Jennifer Morgan — Germany’s state secretary and special envoy for international climate action — with Ashraf Amin
Speaking to Ahram Online during her visit to Cairo last week — where she met with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry — Morgan also stressed that the current Russian aggression in Ukraine reinforced the need in Germany and the EU to accelerate transition to renewable energy and phase out Russian fossil fuels.
Ahram Online (AO): Would you please brief us about the purpose of your visit?
Jennifer Morgan (JM): As you may know, the new German government considers climate action a high priority issue, and so we want to work in collaboration with Egypt to ensure the COP27’s success.
That’s why I was keen to reach out proactively to the Egyptian government. I had meetings with Egyptian ministers to understand what they are trying to achieve and to discuss how we can help and work in partnership. I also met a range of very impressive climate activists from civil society organisations, academic institutions, and NGOs. There is a very rich culture here in Egypt regarding climate issues that will help the country as it moves towards the COP.
AO: What are the fields of coordination and collaboration between the German and Egyptian governments in this regard?
JM: Germany has been working in Egypt for 40 years, so there is a depth to our collaboration. Key focuses right now are working on scaling up renewable energy, urban development, income generation for small scale farmers, and youth employment.
As the latest IPCC WG3 report found, addressing the climate crisis goes hand in hand with increasing the well-being of people and is economically beneficial. That is the core of our work — improving the lives of people while keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal within sight.
AO: With the ongoing war and energy crisis, what impact will they have on the COP27?
JM: I think crises reinforced the need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and an efficient economy. That is certainly the big focus of Germany and the EU — to phase out Russian fossil fuels. And as we know from the science about climate change, we need to phase out all fossil fuels in the near future.
That is the spirit and the determination that we are bringing to the next G7 and the COP27. We also have to see the Paris Climate Accords as the vehicle for multilateral cooperation to solve this massive crisis that we have. We need to roll up our sleeves and work on implementation and building trust.
AO: Recently NOAA recorded an increase in methane and CO2 in 2021, how could governments empower net-zero initiatives?
JM: It is clear that emissions are going dramatically in the wrong direction. Governments must both implement policies to meet the targets they have set and increase their ambitions at the same time. With clear, long, loud, legal policies, the private sector can plan and invest in a zero-carbon economy.
AO: How can we build on the progress made in the COP26 in Glasgow in the COP27?
JM: Countries now have to deliver on what we committed to in the Glasgow Climate Pact. This means increasing our ambition further to close the gap and keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal alive.
It also means making major progress in the areas of adaptation, loss, and damage. These topics need to be discussed substantively, linking with the realities of climate impacts on the ground.
AO: Loss and damage were some of the issues that were postponed to the Sharm El-Sheikh Conference. Do you think there will be any progress in those topics?
JM: We need to discuss them; they cannot be postponed again. The world is beginning to feel the impact of climate change.
There is a need to make progress in this COP in terms of concrete initiatives and international cooperation. Developed countries have committed to doubling climate financing for adaptation from 2019 levels by 2025. We now have to deliver that and do it in a transparent way.