EU on Climate talks: “Now is the time for action, not later sometime in the future”

The world needs a comprehensive, ambitious and binding agreement.
The job must be done now, not put off for the future.
The task must be accomplished in Copenhagen.

The European Union is taking it straight against the danger that no actual agreement would be reached and signed at the United Nation Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, next month.

“The meeting has confirmed that we want to achieve a binding agreement in Copenhagen that includes all the key elements and clear commitments for all the countries of the world. As a result of the Copenhagen meeting and with a clear timetable in place, the agreement will be turned into a legally binding document.” said Andreas Carlgren, President-in-Office of the Environmental Council after a meeting – the last on the way to Copenhagen – with forty ministers responsible for climate and environment.

“The Chinese and US delegations have confirmed the direction agreed by Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao. This must be seen as progress, even though concrete answers have not yet been received,” said Mr Carlgren.

There is no more time to waste waiting: figures and commitments must be put on the table, and the EU is pressing for the countries that have not yet presented their commitments to do so as soon as possible. The commitments currently on the table are insufficient, and do not together reach a level that is sufficient to achieve the 2 º Celsius goal. “I have urged all the industrialised countries at the meeting to present ambitious commitments. The advanced developing economies must likewise also present sufficient measures to be included in an international agreement.”

Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen participated in Tuesday’s meeting and set his sights high. The ambition is a comprehensive agreement, which means immediate implementation and clear guidelines and timeframes to establish the legally binding regulatory framework. At the meeting, Brazil and South Korea presented their recently approved national decisions on emissions reductions.

Consultations at political level are now being intensified. Mr Carlgren has convened a special meeting of the EU environment ministers to be held on 23 November in Brussels. A number of informal meetings and consultations will take place in the remaining weeks before the beginning of the Copenhagen Conference.

Now, and in December, work must concentrate on the following:

* Other industrialised countries must follow the EU. The industrialised countries must collectively announce reduced emissions that will achieve the 2-degree target, with clear and measurable targets for 2020 and with a view to 2050.

* The United States must be onboard. The United States is currently accountable for one fifth of total global emissions. The EU is accountable for 10 per cent. If the United States does not join, this may start a domino effect with other countries falling away.

* China and other growing developing economies must commit to reducing emissions. China and other growing developing economies must announce measures to prevent emissions rising more than had been the case if no measures were taken.

* Money on the table for swift measures for developing countries. The EU has said that EUR 5–7 billion per year is needed globally during the first three years after Copenhagen. Others must stake their bids. The EU is prepared to take its responsibility. In the long term, EUR 100 billion per year will be needed from 2020.

* The rainforest must be saved and this will reduce emissions. The EU has stated that rainforest devastation must be halved by 2020 and must have stopped by 2030. The EU is prepared to contribute both direct support and support through emissions trading at a later stage in order to stop rainforest devastation, support reforestation and create sustainable forestry. Deforestation is responsible for one fifth of global emissions.

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