Today the Commission signed a Framework for technical cooperation on environment with Vice President of Iran and Head of the Department of Environment, Masoumeh Ebtekar. The framework builds on the visit led by the EU High Representative and Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini with Commissioners Vella and Arias Cañete in Iran last April, when a broad and comprehensive agenda for bilateral cooperation was agreed. Commissioner Vella said: “I am happy we have made this important first step for enhancing cooperation on environmental protection with Iran. We will focus our work on the three thematic areas, where exchanging our experience can really make a difference: Circular economy and waste management; reducing industrial emissions and improving air quality; and better water management.” Commissioner Arias Cañete added: “I welcome Iran’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and global climate action, and I look forward to strengthening our cooperation to effectively tackle climate change. Advancing our partnership will boost innovation, investments and job creation in both Europe and Iran“. The cooperation on environment between the Commission and the Department of Environment of Iran would contribute to reaching the shared objectives of protecting and conserving the environment, of the role of resource efficiency in achieving green growth, as well as to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which calls for action at global level. A series of meetings will take place in 2017 to prepare a working program. In the area of climate action, both parties have agreed to establish technical cooperation in view to implementing the Paris Agreement. It includes the preparation of mid-century strategies, as well as capacity building, facilitating enhanced and cooperative action on technology development and transfer, climate finance and monitoring reporting and verification systems for the new transparency regime. Both parties have also agreed to support the promotion of the role of cities in global climate action and further cooperation with partners of the Southern and Eastern European Neighbourhood and Central Asia.
Today, theEuropean Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete participates in the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Energy Meeting in Rome, a key forum under the Union for the Mediterranean to foster energy cooperation on both shores of the Mediterranean. A Ministerial Declaration endorsing the work carried out over the year will be adopted, opening the way for concrete projects and initiatives at regional level. Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “Today’s outcome will help us further strengthen the special bond between the EU and our Mediterranean neighbours. Energy can be a token of prosperity, and the Mediterranean region has an untapped potential to become a major energy hub and provider of clean energy.”TheUnion for the Mediterranean energy cooperation is based on three platforms covering three priority policy areas: natural gas; integration of electricity markets; renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Euro-Mediterranean Platforms are meant to be an effective instrument that, under the coordination of the Union for Mediterranean co-presidencies, organizes and supports a systematic dialogue of all the concerned public and private stakeholders. The purpose of the Platforms is to provide a permanent forum for discussing energy policy objectives and measures, with a view to identifying concrete partnership actions and following-up on their implementation.On the sidelines of the forum, Commissioner Arias Cañete will meet with his counterparts from the Eastern Mediterranean to discuss the region’s potential to become an energy hub. In addition, he will meet with ministers from Tunisia and Italy to find ways to accelerate electricity cooperation between both countries.
The Commission wants the EU to lead the clean energy transition, not only adapt to it. For this reason the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU’s economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens. The Commission presents today a package of measures to keep the European Union competitive as the global clean energy transition is changing the energy markets. Today’s proposals have three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers. The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “Today’s package will boost the clean energy transition by modernising our economy. Having led the global climate action in recent years, Europe is now showing example by creating the conditions for sustainable jobs, growth and investment. Today’s proposals touch upon all clean energy related sectors: research and innovation, skills, buildings, industry, transport, digital, finance to name but a few. These measures will equip all European citizens and businesses with the means to make the most of the clean energy transition.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added:“Our proposals provide a strong market pull for new technologies, set the right conditions for investors, empower consumers, make energy markets work better and help us meet our climate targets. I’m particularly proud of the binding 30% energy efficiency target, as it will reduce our dependency on energy imports, create jobs and cut more emissions. Europe is on the brink of a clean energy revolution. And just as we did in Paris, we can only get this right if we work together. With these proposals, the Commission has cleared the way to a more competitive, modern and cleaner energy system. Now we count on European Parliament and our Member States to make it a reality.”The Commission’s “Clean Energy for All Europeans” proposals are designed to show that the clean energy transition is the growth sector of the future – that’s where the smart money is. Clean energies in 2015 attracted global investment of over 300 billion euros. The EU is well placed to use our research, development and innovation policies to turn this transition into a concrete industrial opportunity. By mobilising up to 177 billion euros of public and private investment per year from 2021, this package can generate up to 1% increase in GDP over the next decade and create 900,000 new jobs.
