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Cablegate: Germany to Attend January 30 Mem Despite Misgivings

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0172
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RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0540
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1552
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000038

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ: CONNAUGHTON, SCHMIDT, LADT
NSC FOR DAN PRICE, JONATHAN SCHRIER
STATE FOR "G" - DOBRIANKSY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KGHG ENRG PGOV PREL GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY TO ATTEND JANUARY 30 MEM DESPITE MISGIVINGS

REF: 07 LONDON 00069

1. (SBU) Summary: Germany will send a delegation to the
January 30 Major Economies Meeting (MEM) although they remain
skeptical about the value-added that the Major Economies
Process (MEP) brings to the UNFCCC process. German officials
are expressing concerns about the frequency and scope of the
MEP and want to avoid duplication of effort in the various
climate change-related forums, including the UNFCCC and the
G-8. While requesting a clearer articulation of the expected
MEP deliverables, our interlocutors hope the MEP will avoid
discussion of adaptation, deforestation or measurement. They
also provided more information on German Environment Minister
Sigmar Gabriel's comments during the recent UNFCCC conference
in Bali. End Summary.

-------------------------------
The German Delegation to Hawaii
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) German officials assured us Germany will be
represented at the MEM, although the German delegation for
Hawaii has not yet been finalized. German Environment
Minister Sigmar Gabriel cannot got to Hawaii due to a
previously scheduled trip to China. Environment State
Secretary Matthias Machnig may go in his place, as will

SIPDIS
Karsten Sach, Deputy Director General for International
Cooperation, and Carolin Zerger, Desk Officer for the
Strategic Aspects of International Cooperation within the
Environment Ministry. From the Foreign Ministry, either
Reinhardt Krapp, head of the Environmental Issues Division,
or his boss Viktor Elbling, Commissioner for International
Energy Policy, Globalization and Sustainable Development,
will attend.

---------------------------------------------
Concerns about Frequency and Scope of the MEP
---------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) In post-Bali discussions with the Embassy, German
officials have expressed concerns about the MEP, in
particular the frequency of Major Economies Meetings. Sach
told EconOff on January 3 that while "the U.S. has endless
resources," other nations do not. Dr. Martin Bergfelder,
climate change negotiator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
similarly claimed that many other MEP countries, including EU
President Slovenia, do not have the resources to attend
multiple climate change meetings. Sach wanted to know
specifically how many MEP meetings would take place this
year, and when. Bergfelder asked about the possibility of
combining the proposed summer MEP summit with the G-8 summit
in Japan. The MFA's Krapp suggested it would be better for
German public perception if the MEP was seen to be guided by
the G8 5 Gleneagles Process. Both Bergfelder and Krapp, in
reference to a January 3 discussion between G-8 Sherpa Daniel
Price and his German counterpart Bernd Pfaffenbach, asked
whether MEP issues would now be a part of the first day of
the Hokkaido summit.

4. (SBU) German officials want to limit the scope of the MEP
to avoid duplication of negotiations in other fora. Sach,
Bergfelder and Krapp all mentioned climate change issues
being taken up in the UNFCCC process, the G-8, the OECD,
US-EU talks, the Heiligendamm Process and various working
groups. They feel it is necessary to clarify which process
does what and to coordinate all the processes together. Sach
said that "no one has a clear vision yet" for defining the
scope and deliverables of each process. Echoing UK comments
(reftel), Krapp asked, "What is the value-added of the MEP?"
Zerger requested to know what, specifically, is expected of
the MEP working groups.

BERLIN 00000038 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) Our interlocutors would prefer that the MEP not
cover the issues of adaptation or deforestation. Since many
countries most affected by these issues "are not at the
table," Sach explained, "it would be unfair" to discuss these
topics. Krapp said "we can advance (deforestation
negotiations) under the G-8," given that the Forestry Carbon
Partnership already exists. In addition, Sach, Zerger and
Bergfelder all stressed that measurement should fall under
the UNFCCC, and existing international standards should be
used. Finally, Sach and Bergfelder both noted that Germany
would prefer to use existing funding institutions, like the
World Bank, for financing the distribution of clean energy
technologies.

---------------------------------------
Context of Gabriel's Comments in Bali
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) On December 13, German Environment Minister Sigmar
Gabriel captured international headlines when he suggested
that EU member states might pull out of the MEP if mid-term
climate reduction targets were not included in the Bali
roadmap. Sach said the Germans considered issuance of the
Hawaii MEP invitation during the first week of the Bali
conference -- before any UNFCCC agreement had been reached --
to be premature since President Bush had "clearly committed
to moving forward with both processes (UNFCCC and MEP)."
Bergfelder said, "In the most diplomatic way possible, let me
say that the negotiations were very very slow... it seemed
U.S. negotiators only wanted to work through the MEP. This
was not what was agreed to at Heiligendamm." Sach stressed
that the EU had made its position clear in the conclusions of
its Environment Council meetings and that the EU desire to
include IPCC targets in the Bali roadmap did not represent a
change in the EU position. Within the EU block, Bergfelder
singled out France and Portugal as countries that helped
prompt Gabriel's remarks.

-------
Comment
-------

7. (SBU) German climate change negotiators appear skeptical
about the MEP, suspecting the U.S. is using it to undermine
or at least drastically slow the pace of the UNFCCC process.
Providing German policymakers with specific, focused
deliverables and a more detailed vision of how MEP outcomes
will feed into and support the UNFCCC process will help to
convince Germany that the MEP truly does "add value." Embassy
Berlin will continue to engage the Environment and Foreign
Ministries, as well as the Federal Chancellery, to press our
message. The January 21 visit of Harlan Watson also presents
an excellent opportunity to address German concerns and
enlist their support.
TIMKEN JR

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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