September 16, 2019
 In Climate Change and Infectious Disease

Country: Germany
Delegate Name: Aubrey Winczewski

The negative effects of climate change have recently been studied and are expected to become exponentially more severe if climate change continues. One specific effect is the increasing spread of infectious diseases. For example, unnatural precipitation levels have led to more water pools for mosquito breeding, which directly contributes to a higher prevalence of rift valley fever. Also, when years are warmer than average, it enables mosquitos to survive longer in areas where they would normally die during the winter. This greatly contributes to increasing rates of malaria. Thawing permafrost is another concern. Several disease-causing microbes may be lurking frozen underground, able to reactivate if the land thaws. The two main concerns are anthrax and pox diseases. With the increasing human activity in the arctic, once revived, these diseases may find hosts in which to multiply, potentially sparking future pandemics. The United Nations states that “Climate change is a global emergency that goes beyond national borders. It is an issue that requires international cooperation and coordinated solutions at all levels.” The UN has taken steps to combat these effects of climate change by addressing the root cause. 191 countries signed the Paris Agreement, which went into effect in 2016, and set long-term goals for carbon emissions reduction that will limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, while encouraging countries to limit this even more. In addition to this, the United Nations should enact specific programs or projects to help struggling nations harness sustainable energy sources.

Germany recognizes the need for immediate action on climate change, Germany signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, and has since implemented their own national laws with even more ambitious goals. Germany enacted a national climate law in 2019, which was updated in 2021. As of the 2021 update, the law states the 2030 target is to cut emissions by 65% of 2008 emissions. One way Germany (with the EU) is doing that is by their “cap-and-trade” approach for businesses. The European Union sets a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that may be emitted each year, and allocates and sells permits to companies, allowing them to emit a certain number of tonnes of CO2. These permits can be traded, but if a company emits more CO2 than they have permits for, they face a fine of 100 euros per extra tonne, (about $115 USD). Statistically, Germany’s progress is one of great examples. In both 2019 and 2020, Germany contributed to less than 2% of the carbon emissions worldwide. In the past 50 years, Germany’s annual emissions from coal and oil have decreased from 603.23 to 199.08 tonnes. Additionally, in 2020, over 46% of the country’s power consumption was covered by renewable sources, far exceeding the 35% goal for that year. This led to the aforementioned update to their climate law. Germany is also a member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which provides additional focus on reducing short-lived climate pollutants. Germany is not only working within its borders to combat climate change, they are also working to support developing countries. Germany was the first country to pledge money to the Green Climate Fund, and regularly pays into the Adaptation Fund. Both these funds are UN initiatives to support developing countries to become prepared for the future. This means expanding renewable energy and protecting forests.

The Federal Republic of Germany urges the United Nations to take a more specific approach to tackling the human causes of climate change in order to reduce the risk of increasing prevalence of infectious disease. Germany recommends creating a sub-committee that will focus on building sustainable energy sources in developing countries, like wind farms throughout Africa. This would provide the developing country with reliable electricity that could be used in hospitals and other areas to assist healthcare. Countries who are willing should provide funds for these projects. It is prominent that actions to counteract climate change occur now, and Germany is well on its way to achieving these goals, and is willing to help other countries combat climate change as well.

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