The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7 million from the EU budget to support Europe’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6 million to be invested into 144 new projects in 23 Member States. The support comes from the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The projects illustrate the Commission’s ongoing commitment to its flagship circular economy package. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “LIFE-funded projects use relatively little funding and with simple ideas to create profitable green businesses that deliver on the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “With the Paris Agreement entering into force in a matter of weeks, we must now focus on delivering on our promises. These projects will create the right conditions to promote innovative solutions and spread best practices in reducing emissions and adapting to climate change across the EU.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will be in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 18-19 October to meet with ministers ahead of next month’s UN climate conference COP22. The ministers will discuss the preparations for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change as well as its implementation. Following the EU’s ratification, the Paris Agreement will enter into force just before the COP22. A key topic for discussion will be the means of implementation for supporting action to reduce emissions and strengthen the ability of all countries to cope with the effects of climate change. Ministers will discuss the recently published Climate Finance Roadmap which outlines the key factors and pathways to reach the developed countries’ joint goal to mobilise 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. There will also be an opportunity for countries to share their experiences in preparing and implementing national climate action plans at an event co-hosted by Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Moroccan Environment Minister Hakima El Haite. The ministers will also discuss the development of long-term climate strategies and how to mobilise and strengthen climate action before 2020. More information is available on the Commission’s website. On climate finance see the recent Finance Ministers Council conclusions on climate change.See also OECD report on the “2020 Projections of Climate Finance Towards the USD 100 Billion Goal”.
The European Union welcomes the agreement on Friday in Kigali, Rwanda, on a global phase-down of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs). These manmade substances, used mainly in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Friday’s agreement represents a significant step towards implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, which will legally enter into force next month. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “This is a huge win for the climate. We have taken the first concrete step in delivering on the promises we made in Paris last December. The global phase-down we have agreed on Friday could knock off up to half a degree of warming by the end of the century. I am proud of the role the European Union played in brokering this deal. We have shown through our own action on the hydrofluorocarbon gases that this is a fast and cost-effective way to reduce emissions.” The 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to bring hydrofluorocarbon gases within the scope of the international treaty that has successfully phased out ozone-depleting substances used in the same sectors. The Kigali amendment requires developed and developing countries to gradually limit their consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbon gases, with developed countries moving first. The EU and its Member States have been long-time supporters of the global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon gases. The EU has shown global leadership through its own action. The Commission’s proposal for ground-breaking legislation on fluorinated greenhouse gases was adopted in 2014 and demonstrates that the phase-down was feasible.
In a joint statement published today, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc call on international partners to join them in securing the first ever global scheme to curb CO₂ emissions from international aviation. The statement is supported by the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Mexico as participants in the High Ambition Coalition − the alliance of developed and developing countries that helped broker the Paris Agreement. In it, the Commissioners stress the importance of ensuring that the aviation sector contributes to achieving the global emission goals agreed in Paris. They write: “It is crucial that we once again work together as a High Ambition Coalition to secure an ambitious and robust Global Market-Based Measure, with broad participation and the widest possible emission coverage, to make the objective of stabilising CO₂ emissions from international aviation from 2020 a reality (…). As participants in the High Ambition Coalition, we are inviting you to encourage as many ICAO states as possible, in particular all major aviation states, to join from the beginning of the scheme, and to declare their intention to opt in as soon as possible, and no later than at the Assembly. Together, we must ensure, through our own action and encouraging the action of others, that the Assembly achieves the highest possible participation.” The Assembly of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will meet in Montreal from 27 September to 7 October and, after years of work, is set to adopt a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM). The statement can be accessed in full here, as well as the annex of all the countries that have announced they will join the scheme from the start.
