CAN-E: EU’s international climate position going nowhere slowly – CIDSE
Press release

CAN-E: EU’s international climate position going nowhere slowly

CAN-E, Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues CIDSE is a member of, expresses disappointment about the outcomes of the meeting of EU environment ministers on October 25th.

EU’s international climate position going nowhere slowly

CAN-Europe Press release – 26 October 2012

Urgent need for EU governments to agree on cancellation of “hot air”

[Brussels, 26 October 2012] – CAN Europe [1] was disappointed again yesterday with EU environment ministers’ decision to continue peddling the same inadequate targets within the international climate negotiations, and effectively missing this opportunity to reach an EU agreement on “hot air” before needing to finalise the rules in Doha for the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period.

“Stuck for years repeating the same old targets, and with no new money to commit, the EU will be showing up in Doha pretty much empty-handed, with nothing new to put on the negotiating table,” said Ulriikka Aarnio, CAN Europe Senior Policy Officer. “This lack of ambition is unfortunately undermining the EU’s credibility as a driving force in the negotiations on a new international climate agreement and is threatening to unravel the alliances made last year in Durban with vulnerable countries. Agreeing to continue with a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is critically important, but on its own, it is not enough.”

 Despite agreement in Cancun that all developed countries should increase their ambition to reduce emissions, and despite the fact that many major emitters from the developing world have committed to taking action, the EU’s pledge has not changed since 2008. The EU’s domestic emissions are estimated to be 17.5% below 1990 levels by the end of 2011 – leaving the EU’s 20% target looking very weak, with considerable scope for enhancing action in the coming years.

A major unresolved issue – that also caused the meeting to run hours overtime – lies in the rules that currently allow the carry-over of 13 billion surplus emission allowances, or “hot air,” in the Kyoto Protocol. A meaningful second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that will deliver any emissions reductions requires higher targets as well as, most importantly, elimination of this surplus [2]. Most EU countries are willing to cancel and limit the surplus, but a common EU position has been blocked for years by a few countries who are holding onto a cache of permits because of the collapse of their industry following the demise of Communism.

“It seems clear that Poland and a select few countries have made it a political priority to prevent the EU from moving towards a low carbon economy and will continue with this destructive behavior as long as other Member States allow it,” Aarnio commented. NGOs call on the Council to use qualified majority voting, instead of diluting the text or accepting vetoes that have no basis in law. [3]

The Ministers’ agenda also included an update on the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), currently subject to opposition from other countries. “NGOs whole-heartedly support the EU’s efforts in this area. But we hope that member states will commit to directing all auctioning revenue from aviation toward the UN Green Climate Fund,” Aarnio concluded. “This would both help the EU to fulfill its climate finance commitments and also possibly reduce opposition to the aviation scheme from outside countries. The EU Finance Ministers meeting in November would be the right time to make this decision.” [4]

[1] Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 100 member organisations in 27 European countries, CAN-Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable energy and environment policy in Europe. CAN Europe is the European regional node of CAN-International, a worldwide network of more than 750 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) committed to limiting human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
[2] This surplus is estimated at more than 13 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent, over 1,000 times higher than expected demand according to a new independent study (Carry-over of AAUs from CP1 to CP2 –Future Implications for the Climate, by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, September 2012.
[4] EU Finance Ministers will adopt conclusions on climate finance at the next ECOFIN meeting on 13 November.

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