EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

Miguel Arias Cañete, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action and Energy, received Hakima El Haite, Moroccan Minister Delegate in charge of Environment. Meeting in the presence of Hakima El Haite, 2nd from the left, Menouar Alem, Head of Mission of Morocco to the EU, 1st from the left, and Miguel Arias Cañete, 2nd from the right (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/09/2015)

Miguel Arias Cañete, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action and Energy, received Hakima El Haite, Moroccan Minister Delegate in charge of Environment. Meeting in the presence of Hakima El Haite, 2nd from the left, Menouar Alem, Head of Mission of Morocco to the EU, 1st from the left, and Miguel Arias Cañete, 2nd from the right (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/09/2015)

“Today’s extraordinary meeting of the Environment Council set out the EU’s position for the new global climate agreement”. Those are the words that European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete chose at the end of the Environment Council, last Friday, where the EU officially set out its position for the Paris climate conference (COP21) next December.

A “robust and binding” deal

“We are now equipped with a solid position for Paris”, commissioner Arias Cañete declared. “The EU stands united and ready to negotiate an ambitious, robust and binding global climate deal”, he also said. Indeed last Friday European Union’s ministers formally committed to a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 over 1990 levels.

“We will settle for nothing less. President Juncker made it clear in his State of the Union speech last week that the EU is not prepared to sign just any deal. It is now imperative to step up the pace of the technical negotiations”, commissioner Arias Cañete stressed, underlining once more the crucial importance of upcoming Paris climate talks, at the end of the year. “There are just five negotiating days left before we meet in Paris and the real deal needs to start taking shape”.

EU position

Last week’s meeting became a milestone on the way to Paris even before its kick-off. Many were anticipating for an official EU position to come, loud and clear. The bloc has been broadly criticized in the past for an alleged lack of transparency and most of all unity as a front against global warming. As the main key-takeaway of last week’s meeting, it is now evident that the EU wants to showcase a new approach.

In a joint-statement at the morrow of last week’s meeting the EU now considers “crucial” to provide “a clearly defined pathway” to achieve the so-called “below 2°C objective”, meaning to maintain the increase in the global average temperature below 2°C above the pre-industrial level. Commissioner Arias Cañete said the EU goals were consistent with those UN goals, which scientists see as key to avoiding dramatic consequences, like catastrophic events and sea level rises. “Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020 at the latest, be reduced by at least by 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 and be near zero or below by 2100”, the Commissioner added.

Finance rules

As in every measure to take, finance plays a crucial role. In their joint statement, EU ministers said it is “essential that countries should come together regularly every five years to consider and strengthen emission targets”, following the latest progresses made by science. Luxembourg’s environment minister Carole Dieschbourg, who will represent the European Council in Paris, reportedly confirmed all countries were firmly behind plans for regular 5-year reviews of global climate efforts. “This is very important if we want to have a credible agreement in Paris”, she said. “We will push on accountability and transparency which is very important for the EU,” she further added.

Environmental groups’ mild scepticism

Green groups said the EU’s environment ministers’ position last week still is not enough. The Guardian quoted Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Jiri Jerabek saying “The EU’s position is still far from what is needed to reach an effective global deal”. The main variable – and the biggest doubt – still lies though on the unity front.

A long story

Almost one year ago, the European Union Heads of State reached an agreement on what it was welcomed as “the world’s most ambitious” target yet for cutting carbon emissions. A few hours before the agreement was reached, Poland threatened to veto the deal unless “the costs to its economy and industry were cut under a system of concessions from the EU’s carbon trading system”, as the European Sting reported at the time.

Poland’s objections

Still as of last week, Poland was one of the biggest matters of concern, we could say. The elections in the Eastern European country indeed complicated a bit the debate, as the right-wing Law and Justice party has been campaigning recently on a commitment to protect the coal industry. Many sources revealed that Poland realised it was the only player to formally object the text and thus softened its position after a few adjustments in the text.

All in all, last week’s meeting represents for sure a clear-cut step ahead of Paris’ upcoming meeting. COP21 will be a crucial moment for the fight against global warming and the EU has to play a decisive role. “With this solid position, the EU will be a deal maker in Paris, and not just a deal taker,” commissioner Arias Cañete said with no doubts, marking our biggest hope.

The last negotiating session before Paris will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 19-23 October. The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) will take place in Paris from 30 November-11 December 2015.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Japanese have a word to help them be less wasteful – ‘mottainai’

Commission adopts €70 million package for early access to EU COVID-19 vaccines in the Western Balkans

Who holds the key to the future of biotechnology? You do

UN rights chief bemoans unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, fearing ‘far-reaching implications’

Aid used for trade is helping developing countries diversify

OECD leading multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy

UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

Trump wants to implicate China in US attacks against global order

Is “Sustainable Development” a concept that integrates Health Literacy and Health Policy as a global health action?

With science ‘held back by a gender gap’, Guterres calls for more empowerment for women and girls

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

Eurozone plans return to growth

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Eurozone very close to a sustainable growth path

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

Coronavirus: Commission receives first preliminary application for support from the EU Solidarity Fund for health emergency from Italy

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

With Gaza violence ‘escalating as we speak,’ UN envoy calls for ‘immediate stop’

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

#TwitterisblockedinTurkey and so is Erdogan

Ukraine: €8 million in humanitarian aid to withstand winter

‘Agile’, multilateral response vital to combat terrorism – UN chief Guterres

5 facts you might not know about why forest biodiversity matters

Recovery and Resilience Facility: Belgium, Italy, Austria, and Slovenia submit official recovery and resilience plans

Australia wants to build a giant underground ‘battery’ to help power the nation

Commission proposes to top up support for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

5 creative alternatives to plastic packaging

FROM THE FIELD: Malawi farmers diversify to fight climate change

The JADE Spring Meeting is about to begin

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

6 ways to ensure AI and new tech works for – not against – humanity

Pushing for tax fairness in a digital world

‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

Global health challenges require global medical students

Safer products: EP and Council close deal to beef up checks and inspections

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

Investing in nature gives industry and business a competitive advantage. Here’s why

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

EU allocates over €43 million in humanitarian aid to South Sudan

The 5 lessons from New York Climate Week to help us combat deforestation

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

1 in 13 young British people have PTSD. Here’s why

The blackened white coat of the doctors

The clothes of the future could be made from pineapples and bananas

COVID-19: Team Europe supports African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to access finance through digital technology

Christine Lagarde: the three priorities for the global economy

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

Healthcare guidance apps to professional’s continued education?

End fossil fuel subsidies, and stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

State aid: Commission approves €286 million Finnish measure to recapitalise Finnair

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Coronavirus Global Response: Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s