From 12 to 18 September embassies around the world are celebrating Climate Diplomacy Week, with events taking place to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond. Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge. These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris last December. The EU played a key role in brokering this deal and is now focusing on ratifying the agreement and putting it into practice on the ground. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said: “Europe’s security and prosperity are linked to the challenges we face due to climate change and the degradation of our environment. The EU is leading by example through implementing our commitments on sustainable development and climate change and is playing a driving role in supporting partners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.” Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete added: “Equally as crucial as the ratification of the Paris Agreement is the full implementation on the ground. The EU has a proven track record of commitment to climate action and the policies in place to meet our commitments. But we also have to do our work on ratification: the EU’s ratification of the Paris Agreement would demonstrate solidarity and unity in these challenging times. Let’s get it done!” Follow the activities taking place via #ClimaDiplo.
On 9 September, Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will travel to Budapest to further build on the successful work of the Central Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group. Ministers of 15 European Member States and Energy Community countries as well as of contracting parties will discuss progress achieved on the implementation of cross-border gas links as well as on actions allowing for the creation of a liquid gas market in the region. In order for the countries to fully benefit from the potential of the region, the meeting will also see a discussion on the possibility to broaden the regional energy cooperation to other areas such as electricity, renewables and energy efficiency. Vice-President Šefčovič said: “Our energy diplomacy is bearing fruit in allowing new sources of energy to arrive on Europe’s shores from the Caspian Sea, East Mediterranean or the emerging global LNG market. But in order to harvest these fruits, we must prepare our internal market to distributing the new sources across borders. CESEC has proven instrumental in the process of integration the region’s gas markets and has thus become a central channel for further integration across the energy sector.” Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “The success of this Commission initiative shows that the regional approach works if underpinned by high level political commitment by Member States and a clear roadmap. While we celebrate the achievements in building the missing gas links between countries, we will also look for new horizons and take our cooperation to new areas such as integrating electricity markets and boosting efficiency and renewables in the CESEC region.” Since its launch by the Commission in 2015, the CESEC Initiative has already resulted in rapid development of the infrastructure in the region and implementation of EU market rules which help ensure fairer prices for consumers and efficient functioning of competitive energy markets. The Energy Union aims at guaranteeing that all countries in Central and South East Europe will have access to at least three different sources of energy in the future, and works intensively to make sure that all countries in the regions are well interconnected to the rest of Europe.
The EU is investing and supporting infrastructure that is needed to unite the energy markets. Today, the European Commission has allocated €187.5 million for the construction of the Balticconnector, the first Estonia-Finland gas pipeline. The Balticconnector will end the gas isolation of Finland and develop the Baltic regional gas market. It contributes to solidarity and security of supply in the entire Baltic region. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Diversifying energy sources and routes, and uniting the energy markets, is at the heart of the Energy Union. This is key to ensuring secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all EU citizens. What the Commission has started with the Poland-Lithuania pipeline (GIPL) we are now pursuing with the support to Balticconnector – promoting a chain of projects that will end the gas isolation of north-Eastern Europe and develop the Baltic regional energy market”. The EU’s financial support to the Balticconnector comes from the Connecting Europe Facility program and corresponds to 75% of the needed funding. The pipeline will be constructed jointly by Baltic Connector Oy (Finland) and Elering AS (Estonia) and it will include Finnish onshore (22 km) and offshore (80 km) sections, as well as an Estonian onshore (50 km) one. The pipeline is expected to be operational by December 2019. Till 2020 a total of €5.35 billion is allocated to European priority projects under Connecting Europe. When completed, the projects will ensure significant benefits for at least two Member States, enhance security of supply, contribute to market integration and further competition as well as reduce CO2 emissions. Find the list of all projects receiving EU support under Connecting Europe. And see MEMO/15/5845 on ending the energy isolation in the Baltics. Furthermore, the Investment Plan for Europe (EFSI) has already boosted infrastructure investment in the energy sector.