more than any other industrialized country.

"Nuclear energy is back," Macron added.

Critics of nuclear energy say it presents waste storage challenges and poses a security risk. Germany phased out nuclear energy in April, over a decade after a government decision triggered by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

zc/wd (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)

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