COP 21: EU Parliament wants binding deal

Written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli on 15 October 2015 in News
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MEPs have adopted a resolution on an EU roadmap ahead of COP 21.

Parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee has adopted a resolution on the mandate for its delegation to December's COP 21 UN climate change summit in Paris.

The resolution was passed by 434 votes to 96, with 52 abstentions.

The text calls for the EU to demand a reduction of at least 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, a 40 per cent energy efficiency target and a 30 per cent target for renewable energy by 2030. 


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It also says any agreement reached in Paris should be legally binding and should aim to phase out global carbon emissions by 2050.

MEPs have asked for a share of revenues from the emissions trading scheme and aviation and shipping emissions to go towards climate finance, which refers to any public financing for climate change mitigation programmes.

Parliament's rapporteur on the dossier, Gilles Pargneaux, warned that, "if we do not succeed in preventing global warming from increasing by more than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century, we will see many more droughts, floods, melting glaciers and the disappearance of more and more farm land. Climate change will also be a factor in increasing the migration problem."

"The financial issue is, and will be, the cornerstone of an agreement in Paris. This is why we are calling for a clear roadmap from the member states so that we know how to finance the green fund from 2020. Fixing a carbon price at global level would also help to ensure that the least-polluting technologies are the most attractive to investors", he added.

The green fund was established in 2010 to help developing countries adapt to and implement measures to fight climate change. Countries aim to raise $100bn (€87bn) a year by 2020, but so far countries have only pledged around €8bn to the fund.

ALDE group shadow rapporteur Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy said, "the EU has so far failed to agree on an international climate finance package ahead of the Paris climate conference, and I fear this will undermine our credibility in the negotiations."

"Climate finance will be crucial to forge much-needed coalitions and ensuring poor countries can leapfrog to clean and climate-resilient development. We call on EU finance ministers to back the Parliament's proposal and use the EU's carbon market for international finance."

GUE/NGL group shadow rapporteur Anne-Marie Mineur had a more tempered reaction, saying, "of course, we are very pleased that the resolution was adopted. It is important that the Parliament puts pressure on the Commission to make Paris a success."

"However, I fear that the influence of the corporate lobby will have a negative impact on the results of COP21. The conference is partly sponsored by dirty energy companies, and oil and gas companies are going out of their way to greenwash their image by promoting false solutions such as carbon capture and storage."

"We cannot accept that corporate greed continues to influence decision-making on an agreement that is part and parcel of the fight against climate change", she stressed.

Greens/EFA group shadow rapporteur Benedek Jávor was also wary of business unduly influencing a potential Paris deal, saying, "it is important that any climate change agreement is binding, and that its implementation will not be subject to challenge by corporations in private tribunals."

He also noted that, "beyond the general goals in the resolution, it is clear that the EU will need to seriously up its ambition if it is to play a constructive and proactive role in shaping the UN talks to this end. As Greens, we are concerned that the EU risks being a bystander at COP 21 if it does not up its game."

 

About the author

Julie Levy-Abegnoli is a journalist and editorial assistant for the Parliament Magazine

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