A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

keith-taylor-Green MEPThis article was exclusively written by Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for South East England

The international community is on the eve of discussing one of the hugest challenges facing humanity: climate change. The United Nations Climate change conference (COP21) negotiations which start next week are a key moment for decisive action, but what happens afterwards and in years to come is equally important.  An article of this length cannot hope to cover all aspects of the multi-faceted negotiations, but I hope it will provide several key observations from my side as a Green party MEP.

It is now too late prevent some impacts of climate change – we are already seeing irreversible changes to our planet and weather systems. The challenge we face is to limit average global warming increases as much as possible, and to keep it below the 2°C threshold, as agreed on by Governments in Copenhagen in 2009.

Ahead of COP21, parties were asked to come forward with their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (what they plan to do to reduce emissions, by when and how) and 177 parties have now submitted INDCs. Although the INDCs are voluntary targets, this bottom-up approach is to be welcomed and the submitted INDCs cover just over 97% of global Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The INDCs should therefore be seen as being a significant and positive first step forward.

However, regretfully, these national climate pledges combined are still not enough to keep the planet on a below 2°C pathway, which is crucial if we are to limit the risk of runaway climate change.

To keep on track, the Paris agreement must be legally binding and set a long term measurable goal of phasing out global carbon emissions by 2050. INDCs will need to be revised in a regular and transparent manner starting no later than end of 2018 and take place at least every 5 years.

Furthermore, in order to help build trust between the different parties to the negotiations, adaptation and mitigation must have equal emphasis. Many actors are also stressing the importance of maintaining human rights at the core of climate action. Finally, without going into further detail, it is important to note that an agreement on climate financing is crucial for the success of the negotiations.

While the framework agreed on in Paris will hopefully constitute the start to an effective new chapter of international coordination, reducing emissions in the real world will ultimately depend on how committed and ambitious national governments are, and how they implement emission reduction goals. In this regard, the actions of the EU, as a block of 28 Member States, will be crucial.

The EU currently has a target to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and has already achieved this. The EU should therefore now commit to reduce its emissions further by 2020. The European Academies Science Advisory Council, for example, believes that the EU should reduce its emissions by 30% by 2020, regardless of the outcome of COP21.   In order to be consistent with the call for regular, as well as a near term review of INDCs, the EU should also introduce a target for 2025.

Following the talks in Paris, the EU will need to promptly embed the COP21 outcomes into all of its legislation, such as in the future EU Multiannual Financial Framework, and to increase its ambitions in order to phase out all of its own emissions in the next 35 years. It must continue showing real leadership on the international stage.

Sadly, it’s impossible to write about the fight against climate change and national efforts without mentioning the disgraceful record of the UK government.  It’s not simply a question of lack of ambition – in too many areas the policies being pursued by my government are actually damaging from a climate perspective. Only last week, leaked documents showed that the UK’s Minister for Energy, Amber Rudd, has been deceiving the public and UK Parliament by implying that the UK is on track to meet its 2020 EU climate targets. We’re not

Rather than investing in the UK’s renewable energy industry, the UK government is intent on slashing support for it, which, in turn, threatens jobs and undermines efforts to avoid dangerous climate change. This is despite the enormous potential that investment in, and support for, community owned renewable energy can bring, which I highlight in a recent report focusing on my constituency the South East of England.

To help ensure a global phase out of all carbon emissions by 2050 we need to phase-in 100% renewable energy and every country has to play its part, the UK being no exception.

Aside from the need for a dramatic u-turn from the government on renewables, they also need to bring about an end to airport expansion, their major new road-building programme and their plans to allow fracking for shale gas. None of the above makes good climate sense.

The measures we need to take to tackle climate change are also good for our economy and our society. The challenge now lies in convincing the UK government, and others like it who are stuck in the past, to change their policies.

Despite the fact that the climate march in Paris has been called off following the recent attacks, I would like to close by encouraging people to join our virtual Paris march: 

We need everyone on board and putting pressure on their governments and other decision makers to really make sure that the Paris talks, and what follows, take us in the right direction.

About the author

TAYLOR Keith - 8th Parliamentary term

Keith Taylor MEP is a member of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, representing the South East of England. Keith sits on the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee and the Transport and Tourism Committee. 

Keith is Spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) on Climate and the Environment and is also Vice President of the UK’s Local Government Association Group in the European Parliament. He is also Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Animal welfare intergroup and Vice-Chair of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance.

Before becoming an MEP, Keith was a Green Party Councillor for St Peter’s & North Laine ward in Brighton and Hove, England, for 11 years, having been elected in 1999. He served as leader of the Council’s Green group from 2001 until 2009, and was also a Principal Speaker for GPEW between 2004 and 2006, before the party adopted a single leader structure.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

A Sting Exclusive: “Our ambition is by 2020 Indonesia to become an emerging power of World’s Maritime Access”, reveals the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Indonesia in Brussels, treating WEF, ASEAN and EU-Indonesia relations on the eve of the World Economic Forum East Asia 2015 in Jakarta

Meet the Junior Enterprise network at JEWC 2014!

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

The EU threatens to occupy Libya militarily; is another colonial war brewing?

The quality of health education around the globe

Changing the EU copyright law won’t bring us much closer to Digital Single Market

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Is Erdogan ready to tear down the bridges with Europe and the West?

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

My ‘’cultural’’ contacts with China

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

The global issue of migration in 2017

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Global Business Community Comes to Paris with Solutions for Taking On the Climate Challenge Across the Board

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

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

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

Modern humanitarian aid at times of global crises

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

The vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion spreads fast engulfing more children

Are ECB’s €500 billion enough to revive Eurozone? Will the banks pass it to the real economy?

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

Predicting two more years of economic stagnation

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

Dreaming of China

Drowning in the Mediterranean this summer? Many happy returns

Europe votes against GMOs but the Council votes for TTIP

Eurozone cannot endure any longer youth marginalisation

The EU lets the bankers go on rigging the benchmarks

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

How China Mended My Heart

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part II)

Google and Apple suddenly realise that doing business in EU is tough?

Bureaucracy in the member states again the obstacle for long due strong European Hedge Funds

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

COP21 Business update: Companies urge now for carbon pricing as coal is still a big issue

An Easter Special: Social protection of migrants in Europe as seen through the eyes of European youth

45th Anniversary of the French Confederation (Confédération Nationale des Junior Entreprises)

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Utmost hypocrisy emitted by EU’s energy regulation

EU Commission retracts on the Chinese solar panel case

“Private” sea freight indexes hide Libor like skeletons?

Close to final agreement on the EU Banking Union

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

“These Romans are crazy”, the “Greek Gauls” will be shouting today in Brussels hoping Caesar backs off

European Business Summit 2014: Sting Report, Day I

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

The European Youth Forum needs better signal for its “call” for Quality Internships

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

18th European Forum on Eco-innovation live from Barcelona: What’s next for eco-labelling?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s