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Cablegate: German Cop-15 Reactions

DE RUEHRL #1621/01 3580911
R 240911Z DEC 09



State for OES/EGC, EUR/CE

E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: German COP-15 Reactions

REF: A) Berlin 1608, B) Berlin 1612.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Germans have expressed disappointment with
the results of the COP-15 Summit in Copenhagen. Government
officials have defended the outcome, but are also pointing
fingers. Opposition leaders saw the summit as a clear failure
and predictably took leaders to task. German media headlines
remain negative, but news and editorial analysis has tended to
be more balanced, including noting the unhelpful role of
China. Following COP-15, industry representatives have
publicly questioned Germany's unilateral emissions reductions
targets, fearing a decrease in German competitiveness. German
NGOs are focused on and unsatisfied by the depth of emissions
reduction commitments in the Copenhagen Accord. END SUMMARY

Official Voices: Glass half-full
2. (U) Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the outcome of the
summit. She warned against criticizing the results of
Copenhagen, saying "Copenhagen is a first step towards a new
global climate order, not more and not less. Those who now
badmouth Copenhagen are engaging in the business of those who
are applying the brakes rather than moving forward."

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3. (U) Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen blamed a number
of factors for the COP 15 results. During a December 22
interview, he stated: "It was the varying interests, it was
the weak leadership in the U.S., it was the obstructive power
of China, which together led at the end to the fact that the
problem was advanced a bit, but not dealt with in an
appropriate way." Roettgen rejected the idea that the
"mammoth dimension" of the conference was the reason for the
poor results. He acknowledged that political and economic
pressure would be necessary to reach better results, but
vigorously ruled out imposing punitive tariffs on countries
that do not want to cut emissions effectively, saying that "we
want free trade." On December 20, Roettgen described the
outcome as "not what we hoped for, but, what was achievable."

4. (U) Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on December 21
emphasized the need for international cooperation moving
forward, saying "Europe must be the leader, but other
countries have to do their bit. Europe cannot save the
world's climate alone." On December 23, the Foreign Ministry
noted that he contacted Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
to discuss climate policy, among other issues. During their
conversation, Westerwelle reportedly characterized the results
of the Copenhagen summit as a first step towards a binding
climate treaty and stated that further actions should now
follow. He invited Yang to work together constructively to
make further progress through the UN and the June 2010 climate
conference in Bonn.

Opposition: Summit failure

5. (U) Sigmar Gabriel, former environment minister and current
chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) saw
little good come from the summit. He said, "Internationally,
it is a middling disaster. I think it is wrong to sell such a
mock compromise as a success." He added, "The world's state
and government leaders did not live up to their
responsibilities." The Greens took a similar tone. Greens
Chair Claudia Roth proclaimed, "Copenhagen is a failed
summit," noting that the "glamour of the former 'climate
queen' Merkel has faded." Roth continued, "The appearance of
U.S. President Barack Obama was disappointing. That was very
Hollywood-esque, but it was a bad film that we have already

Media coverage: Negative but more balanced

6. (U) As reported in reftels, the German media largely
assessed the Copenhagen conference as a "failure, " but
divided the blame between China, the G-77, the process itself
and lack of U.S. leadership. On December 21, a Frankfurter
Rundschau editorial noted: "Hopenhagen turned into
Brokenhagen." Commentators in particular expressed skepticism
over whether the structure of the UN is the right one to
resolve the climate problem. Governments that are serious
about climate protection must therefore move ahead
independently, FT Deutschland editorialized. Several articles
and editorials presented more balanced analysis.
Tagesspiegel's Christoph von Marschall praised the turn
towards realism in the Copenhagen debate. He held China to be
primarily responsible for preventing objective verification
while remaining the biggest overall producer of greenhouse
emissions, the U.S. for having the highest per capita
emissions and for agreeing to only moderate reductions, and
described the block of developing nations as negotiating

BERLIN 00001621 002 OF 002

"irresponsibly." While not a smooth process, he praised the
victory of "realism" in acknowledging that the conflict of
national interests in Copenhagen was not the end but "the
beginning of a process that will lead to results, because it
takes the world as it is."

Business worried

7. (U) German business representatives have expressed
dissatisfaction with the COP-15 results, noting that they had
hoped for globally binding agreements that would have ensured
fair competition. The head of the Federation of German
Industry (BDI), Hans-Peter Keitel said: "We reject the German
reduction goals of 40 percent, which the coalition contract
has set without any preconditions." He added, "This worsens
the competitiveness of our enterprises, costs jobs, and does
not help climate protection." (Note: The German government
committed itself to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2020 (1990
baseline), regardless of what other countries are doing. End

NGOs/Civil Society Groups: Not good enough for 2 degrees

8. (U) Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam
Institute for Climate Impact Research (and Chancellor Merkel's
primary climate advisor) criticized the negotiations as an
"absurd theater." He also pointed out that "we are far from
the two-degree goal." However, he conceded that the intent to
keep the increase of temperature below two degrees Celsius is
a "huge step." The president of the German Federation for
Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) NGO complained,
"The world was looking at Copenhagen. The world was bitterly
disappointed." The head of the Alfred Wegner Institute said,
"Without coordinated targets for the reduction of greenhouse
gases, global warming cannot be limited to 2 degrees Celsius."
Eberhard Brandes, Director of WWF Germany, criticized the
results, saying "the heads of state could not successfully
come to an agreement on many central points...Nice, but
ultimately empty words do not help us." During the summit,
Greenpeace presented its "Climate Killer of the Day Award" to
the U.S. at Embassy Berlin three times.


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