Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. The world is on the brink of climate collapse, and our situation will not improve unless we are vigorous in our efforts to create a climate-friendly, global economy. At the same time, investments in global climate protection are creating huge opportunities for the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in both developing countries and emerging economies.
Temperatures over land have already increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius since industrialisation. Climate zones have already begun to shift. Heat records, droughts and floods are already occurring with increasing frequency. We will soon reach the tipping point, and from then on, climate change will intensify even without further human intervention: permafrost soils are thawing and releasing additional greenhouse gases; polar ice caps and the Greenland ice shield are melting ever faster, releasing pockets of greenhouse gases frozen within; and ecosystems that act as carbon sinks, such as the Amazon rainforest, are coming under pressure and threatening collapse. If climate change continues unabated, sea levels could rise by more than 1 metre by the year 2100. Developing countries and emerging economies , especially the poorest and most vulnerable population groups therein, are already suffering the most from climate change, even though they are the ones who have least contributed to it. Indeed, the vast majority of historical emissions are attributable to already industrialised countries.
At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015, a global climate protection agreement was adopted for the first time. Together with the 2030 Agenda global sustainability pact, the Paris Agreement represents a turning point in international climate and development policy.
With the Paris Agreement, developing countries, emerging markets, and developed countries have all committed to establishing national contributions to climate protection (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs). Thus far, however, these national contributions to climate protection have not been enough. We are currently on course for global warming of about 3 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the Paris Agreement, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals point the way forward beyond just climate change mitigation and protection. With the 2030 Agenda, the international community aims to promote economic, social and ecologicall sustainable development worldwide, thus enabling all people to live with dignity. Industrialised countries, including Germany, bear special responsibility for climate protection, as they have released around 80 per cent of historical CO2 emissions (1850-2000). With the Paris Agreement, they have also committed to help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. This is because they have the funds and technology to develop climateneutral solutions and implement these worldwide.
The climate goals of the Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda can only be achieved by cooperation between public and private entities. Government efforts alone are not enough.
In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and close the emissions gap, we need the additional commitment of private actors. It was against this background that the Development and Climate Alliance was founded. It mobilises private funds to promote development and international climate protection.
Our principle is the following: Private individuals, associations, institutions and companies promote climate protection projects in developing countries and emerging economies, which should simultaneously strengthen economic development, improve living conditions and protect the environment in these countries. In return, the supporters receive high-quality climate protection certificates that prove the extent to which they offset CO2 emissions through their commitment. The aim is to avoid and offset as much CO2 as possible to reach climate neutrality.
Supporters of the Development and Climate Alliance endeavour to reach climate neutrality by avoiding and reducing greenhouse gases while also offsetting residual emissions.
It is not always possible to entirely avoid the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. For such cases, offsetting partners of the Development and Climate Alliance provide an opportunity to offset residual greenhouse gas emissions effectively and verifiably by promoting climate protection projects in developing countries and emerging economies.