EU lays out COP 19 climate goals

EU’s climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard during last years climate talks in Doha.

By Anders Lorenzen

Last week, ahead of the start of COP 19, the European Commission (EU) laid out out what it wanted to see from the UN climate negotiations which started on Monday.

At it’s first press conference, they highlighted that the destruction caused by typhoon Haiyan – with up to 10,000 feared dead in the Philippines and casualties in both Taiwan and China – is another timely reminder what climate change does, and that action is urgently needed.

The EU says that in Warsaw they will be looking to start building the bridges for a global, legally binding agreement at the 2015 Paris climate talks, which will come into action by 2020 as was agreed upon in Durban, South Africa in 2011 under the ‘Durban Platform’. The EU wants the Warsaw conference to capture the progress made so far and plan the work that needs to be done in 2014 so that a draft text is available well before May 2015.

Warsaw needs to agree on process for how to proceed to formulate the ambitious post 2020 targets, this should include a timetable showing their commitments and plans for how to achieve them; commitments that will ensure that CO2 emissions are kept at a level so global temperatures are kept under the two degrees mark, the EU stated.

Valentinas Mazuronis, Minister of Environment of Lithuania, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, commented: “The Warsaw meeting is an important step in implementing commitments made so far, finding ways to make short-term action more ambitious and preparing the 2015 agreement.”

Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Change Commissioner, added that ambition in Warsaw is crucial: ”Everybody should understand that the Warsaw climate conference will not conclude the negotiations on the 2015 global climate deal. But it will be a very important meeting to make progress and set the stage for Paris 2015. In Warsaw, we must agree to prepare strong pledges for the 2015 deal and to step up emission cuts over the rest of this decade. All countries must be ready to present bold pledges before the Summit of World Leaders on climate change called by UNSG Ban Ki-moon next September.”

The EU has noted that even though they, and 80 other countries, have made CO2 reduction commitments, they are not yet ambitious enough to keep temperature increases below two degrees. They want to see ministerial engagement in Warsaw to foster discussion on how the ambition can be raised.

The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which will run from 2013-2020, also needs to be mapped out. Detailed agreement for commitments is also on EU’s agenda to have finalised during the COP 19 talks.

Climate financing to help poorer developing nations to deal with the impact of climate change also needs to figure high on the agenda, especially in the wake of the Haiyan disaster. The EU has committed to provide €7.2 billion worth of ‘fast start’ finance during the period of 2010-2012 and they actually exceeded by delivering a total of €7.34 billion. For 2013 no climate financing obligation applies, it consists of voluntary donations for member states amounting to €5.5 billion, the EU said they’re on track to meet this.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

Categories: EU

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