EU firmly committed to delivering on COP21 promises

Written by Giovanni La Via on 21 December 2016 in Opinion

The EU is firmly committed to delivering on the Paris agreement, no matter what happens, says Giovanni La Via.

Giovanni La Via

Giovanni La Via | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

The Paris agreement was an historical moment. After is entry into force on 4 November, earlier than expected, thanks to the European Parliament and the EU's call for a swift adoption, Marrakesh was the place to start turning words into action. 

I had the honour of chairing Parliament's delegation to Morocco, and I believe that this UN climate conference has left no doubt in anyone's mind: moving towards to a low carbon economy is the only way forward. 

As you know, the Paris agreement would not have happened without trust between parties. In Marrakesh we held many meetings with different national delegations and important diplomatic counterparts, but the general message was coherent: the states and the parties have continued to show unity and solidarity among each other.


The 'Marrakesh action proclamation' that was adopted, and the progress in the Paris work programme achieved by 197 countries at COP22, shows that the momentum created last year in Paris in favour of an ambitious and global decarbonisation is strong enough to survive the current political uncertainties.

We firmly believe that what has been done in Paris is strong and irreversible. Paris was not built in one day, and it will not be undone because of one single country election's outcome, even if it is that of a big country such as the US.

Of course, our work towards the end of the century is just starting. Implementing Paris, working on the 2018 facilitative dialogue, providing finance for climate mitigation projects, working on adaptions measures and on loss and damage, are among the key topics.

As the EU, we have clearly reaffirmed that we will deliver on our commitments whatever happens. In fact, we have already started to do our homework, since we are on track to implement our initial 2030 commitments.

Parliament is currently working on many dossiers. We will soon vote on the reform of the EU carbon market (ETS), which is a very complex file, with the aim of shifting investment towards greener technologies while retaining our industrial base. 

We have just started working on reducing emissions from individual EU countries, the so-called 'effort sharing' legislation and the new legislative proposal on land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).

The European Commission has also just published the 'smart and clean energy package' on renewable energy, energy efficiency and bioenergy sustainability legislation, in order to bring those policies in line with the Paris agreement objectives.

Decarbonisation is the target, but the question is only about how much the EU wants to lead this revolution and to push other global actors to follow this path, in order to avoid endangering our industries' competitiveness and create new job opportunities.

In this regard, going back to my initial message, we have an important task ahead of us, that will require global efforts and coherent policies across the world. 

Indeed in Paris we promised to deliver on a difficult target, but we will do our best to make it possible to reach it before the end of the century: To leave to our children and grandchildren, a safer, cleaner and healthier planet.


About the author

Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) is Chair of Parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee

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