The European Commission to launch a public debate on how best to design a new international agreement to combat climate change

Brussels, 27-3-2013 — / — The European Commission today adopted a consultative paper that launches a public debate on how best to design a new international agreement to combat climate change. The Consultative Communication raises key questions and invites the views of stakeholders on the new agreement, which is to be completed by the end of 2015 and to apply from 2020.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “In Copenhagen, world leaders set the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C in order to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change. That is good. But as the world day by day is moving away from this target, it is clearly not enough. More action is needed by everybody. An ambitious international agreement in which all major economies commit to take action according to their current and future capabilities is vital if we are to succeed. This paper is an invitation to help shape the EU’s position and contribute to getting the strongest possible deal in 2015.”

The Consultative Communication invites input from stakeholders, Member States and EU institutions on how best to design the 2015 agreement, which will lay down the international regime for fighting climate change post 2020.

The public consultation runs online until 26 June. A stakeholder conference will be held on 17 April in Brussels.

Keeping global warming below 2°C

The UN parties launched negotiations on the new climate agreement at the end of 2011 in Durban. The public consultation coincides with an expected intensification of the negotiations this year.

The 2015 agreement will have to bring together the current patchwork of binding and non-binding arrangements under the UN climate convention and the Kyoto Protocol into a single comprehensive regime. Whereas the EU, a few other European countries and Australia have joined a legally binding second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, some 60 other countries around the world have made different types of non-binding commitments to reduce, or limit the growth in, their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Stepping up pre-2020 ambition is also crucial

At the same time as the international negotiations on the 2015 agreement, parallel negotiations were launched under the Durban Platform to find ways to deepen global GHG emission reductions before the agreement takes effect in 2020. This reflects recognition that there is a significant gap between countries’ current emissions pledges for 2020 and what is needed to put the world on track towards keeping global warming below 2°C.

While the Consultative Communication focuses on the 2015 agreement, it makes clear that global action taken before 2020 will be crucial to setting policies on the right path for the agreement to succeed.

Next steps

The Commission will analyse responses received, which will feed into the development of the EU’s position on the 2015 agreement.

Further information:

The 2015 agreement

Stakeholder conference

Stepping up pre-2020 ambition

Contacts :

Isaac Valero Ladron (+32 2 296 49 71)

Stephanie Rhomberg (+32 2 298 72 78)

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