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COP22: EU, DON’T LEAVE FOR TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY

Today, the second week of COP22 has started, and this has come with very good news. Firstly, the number of countries that have already ratified the Paris Agreement is increasing relentlessly, accounting already for 109 countries. This proves the resilience of the Paris Agreement and the global understanding that the fight against climate change is unstoppable. Secondly, today it has been reported that for the third year global greenhouse gas emissions stay flat. This is mainly due to China that has overachieved its expectations of emissions’ reduction. This illustrates very well how the real economy is moving faster than politics. The transition to a fairer, safer and cleaner planet is unstoppable and countries have nothing to fear for ramping up ambition to deliver on the commitments that we made in Paris last year. 

To honour our word and accomplish what we committed to in the Paris Agreement, early action is vital. The Paris Agreement will take effect in 2020, and the concrete measures that countries implement before that year are going to be decisive on our ability to stop climate change and the negative impacts that it is already having. Science is clear about this – we need to act immediately to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The Paris Agreement foresees a time for all countries to take early stock of their progress to achieve these goals – 2018. 2018 is the perfect time to improve and revise all national commitments and review ambition before countries submit their final commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will produce a special scientific report in 2018 about how best to limit global temperature to 1.5C. Today there is a significant gap between the goals agreed in Paris and the actual commitments made by countries to date. The only way to bridge that gap is to ensure action before it is too late.

There are however some actors that are not in favour of this immediate ambition, and one of them is the European Union. The European Commission and the European Council, both negotiators on behalf of the European Union, insist that early action is rather an issue for developing countries, not for the EU. They refuse to review their current commitments (linked to 2030 targets on energy and climate) and insist that the European Union is overachieving its 2020 emissions reduction targets, which is true. However, it is important to remember that this overachievement is mainly due to the initial lack of ambition of those targets. More importantly, it is fundamental that this overachievement is cancelled in order not to be used as an offset to pollute more in a future time – i.e. as ‘hot air’. The European Union cannot pretend to be a climate leader and a champion for the implementation of the Paris Agreement while not accepting to reconsider its own targets for 2030, which do not align yet to the Paris Agreement. The United Nations has let it very clear in its recent report – we need to increase globally our efforts by 25% to meet the goal of 2C. The European Union should do so. The time to turn words into action is now.

Source: Greens EFA "stop climate change" campaign

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