EU needs new pledge on the table to push international climate action forward

Global transition

Environment Ministers’ call for climate pledges in 2014 rings hollow without increased EU ambition

Today EU Environment Ministers set the stage for the EU to play a steering role in pushing an international climate deal forward. History has shown that arriving at the COP [1] with clear, coherent positions is one of the best ways the EU can positively impact these negotiations.

“The EU’s proposal for 2014 as the deadline for countries to put new climate targets on the table is a good one,” said Ulriikka Aarnio of CAN Europe. “However, ministers did not make any reference to raising the EU’s near-term target. While the EU is calling on others to increase action, it has already more than achieved its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020, yet still refuses to revise its position.  Increasing domestic action is crucial to securing the allies the EU needs to get other countries on board time for an ambitious, binding deal in Paris in 2015.”

In order to successfully build these alliances, Member States should also amend their weak approach to climate finance. At the ECOFIN meeting tomorrow, EU finance ministers must clarify how they will meet the promises they made years ago to scale up financial support for the most vulnerable countries. [2] At the high level Ministerial Roundtable on Climate Finance in Warsaw, the EU should be ready to firm up commitments for 2014 and 2015, including by making initial pledges to the Green Climate Fund.
Unfortunately, the EU’s proposals for ways forward in these negotiations hit a speed bump because of the troubled Polish COP presidency, which has badly undermined the EU’s credibility. Poland involvement of anti-climate lobbying group Business Europe in the pre-COP, hosting a highly controversial coal and climate summit and accepting sponsorship from dirty businesses have raised tensions before the COP has even started. The EU should deal with the counterproductive behavior of its rogue state if it wants to be seen as a relevant player in these negotiations.