COP21: Negotiators must overcome divisions inherited from the past if Paris talks are to succeed

European parliament delegation chief Giovanni La Via says countries need to 'go beyond their comfort zones' to seal climate deal.

By Rajnish Singh

Rajnish Singh is Political Engagement Manager at Dods

09 Dec 2015

With negotiations at the COP21 talks in Paris now entering the final few days, the chair of the European parliament’s delegation, Giovanni La Via says he feels confident a deal can be reached.

“An agreement is achievable in the next two days,” said La Via, adding, “however we still have to solve some difficult issues.”

One of the key sticking points is money. According to the Italian the negotiations are “a trust-building exercise in the sense that developing countries want to be certain that the finance promised will be delivered, while developed countries want to be reassured that this effort will not rest solely on their shoulders after 2020”.


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Following Tuesday's EU announcement of a common position on climate change with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries EU commissioner for climate change Miguel Arias Cañete said, “These negotiations are not about ‘them’ and ‘us’. These negotiations are about all of us, both developed and developing countries, finding common ground and solutions together."

Gilles Pargneux the rapporteur of parliament’s COP21 report felt that the EU’s experience of establishing a carbon market could help raise the necessary cash, saying, “Our experience with the EU carbon market is already being transposed to other regions and could, if implemented globally, help us raise more money for climate adaptation”.

However French EPP member of the delegation, Françoise Grossetête was less positive, admitting that, “the negotiations are very difficult. I am really not optimistic on the result of the negotiations.”

For Grossetête the issue isn’t about whether an agreement can be achieved but whether it will be effective.

“Some important countries have to make efforts, like the efforts the EU is already doing, in order to find a compromise,” she said.

But Greens/EFA group deputy Yannick Jadot believes the EU’s negotiation position could be bolder arguing that, “the EU position so far has been really polite and discreet.” He wants to see stronger EU leadership on many issues including reducing carbon emissions by 30 per cent and better financing for climate change adaptation, and loss and damage caused by more severe weather.

Jadot accused the new Polish government of holding up a possible deal saying, “the EU has a historical responsibility to acknowledge. It must show more ambition, and should not be held back by the voice of climate denial, which Poland has been echoing.”

Delegation vice chair Maatias Groote stressed that carbon emissions from aviation and shipping should not be left out from any future agreement.

“We have set ourselves very ambitious targets in the EU. But when we talk about international aviation and shipping, no measures are being envisaged,” said Groote.

"Paris needs to set a clear mandate, so that we don't have a situation where some industries are overburdened and others are simply spared any effort”.

Veteran German EPP deputy Karl Heinz Florenz warned that there was no alternative but to find an agreement in Paris, pointing out that the UN’s Kyoto protocols on climate change ending in 2020.

“We urgently need a new, modern follow-up treaty that covers the post 2020 period, which is applicable to all countries,” said Florenz.

But for parliament’s head of delegation Giovanni La Via, the key to reaching a deal in the final round of talks is for, “all parties to leave their comfort zone of the usual ‘realpolitik’ bargaining’ in order to overcome divisions inherited from the past.”

“We need a solid, balanced and credible agreement and I think that Paris will represent the perfect moment to seal the deal."

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