Letter on the Foreign Affairs Council climate and energy conclusions

Climate action

To: European Ministers of Foreign Affairs

10 February 2022


Dear Ministers for Foreign Affairs,

We are writing to you ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 February, where you will discuss energy and climate conclusions. 

Three months after COP26 it is high time to advance the implementation of commitments and agreements taken in Glasgow with full speed. The climate crisis accelerates, and the upcoming IPCC report on “Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability” will evidence the extent of the crisis. It is the poorest and most vulnerable countries and populations who are among the most affected, the least responsible, and those with the least means to confront its devastating impacts. Climate impacts, from increased droughts to stronger storms, from recurring heat waves to forest fires and glacial melting, leading to scarcity of and fights over natural resources, already undermine community, society and government structures, posing increasing risks to human and state security. 

The Foreign Affairs Council therefore needs to send very clear and strong signals on the EU’s preparedness to fully tackle the external dimensions of the climate crisis through its diplomacy tools, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and concrete allocation decisions of EU budgets (both EC and Member States). In light of your considerations of climate and energy conclusions to be adopted on 21 February 2022, CAN Europe would like to share the following key messages with you:

  • A key outcome of COP26 has been the call to all countries to revisit their mitigation targets in light of the continued gap towards the 1.5°C goal, which keeps the world on a highly dangerous emission pathway. An EU level of ambition of  55% net greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030 is insufficient and not consistent with a fair approach to 1.5°C, as demonstrated by various scientific analyses (see example here). Thus, in order to show global leadership in averting irreversible climate disruption, we call on the EU to use the current Fit for 55 negotiations to move well beyond 55% emission reductions, in order to achieve at least 65% emission reductions by 2030. Along with concrete proposals for accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuels as part of the pre-2030 mitigation work programme to be adopted at COP27, this is the most essential contribution required from the EU. 

  • Developed countries have failed to deliver on the 100bn climate finance goal by 2020, and every other year of delay is further undermining their credibility and negotiating position. Also,  we are concerned that recent commitments on climate finance fall short of needs. If the EU would come to COP27 reporting anything less than a significant increase of new and additional climate finance above ODA budgets, this would undermine the credibility of the commitments just taken at COP26. Thus, clarity and transparency on delivering on the USD 100bn on average over 2020-2025 is urgently needed.

  • With regard to a new post-2025 long-term climate finance goal, CAN calls for this to be set up to be truly responsive to the needs of developing countries, science-based, well beyond $100 billion per year, and including distinct subgoals for mitigation, adaptation, and L&D; provided in a way that is gender-responsive and prioritising and facilitating access of climate-impacted local communities

  • CAN Europe notes the COP26 commitments by developed countries to seek to double adaptation finance by 2025 (compared to 2019 levels) and the role played by EU Member States in securing this, which should parties should seek to overshoot since a doubling falls short of reaching 50% of the 100 billion goal We also welcome the EU’s financial contributions promised to the Adaptation Fund. However we are concerned by the stagnation in adaptation finance levels in the EU’s collective climate finance, and we ask the EU and its Member States to showcase in very concrete terms by COP27 at the latest how it plans to get there, and deliver on the EU Adaptation Strategy, with absolute priority on grants for adaptation, and more efforts to support bottom up approaches including through following the Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation; to leverage more collective EU funding adaptation should become a centrepiece for more Team Europe Initiatives; and the European Commission should also set out how it will take a more robust approach to adaptation proofing all Global Europe projects and programmes, including through the Global Gateway Strategy

  • On loss and damage, COP26 outcomes have been disappointing. Continued resistance to discuss options for additional loss and damage finance, as we have seen for too long from developed countries including the EU, is a dead-end street, and risks increasingly undermining the EU’s credibility as a partner with progressive developing countries. The EU must seek to come prepared to the Glasgow Dialogue, scheduled to start with the summer UNFCCC session with greater openness to listen to vulnerable countries’ views and proposals on financing needs including options for new and additional finance and needs-based institutional arrangements to particularly address loss and damage, to prepare for more concrete commitments at COP27; 

  • Building on the January 2021 FAC climate and energy diplomacy conclusions, and the outcomes from COP26, we call on you to reaffirm that EU’s external investments and energy diplomacy will discourage further investments into fossil-fuel based infrastructure. We note in this context that in conversations with global south partners we already see that the potential inclusion of fossil gas in the taxonomy, even with conditions, emerges as a  significant credibility issue for the EU’s external efforts to stop funding for fossil fuels, which is essential to bring us on a 1.5°C pathway; the EU and partners can work together to develop models for 1.5°C aligned just transitions out of fossil fuels into 100% renewable energies, incorporating infrastructure finance, technology transfer, technical assistance and education and training, involving all affected parts of societies in planning and implementation, and including just transition funding for workers, small, medium, and micro-enterprises, and communities, with human rights at the centre.

  • In this context, getting the Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa in place in 2022 is something which will be looked at as a proof whether the announcements from COP26 are actually followed-up and taken seriously; 

  • On the calls to engage with countries heavily reliant on coal-fired power and coal mining, highlighting the Coal Regions in Transition for Western Balkans and Ukraine. We underline the importance of concrete action plans for engagement, and highlight the significance of establishing a designated fund and participatory planning processes for just transition within the platform.

  • Similarly, it is overdue that commitments to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies are actually delivered on, and the EU should work with others to develop clear national roadmaps to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies (including tax concessions, direct budgetary support, export credits and funds through bilateral and domestic DFIs and MDBs) by 2025 at the latest, with clear milestones and measures to ensure that it is the polluters who pay for it – not the people;

  • 2022 must also deliver concrete progress in actually implementing the various climate and energy conclusions that emerged from recent bilateral summits in line with 1.5°C emissions pathways (in 2021 with India, USA; China in 2020); in particular, the Global Gateway initiative is a tool to assist key partners in moving towards a just transition away from coal by 2030 at the latest for OECD countries and as soon as possible for others, )and a fully renewable energy based system. 

  • In this context, we would like to suggest that the FAC requests the EC to provide an annual progress report on its Green Deal Diplomacy efforts, and to organise consultation meetings with civil society prior to and after each major bilateral summit with climate and energy relevance, to strengthen our joint efforts in succeeding international climate action; 

  • CAN Europe also welcomes the calls of the Glasgow Climate Pact to “increase the full, meaningful and equal participation of women in climate action and to ensure gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation”, and encourages the EU to step up efforts through its Gender Action Plan III for fully integrating the promotion of gender equality in its external energy and climate cooperation and diplomacy, and fully gender responsive climate finance.

Yours sincerely,
Chiara Martinelli
Director, Climate Action Network Europe