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 Milestone

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

Can self-charging batteries keep us connected for ever? A young scientist explains

EU attempts to make new deal with Turkey as relations deteriorate

5G and the growing need for national CTOs

UN Middle East Coordinator strongly condemns ‘arrests and violence’ by Hamas security forces during Gaza protests

Colombia: Santos thanks the EU for its support to the peace process

Digital IDs and the Digital Economy: the (still) missing link?

These artists created a huge open library – and their idea’s gone global

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

Guinea-Bissau needs ‘genuinely free and fair elections’ to break cycle of instability

‘No safe way’ into battle-scarred Afghan city of Ghazni to deliver aid as traumatized children search for parents

Gender parity has a huge role to play in the fight to save our oceans

First EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers agreed

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

FROM THE FIELD: ‘A piece of me’ was taken

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

A new approach to scaling-up renewable power in emerging markets

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

3 ways to make the 2020s the decade we close the gender gap

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

MEPs approve boost to workers’ rights in the gig economy

Commission offers discount on fines to banks for competition infringements

UK voters sent strong message to May and Corbyn for soft Brexit

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

Stage set for successful 2020 Burundi elections, Foreign Minister tells General Assembly

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Service and sacrifice of African peacekeepers ‘at the forefront of our minds’: UN chief

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

Algorithms are being used to convict criminals and decide jail time. We need to make sure they are fair

Humanitarian aid: EU announces additional €35 million for Africa’s Sahel region

The reskilling revolution can transform the future of work for women

A Sting Exclusive: Healthy oceans amidst COVID-19, written by the United Nations Under-Secretary General

It’s time to end our ‘separate but unequal’ approach to mental health

Citizens to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe

GSMA Outlines New Developments For MWC19 Shanghai

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

UN chief applauds Bangladesh for ‘opening borders’ to Rohingya refugees in need

EU Trade Ministers come together in a desperate attempt to save TTIP

A win-win strategy for private equity deals

The Cold War had an unintended side effect: It created a European wildlife paradise

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

Security Union: Commission receives mandate to start negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence

Walk, cycle, dance and play – UN health agency recommends new action plan for good health

Impact Investment needs global standards and better measurement

What can we do about the crisis in trust in public institutions?

Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021 over coronavirus concerns

Mental Health x Meditation, in times of pandemic: cognitive and behavioral modifications

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

5 ways to integrate Syrian refugees into the workforce

Technology companies have power. They must assume responsibility

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Human rights are everyone’s business, amid relentless crises around world: UN’s Bachelet

Here are 4 of the most politically charged World Cup games ever played

5G in Russia: a local and global view on the way forward, in association with The European Sting

The world wide web is 30 years old. What better time to fight for its future?

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

The growing cyber-risk to our electricity grids – and what to do about it

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

The world’s most vulnerable must be protected: WHO briefing

More Stings?

Advertising

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