Much still to do following COP22, says Cañete

European climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete says there is "much still to do" following the conclusion of the latest global climate conference.

Miguel Arias Cañete  | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

23 Nov 2016

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Marrakech from 7 to 18 November.

It was the first COP since the 2015 adoption of the Paris agreement, which entered into force on 4 November after winning backing from major greenhouse-gas emitters led by China, the US and the EU.

Speaking in Strasbourg, Cañete said that while the swift ratification of the Paris agreement provided room for optimism, much needs to be done to turn national pledges into concrete action in order to limit the rise in world temperature to below two degrees above pre-industrial levels. 


He told MEPs in Parliament, "After COP22 we have an unprecedented opportunity to continue on the path towards a low carbon economy.

"We must now demonstrate to the rest of the world our determination to implement the Paris agreement."

Cañete told the plenary on Wednesday, "I look forward to working with Parliament in achieving this but much still needs to be done."

The post-COP22 period opened a harder phase when signatories will have to keep their promises for action, he said.

His comments come after US President-elect Donald Trump appeared to possibly back track on his much vaunted promise to abandon the international climate accord.

Trump said on Tuesday he was keeping an open mind on whether to pull out of the landmark international deal to fight climate change, in a softening of his stance toward global warming.

Trump told the New York Times in an interview that he thinks there is "some connectivity" between human activity and global warming, despite previously describing climate change as a hoax.

Ministers at the Marrakech meeting said momentum for cutting greenhouse gases was "irreversible" and reaffirmed their commitment to "full implementation" of the Paris accord.

One area where it was agreed that further progress will be needed is climate finance.

"Finance continues to be a stumbling block in the negotiations, with some developed countries shirking their responsibilities", said Pepe Clarke, head of policy at BirdLife International. 

"For the Paris agreement to work, rich countries will need to give developing countries the money they need to protect their vulnerable communities and ecosystems."

While the world continues to make progress in addressing climate change, current efforts are not sufficient, he said.

"While we welcome the continued progress and constructive spirit of the climate negotiations, it is important to remember that our current trajectory is taking us towards catastrophic climate change" he said.

Meanwhile, a new analysis of lobby meetings claims that Cañete and his colleague Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for the energy union, have "overwhelmingly met corporate lobbyists, rather than public interest groups."

The claims are made by transparency groups, Corporate Europe Observatory, Corporate Accountability International and AITEC.

The analysis, which coincides with the officials' two-year anniversary in office, claims the two men have a "particularly close relationship to lobbyists representing the fossil fuel industry."

The alliance say that Cañete, who led the EU delegation in Marrakech, "refuses to tackle the severe conflict of interest created when companies making enormous profits while causing climate change are also shaping policies to tackle it."

They add, "The EU blocked an initiative to address this conflict in the UN negotiations earlier this year, which had been launched by governments representing over 70 per cent of the world's population."


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