MEPs head to COP22

Written by Martin Banks on 14 November 2016 in News

A 12-strong delegation of MEPs will take part in the UN climate talks (COP22) in Marrakesh this week.

A 12-strong delegation of MEPs will take part in the UN climate talks (COP22) in Marrakesh this week Photo credit: Fotolia

Following Parliament’s ratification and the entry into force of the 2015 Paris agreement, the talks in Morocco will focus on how to finance and share the efforts needed to keep climate warming well below two degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.

During their visit, which concludes on Friday, MEPs will discuss issues with key negotiators and meet counterparts from other parliaments, as well as local and international NGO and industry representatives.

Delegation Chair, Italian EPP  group member Giovanni La Via said,  “In Marrakesh, we will have to work on the implementation of the Paris agreement. We helped to make it become binding, but it is evident that the intended nationally determined contributions currently on the table are not sufficient to achieve the objective of limiting climate change to well below two degrees”, he added.

“We will also work to consolidate the trust between developed and developing countries. We must and we can hand over to future generations a world that is more stable and prosperous: a healthier and cleaner planet”, he said.

"Marrakesh should send out the signal that the path chosen in Paris is irreversible”, said delegation Vice-Chair, German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen.

He said, “The climate targets need to be achieved step by step in the coming years. The European Union must be an engaged player in this process and act as a broker between the partners of the north and the south", he said.

“The existing climate targets will not be sufficient to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. Therefore, the EU needs to bring its climate policy into line with the Paris agreement. This means, in particular, reducing CO2 emissions faster and being clear about financing climate protection”, he added.

COP22 began last week in Marrakesh and is seen as a final opportunity for the Obama administration to secure a “lasting climate legacy.”

A Parliament source said, “We will be looking to see agreement on how the vision that was agreed in Paris will be turned into a reality, and will be expecting concrete proposals, backed with the necessary financial means.”

GUE/NGL group MEP Estefania Torres Martinez, who will also be taking part in the delegation, said, “The European Union has ratified the Paris agreement to fight climate change and world leaders are gathering this week to discuss ways to implement this agreement.

“We must keep up the pressure to stop global warming. The food industry emits one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

“The EU must take bold steps towards a zero emissions economy. For this it must challenge the monopoly that large agro-industries have on the food we eat.

“We at GUE/NGL are working for more EU support for small farmers, less food waste, ecological farming methods and greater reliance on local produce.”

Meanwhile, a new report says that global carbon dioxide emissions were almost flat for the third year in a row.

The Global Carbon Project (GCP) said, “There is now an opportunity for energy and climate policy to lock in the recent gains and raise the ambition of emission pledges to be consistent with the goals set out in the Paris agreement.”

It published its annual analysis of trends in the global carbon cycle in the journal Earth System Science Data, highlighting the continued slowdown in global emissions growth.

It says global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew at over three per cent per year in the 2000’s, but growth has slowed in the 2010’s and in the last three years have levelled off at around 36.4 billion tonnes of CO2. China drove the unexpected and rapid growth in the 2000’s, and is behind the unexpected recent stabilisation.

“It is great news that global carbon dioxide emissions have been flat in the last three years, but it is far too early to proclaim we have reached a peak” said Glen Peters, a senior researcher at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO) and co-author of the study.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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