Implementation of UN Agreements for climate protection and sustainability must be core responsibility of G20 – with or without Trump

International foundations platform F20 issues call to German G20 presidency - Joint Press Release

HAMBURG, GERMANY. A few days before the G20 summit in Hamburg, an international network of foundations calls upon German chancellor Angela Merkel to make climate protection and sustainable development a core responsibility of G20. If necessary, this must be enforced without the agreement of US president Trump.

“The Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals have ushered in a new era of international cooperation and understanding. G20 must take responsibility and set the course towards implementing the UN Agreement for climate protection and sustainable development”, says Michael Dittrich, Head of Finance and Administration at the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) on behalf of the Foundations Platform F20, which represents more than 45 international foundations from 12 countries. “Scientific research has proven that global prosperity is possible while respecting the earth’s resource limitations. It is important, that we seize this opportunity”, Dittrich says.

In their statement, the F20 Platform refers to a brand-new report that has been developed in partnership with the French think tank IDDRI. The report outlines the progress of the worldwide energy transition. The report was first launched today at a press conference in Hamburg.

“The global energy transition is being accelerated by an exciting mix of innovation, climate policy and societal pressure”, says Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ECF). “Citizens are demanding clean air, business people are recognizing the business potential of climate action and politicians see the transition is feasible thanks to dramatic falls in the costs of renewable energy.”

According to the report, climate action must be accelerated, especially on a national level, in order to limit global warming to well below 2°C. “The domestic commitments to climate protection are still insufficient to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement”, says Dr. Lars Grotewold, Director of the Centre for Climate Change at Stiftung Mercator. As the host of the G20, Germany must embrace this challenge: “Germany should be ambitious, and demonstrate with a successful energy transition that the transformation to a climate-friendly and sustainable economy is feasible.”

Dr. Michael Otto, businessman, chairman of the Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection and initiator of the Berlin-based Stiftung 2 Grad, emphasized the social and economic opportunities that arise as co-benefits of climate protection: “195 countries have committed to zero emissions by the end of the century. Whoever is developing the necessary technologies, products and services for this process is at the front line of international competition,” says Otto stating that it would be risky from a business point of view to be left behind in this development.

Regarding the USA, Otto added: “President Trump may reject the Paris Agreement, but he cannot stop the economic momentum behind climate action.”

Alongside with stakeholders from think tanks, business, civil society and trade unions from all over the world, the F20 Platform called upon G20 heads of state to confirm their commitment to climate action and urged them to implement the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.

The F20 Foundations Platform is an unprecedented alliance of more than 45 foundations and philanthropic organizations from 12 countries that have joined forces on the occasion of the G20 summit in Hamburg taking place this Friday 7th and Saturday 8th July. The F20 aims at bridging the gap between the 20 most important industrial countries and emerging economies (G20), the private and financial sector as well as civil society. In total, the foundations represent a capital in the double-digit billion range (US dollars).

Major guests of the F20 main event in Hamburg Town Hall on Tuesday, 4th of July, include Dr. Barbara Hendricks (German Federal Minister of the Environment), Prof. Dr. Lord Nicholas Stern (Economist), Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (Former Minister of the Environment of Peru, now Head of Climate and Energy at WWF), Amory Lovins (Chairman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institut, USA) and Kurt Bock (Chair of the “Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency” taskforce, CEO of BASF), among others.


Other quotes from F20 members

Dr. Auma Obama, chairperson of Sauti Kuu Foundation, Kenya/Germany:

“The inevitable transition to a low-carbon economy cannot be enforced from top down. Citizens, stakeholders and civil society must be able to participate. It is unacceptable that activists risk their freedom, health and sometimes their lives when they campaign for justice, climate protection and environmental conservation.”

Ramiro Fernandez, Director Climate Change, Fundación Avina, Latin America/Argentina:

“During the recent visit of Chancellor Merkel to Argentina, President Macri has reinforced his commitment to climate action and the Paris Agreement. Argentina will need all the support from Germany, France, China, Canada and other leading countries of G20 to make robust progress on climate  during its presidency."

Krishan Dhawan, CEO, Shakti Foundation, India:

“Shakti looks forward to working with like-minded foundations from across the world to help forge low-carbon and sustainable pathways to development. Given India’s growing population, current low levels of per capita energy consumption and urgent development needs, such efforts are very important from both a national and global point of view.”

Wang Shi, founder and chairperson of the Chinese China Vanke Co., Ltd., founder of the C TEAM foundation:

 “The creation of F20 provides an excellent global platform for foundations from the biggest developed and developing countries to act together and further advance the agenda of sustainable development. With the mission of convening and supporting Chinese entrepreneurs as champions of action in addressing climate change, C TEAM will continue to work with international partners to promote green innovation and catalyse the shift to an environmentally friendly growth model for the future.”

Further information and links:

Video footage: available upon request

Today the F20 Platform called upon G20 heads of state to confirm their commitment to climate action: (last row from left): Dr. Johannes Merck (Michael-Otto-Stiftung), Klaus Milke (Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit), Christoph Bahls (Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit), (mid row from left ): Stefan Schurig (World Future Council), Michael Dittrich (DBU), Alois Vedder (wwf), Krishan Dhawan (Shakti Foundation/Tata trusts), (front row from left): Teresa Ribera (Iddri), Dr. Michael Otto (Michael-Otto.Stiftung/ Stiftung 2 Grad), Dr. Auma Obama (Sauti Kuu Foundation).
© DBU/ Kahmann

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