Judging the success and failure in Paris

Global transition

In less than a week, on November 30th, world leaders will gather in Paris to kick off an intense two-week summit that should result in a new global climate agreement. Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe calls upon the EU to drive ambition and fairness in the negotiations to secure a forward-looking, strong and just deal that will accelerate the shift away from dirty energy.

The Paris summit must be a turning point for our efforts to keep climate change under control – Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said. Massive investments in renewable energy, growing opposition to destructive fossil fuel projects and political momentum ahead of the summit all point in the same direction: governments need to reach a strong agreement that will mark the beginning of the end of fossil fuels.

CAN Europe calls upon the EU to improve the odds of success in Paris:

1. Review of pledges: For the first time in history, more than 90% of the world’s emissions are covered by climate pledges, the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). However, these targets cannot be the last word on climate action, as they are too weak to limit temperature rise to 2°C. They need to be increased at latest by 2018, and then revised upwards every five years. Moreover, higher targets bring more economic and social benefits, in terms of growth, jobs and improved public health.

2. Closing the ambition gap before 2020: The EU needs to narrow the gap between what is needed to stay below 2°C and what countries have pledged to do in the next five years, before the Paris agreement will enter into force. It could do so by cancelling its surplus of pollution permits, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, phasing out the use of coal and pushing implementation of existing policies on energy efficiency and renewables. The current, ineffective climate policies undermine EU’s leadership role in the negotiations.

3. Long term goal: To keep open a possibility of limiting climate change to no more than 1.5°C and to increase probability of respecting 2°C limit, the EU needs to support its allies in the developing countries in their pledge for phasing out global emissions by 2050. Numerous businesses also support the goal of decarbonization by 2050, because this timeline provides them more investment certainty.

4. Finance: Empowering the world’s poor to cope with the impacts of climate change and develop in a less polluting way can be the make or break issue for the Paris climate agreement. The EU has to deliver its fair share of the $100 billion of climate finance annually by 2020 and ensure scaling it up consistently after 2020. Climate finance commitments cannot be a mere diversion of existing aid away from key development programmes.

5. Adaptation and loss and damage: The Paris agreement needs to reflect the fact that the impacts of climate change are already destroying livelihoods and aggravating poverty. Therefore, the EU should advocate for a long term adaptation goal, which would link efforts to adapt to levels of emissions. Moreover, the issue of loss and damage – when the impacts of climate change are too severe to adapt to – needs to be firmly anchored in the agreement. Both adaptation and loss and damage should receive public financial support.

Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, ania@caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, wendel@caneurope.org, +32 473 170 887

CAN Europe, Letter to Heads of State and Government ahead of the Paris climate summit, link
CAN Europe position, background papers and recent blogs on COP21 here
CAN International, Annual Policy Document: “The Paris Package: A Springboard for Sustained, Transformative Change”, Summary English, November 2015 here

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 120 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing over 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.


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