COP 21: Parliament to serve as 'EU's watchdog'

Written by Jo Leinen on 2 December 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

Countries have been afforded exceptional momentum ahead of crunch COP 21 talks, but the work is far from over, writes Jo Leinen.

Over the past few years, a lot of work has been done to create momentum for COP 21 to finally result in a comprehensive agreement at global level. Yet despite huge support from governments, civil society and business, not all is settled yet. Uncertainties will remain up to the very end. This year's presidency will have to bear the challenge of both maintaining an ambitious level, while involving all delegations.

The European Parliament expects the Paris summit to deliver an agreement with four important characteristics. First, it should entail a legally binding framework for political action to reach the two degree target. 

Second, the agreement should be binding for all countries. For the first time, we can get all major economies on board, as well as smaller, vulnerable states that are most impacted by climate change. Countries such as the US and China sent a clear signal ahead of COP 21 to commit to a new international protocol. Even if we would like to see more significant promises to reduce emissions or turn away from fossil fuels, their will to integrate into a common framework is already a big step forward. 


RELATED CONTENT


China is more aware of necessary emission reductions; not only did it announce plans to set a national emission trading scheme by 2017, it has also pledged to increase its renewable energy production mix significantly over the next 15 years.

Third, Parliament wants Paris to result in an ambitious text. Provisions for future engagement in climate protection should aim at an early decarbonisation. A phase out of carbon emissions towards the end of the century would be too late to keep temperature rise below two degrees. 

Fourth, the agreement should leave some leeway for increasing ambition over time. Countries should commit to a regular process to renew their reduction commitments. This will make climate action easier over the next decades and allow for flexibilities that some countries ask for. 

With this exceptional momentum in Paris, it is even more important for the EU to speak with one voice. If there are too many different interests among the member states, the success of the negotiations may be at risk. Parliament might not sit at the negotiation table itself, but it will surely be the EU's watchdog at COP 21.

 

About the author

Jo Leinen (S&D, DE) is Chair of Parliament's delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China

Categories

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Issue 462 | 09 October 2017
16 October 2017

Cécile Kashetu Kyenge Interview, Gender Equality, Health and Safety, Future of Food, Spirit Drinks Regulation, Brexit, Energy Labelling, Plastics Strategy, 5 questions with Antanas Guoga and more...

New EU labelling rules are new frontier in energy efficiency
9 October 2017

The new energy efficiency labelling rules are set to transform Europe’s energy savings, writes Dario Tamburrano.

Plastics pollution: Problems and solutions in the circular economy
11 October 2017

Applying circular economy principles properly can dramatically reshape the economics of plastics in the global economy and help the environment, writes Miriam Dalli.

Related Partner Content

Life Cycle Thinking is the key to unlocking the Circular Economy
20 January 2017

The great advantage of Life Cycle Analysis is its ability to discover areas of weakness and improve upon them, explains Henri Colens.

Good indoor air quality is a basic human right
28 June 2017

The fight to systematically improve indoor air quality through better ventilation is still its infancy, argues Joan Miró Ramos.