17 November 2021
Welcome to the revitalized Transatlantic Climate Bridge (or TCB). This website is the online home for our project, whose mission is to promote climate policy cooperation between Germany, the US, and Canada. On the Who We Are page, you can read more about the consortium behind the TCB. We receive our financing for this initiative from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Federal Foreign Office (AA). While we work in close collaboration with German government ministries, we are an independent initiative that does not speak for the German government.
On the What We Do page, you can learn about how to work with us and explore our services—from holding business and expert roundtables, to facilitating transatlantic dialogue, to advising government officials. On the Events page, you can check out our event calendar and see summaries and videos from previous meetings. And on the Publications page, you can read our news posts and analysis on developments in transatlantic climate policy. The site will grow as our project does, eventually including pages for our podcast and interviews with participants in our programs and transatlantic climate experts.
But it’s important not to lose track of what all these formats are about—the content, e.g. protecting the climate.
Our TCB countries—Germany, the US, and Canada—have a lot in common. All are committed to the Paris Agreement, working to cut emissions and improve adaptation in order to protect their citizens and the world from climate impacts. All are wealthy countries in the Global North who are responsible for significant shares of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. Their history and prosperity give them similar interests and responsibilities with regard to the discussions on “loss and damage” and climate finance for developing countries that took place at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. As nations with significant industrial and agricultural sectors, Germany, Canada, and the US also face the challenge of accelerating their energy transitions while protecting jobs and economic competitiveness—“climate justice” applies at home as well as abroad.
There are also key differences between the TCB countries. Promoting facilitation and cooperation in those areas—bridging the gaps, if you will—is our main objective.
Take fossil fuel production: Canada and the US are major producers and exporters of oil and gas, whereas Germany produces little of either and imports most of its hydrocarbons. Germany, for its part, has been a major coal-mining country, but the industry has declined in recent decades. While a German commission reached a consensus about phasing out coal as a fuel for electricity and compensating affected regions and workers—and this managed decline could be a model for its North American partners—the German Kohleausstieg may have to be accelerated if the country is to hit its latest climate targets.
Or look at industry: Germany (in this case the EU) looks set to implement a carbon border adjustment mechanism to prevent carbon leakage, and Canada has begun consultations about doing the same. Meanwhile, the US is currently more focused on subsidies for low-carbon production than border adjustments.
Those are just two issue areas. The point is that there are different approaches to climate protection in our three countries, and we want to help all three communicate with and understand each other. We don’t just mean the governments of each country, but also civil society, activists, media, universities, and citizens who live far from the capitals. No country can address climate change on its own; and the world cannot address climate change without Germany, Canada, and the US.
The fall of 2021 is a fascinating time to be relaunching the TCB. COP26 brought a flurry of new pledges and agreements, bringing the world closer to the Paris Agreement temperature goals. (My colleague Mary Hellmich covered COP26 from a TCB perspective in this analysis piece.) The German political parties are negotiating a new governing coalition and preparing for Germany’s G7 presidency in 2022—and in view of the EU’s Fit-for-55 climate package and Germany’s own Climate Protection Law, the new government in Berlin will have to pass a lot of new climate policies to achieve its goals. Canada just had a national election and the new government in Ottawa can now turn its attention to living up to its NDC. The US Congress is still negotiating its giant Build Back Better bill, which contains most of the Biden administration’s climate agenda, and after the US midterm elections in 2022 the balance of power could swing back towards a Republican party that largely rejects the Paris Agreement. There’s a lot of work to do.
So, in closing, we hope you enjoy exploring our website and keep coming back over the years to come. Please do get in touch at infotheclimatebridge [dot] org and follow us on Twitter: @climate_bridge.