UN deal key to climate fight

A new international climate agreement in Paris is key to keep the world on track for a sub-2°C climate warming scenario, as the European Parliament stressed in a resolution voted 26 Nov 2014.

The resolution is largely in line with the draft resolution of COP 20 adopted by the ENVI Committee of the Parliament stating that the 2015 agreement needs to meet the goal of reducing global emissions in a way compatible with the 2°C carbon budget and should also aim at phasing out global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

A year ahead of the Paris, COP 20 conference in Lima should make progress in order to make the Paris agreement as ambitious as possible. Delaying action would increase costs and reduce options.

To structure negotiations for Paris, key elements of the draft treaty should be ready in Lima including main goals for mitigation, adaptation, capacity building as well as means of implementation to meet the goal of phasing out carbon emissions by 2050.

Clear and ambitious national contributions are also fundamental. In the last climate conference in Warsaw, there was a call to put forward intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) by Q1 2015. COP20 meeting in Lima should provide guidance on the format of INDCs to ensure that contributions are quantifiable and comparable.

Besides, MEPs reiterated the pledge made by EU and its member states to step up contributions to the UN’s Green Climate Fund. Funding is crucial, indeed. I argue for allocating sufficient funds inter alia for renewables, energy efficiency and security measures addressing social challenges, too.

Equally importantly, MEPs reiterated the need for binding 2030 targets for emission reduction, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. I personally believe that the targets agreed at EU level for 2030 are not enough to keep us on track for the 2050 target and to avoid possible environmental or climate tipping points. Climate and energy relevant challenges should be addressed in a comprehensive manner with special attention to the energy-intensive sectors.

These clearly show that the EU needs to step up its own efforts. In this regard, citizens must hold governments accountable.

At the same time, as the EU is accounting for only around 10% of global GHG emissions, we should also look beyond our own borders and enable global partners to make their own commitments. The recently made joint announcement on new climate policy targets by the US and China provides practical and political momentum and boosts the prospects for a meaningful, forward-looking and legally binding international agreement.

 The Parliament Magazine, 1 December 2014