Ecumenical News International

EKD Council Chair Bedford-Strohm: the G7 has sent clear signals

June 9, 2015

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), is "pleasantly surprised" by the results of the G7 summit. In an interview with Protestant press agency edp, Bedford-Strohm stated: "Above all regarding climate protection the heads of state and government sent clear signals." Stressing the two-degree goal and the deep cuts to global CO2 emission was an "important policy decision".

The two targets mean that global warming is to be limited to a maximum of two degrees. The global CO2 emissions are to fall by 40 to 70 percent by 2050. Bedford-Strohm, who is also bishop of Bavaria, added that it was now urgent to act on these statements and vigorously tackle the climate goals at the COP21 in Paris at the end of the year: "The foundations have now been laid."

An important step was also the fact that the G7 states wanted to free 500 million people from hunger by 2030, said Bedford-Strohm. However, that required binding and verifiable promises, he believed. It also involved finally raising development assistance to the 0.7 percent of GDP agreed so many years ago.

Good climate policy and overcoming poverty were the best way of getting a grip on the refugee issue, declared Bedford-Strom. If the grounds for fleeing were eliminated, people would not need to leave their home countries. "Only then will the global refugee disaster become less acute."

At its summit at Elmau Castle in Bavaria, the G7 also decided to drive forward the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP by the end of the year. This is a goal that Bedford-Strohm regards critically: "The question of whether to approve TTIP or not depends, from the Christian angle, on whether it helps the poor."

Trade policy must also be humanitarian and must never be guided exclusively by the interests of the countries involved, the bishop warned. There was no point in pursuing a misguided trade policy that prevents the overcoming of poverty, and then trying to repair the damage by development assistance.

epd interview: Christiane Ried



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