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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

Here are five ways we can make mental healthcare better

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

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

Eurozone: New data show recession and debt closer to explosion

Ethiopia will soon introduce visa-free travel for all Africans

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

Facilitating the access to finance and risk capital for SMEs and midcaps

Can elections in Italy and Germany derail Eurozone?

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Policymakers can ensure the 4IR is fairer than the last three

London, Berlin, Paris to fight over EU budget

UN receives ‘Humanium’ wristwatch gift, symbolizing peaceful transformation

Mine ban agreement ‘has saved countless lives’, but ‘accelerated efforts’ needed to end scourge for good: Guterres

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

Will Qualcomm avoid Broadcom’s hostile takeover post the 1 bn euro EU antitrust fine?

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

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

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

Travel the world, find yourself

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

EU leaders agree on 2030 Climate and Energy Package: is “flexible” brave enough?

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

Deutsche Bank chased away from US, threatened with more fines

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

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

Berlin repels proposal for cheaper euro

This is where teachers are most (and least) respected

New roadmap toward healthier and cleaner oceans adopted by UN Environment and European Commission

Syria: UN Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

Launch of Pact for Youth: European Youth Forum calls for real business engagement

Ukraine: Is there a political force able to undo the division?

Draghi tells the EU Parliament his relaxed policies are here to stay

Tenants ‘forced out their homes’ by global investment firms, say UN experts

No agreement in sight on EU budget

Brexit talks stalled at launch; issues with European Court’s authority in Britain

Remembering Kofi Annan

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

What makes Copenhagen the world’s most bike-friendly city?

Security spillovers from Trump’s trade wars: China, Germany prepare for global disorder

This project is turning abandoned fishing gear into volleyball nets

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Parliamentary bid to democratize Myanmar constitution a ‘positive development’ says UN rights expert

South Sudan: ‘Horrific acts’ by government may constitute ‘war crimes’ says UN, demanding justice

Contact the Sting

Four ways we can fix economics in 2019

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

Christine Lagarde: the three priorities for the global economy

From inconvenience to opportunity: the importance of international medical exchanges

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

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