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Commence of the “Climate Club”: How the grand appearance of Scholz was nullified in Dubai

Start of the “Climate Club”: How the substantial appearance of Scholz was nullified in Dubai

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Friday, 01.12.2023, 17:18

“Now we can get started!” Chancellor Olaf Scholz wanted to finally present his favorite project of the international “Climate Club” in Dubai in front of a large audience. In the end, the grand appearance was smaller than expected. Nevertheless, experts judge the idea as promising.

Was that the plan? Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) actually wanted to make a grand appearance on Friday at the World Climate Conference in Dubai (COP 28). A press conference of the Federal Chancellor was announced for 5 p.m. local time, and on the eve, theThe federal government has already leaked the reason: Scholz would announce the official launch of the “international climate club” on the COP stage, a promise he had already made as finance minister and chancellor candidate.

An old favorite idea

The climate club – it is important to know – is something along the lines of the Chancellor’s favorite idea. Now 36 states of the world, including all G7 countries, are joining forces in the club and working together on how to make industries such as steel and cement, as well as air and maritime transport, climate-neutral.

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Can the world oppose the climate crisis? At least it wants to try. Tens of thousands of representatives from politics, science, and business will come together from November 30th to December 12th for the World Climate Conference in Dubai. Here, the major climate decisions for the next decades are to be made – and FOCUS online Earth will be there with its own reporting team.

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This can be done, for example, through a common economic area that in the future will impose additional duties on goods that were not produced in an environmentally friendly way. The bigger the club, the better: then goods produced in a climate-damaging way will have fewer economic areas to which they can migrate. At the same time, the states should also share their know-how among each other.

Buzzing green factories

The idea of such a club is not new, but the fact that it is Olaf Scholz who is now implementing it on the international stage is somehow logical. For the Chancellor, climate policy is primarily industrial policy, he thinks of buzzing factories, of big orders, and good wages. No one has to give up, instead, with the green transformation, big money can be earned – that’s Olaf Scholz’s promise.

The official launch of the “climate club” should now be the manifestation of this promise, presented on the world stage in Dubai. The worries of political everyday life, along with all the legal defeats of recent days, are far away in Dubai. Here, the self-proclaimed “climate chancellor” can still be a “climate chancellor,” here, German journalists only annoy him with detailed questions about KTF funds and company car privileges.

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Delayed Transfer

Many heads of state were present at the event, Scholz took a photo with each and every one. However, the big event initially hardly made it through to the outside world: Many journalists were turned away before the meeting room, and there was also no official livestream for the internet. The UN, under whose auspices the COP is taking place, did not want that, according to sources from the German delegation. The German news channels that had camera teams in the room could only broadcast with a significant delay, sometimes after Scholz had already finished his speech.

In any case, Scholz tried to spread enthusiasm. “Now we can get started!” he said in his opening speech to the climate club, there is now a separate secretariat and a fixed work plan that is set to begin next year. Immediately after the introduction, the first joint session began. Germany is “firmly determined to achieve the goals we have set for 2024 and beyond,” said Scholz. “We will invest significant resources and promise to work hard.”

Protecting Externally, Increasing Internally

Despite the bumpy start, experts consider the idea to be sensible. The economist and climate expert Ottmar Edenhofer advocates coordinating international CO2 prices in the climate club. It could impose joint tariffs and exert pressure on industries outside the club, said the climate expert Ottmar Edenhofer, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, to RBB Inforadio on Thursday.

The EU is already preparing to introduce such tariffs. However, if the circle is expanded to include states like the USA or India, the tariff becomes significantly more attractive. A climate club could impose such climate tariffs externally and coordinate CO2 prices internally. “This means protecting the industry from external distortions of competition,” said Edenhofer. “And internally, it coordinates climate policy.”

Moreover, tariffs combined with a higher CO2 price could offer an opportunity to transform the economy to climate neutrality without incurring new debts. After the recent decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, which blew a billion-dollar hole in the budget, this prospect must seem particularly attractive to the Chancellor. And there it is again, the annoying political everyday life.

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