The EU’s environment ministers are concerned about the “limited” progress made at the preparatory talks in Bonn (Germany) and Tianjin (China), in early October, in the run-up to the international climate conference in Cancun (COP16). They emphasise, in conclusions adopted on 14 October
(1), that a significant breakthrough will be needed to reach a successful outcome in Cancun, namely the adoption of à balanced set of decisions that contribute to the establishment of an international system to protect the climate after 2012. The Council confirms the EU’s objectives and commitments, including the conditional offer to raise its emissions reduction target to 30% for 2020. It also confirms its willingness to consider a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol “if this were part of a global framework engaging all major economies”.
The ministers consider that the advances by the two working parties (one on enhanced cooperation under the Climate Convention and the other on the Kyoto Protocol) must be transformed into official decisions in Cancun. This includes decisions on adaptation, mitigation, technologies, capacity building, reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+ programme), agriculture, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), financing of aid to the developing countries and market-based mechanisms.
The Council highlights the importance of guaranteeing the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. It notes that the surplus of assigned amount units (AAU) could affect the protocol’s integrity if not addressed in an appropriate and non-discriminatory manner, granting equal treatment to EU and non-EU countries. The Council also favours accounting rules for forest management based on reliable and transparent data. Such accounting should be mandatory for all the parties taking on quantified commitments.
Lastly, the Council emphasises the developed world’s commitment to provide fast-start aid of US$30 billion for the least developed countries over three years (2010-2012) and calls for “balanced” distribution of the funds between adaptation and mitigation, with funds reserved for REDD+ and the most vulnerable countries, small island states and Africa. The EU reported on progress on its commitment (€2.4 billion a year) in Bonn. It will do the same in greater detail in Cancun. The ministers are committed to establishing a ‘green’ climate fund and insist that its foundations be laid down in Cancun so that it can be operational by the end of 2011. The Council also stresses the need for alternative financing, particularly in the private sector, and the important role of the carbon market and Kyoto mechanisms in this respect.
The environment ministers took note of a report by the Presidency on follow-up to the Commission’s communication on analysis of options and impacts (carbon leakage) of moving beyond a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, on the basis of the EU’s conditional offer to raise its target to 30% (COM(2010)265). In the conclusions on this subject, the Council invites the Commission to further elaborate on options and conduct further analyses of the consequences for member states. It notes that work on the road map for a safe and sustainable low-carbon economy by 2050 should be included in this analysis of policy options to 2020. The Council also decided to continue to explore options for moving beyond 20% under the strategic guidance of the European Council, in order to be prepared to react to the ongoing international negotiations. It will discuss this matter further at the spring 2011 European Council.