Climate Change: the Council reaffirms that the Paris Agreement is fit for purpose and cannot be renegotiated

Council conclusions on climate change following the United States Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

1. The Council deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the United States Administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The Council also welcomes the numerous strong statements of commitment to the Paris Agreement from countries ranging from major economies to small island states.

2. The Paris Agreement brought us together in very challenging times. It is an unprecedented multilateral agreement between nearly 200 parties, supported by regions, cities, communities, companies as well as other non-state actors across the world, to address a problem that threatens us all. It demonstrates, along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our collective responsibility towards the entire planet, for this and future generations, and our commitment to act accordingly.

3. The Council reaffirms that the Paris Agreement is fit for purpose and cannot be renegotiated. The Agreement is ambitious yet not prescriptive and allows each Party to forge its own path, in contributing to the goals that serve to combat climate change, which threatens development, peace and stability around the world.

4. The Council reiterates the European Union’s steadfast support for the United Nations as the core of a rules-based multilateral system. The European Union and its Member States remain united and absolutely committed to full and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement, recall the particular responsibility of major economies, accounting for some 80% of global emissions, and call on all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015 towards successful results at COP 23 and COP 24.

5. The world can continue to count on the EU for leadership in the global fight against climate change, holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The EU will lead through its ambitious climate policies and through continued support to those who are particularly vulnerable, to build strong and sustainable economies on the path towards achieving greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century, and societies resilient to climate change. The EU and its Member States are the largest contributors of climate financing and remain committed to mobilise their share of the developed countries’ goal to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries, from a variety of sources.

6. The EU is strengthening its existing global partnerships to this end and will continue to seek new alliances, from the world’s largest economies to the most vulnerable island states. Our partnerships will include the many businesses, regions, cities, citizens and communities that have voiced their support for the Paris Agreement both worldwide and in the US and are taking ambitious climate action.

7. Together, we will implement the Paris Agreement because it is our common interest and responsibility. We see the Paris Agreement and the low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient transition for what it is, the driver of an irreversible process of sustainable growth for our economies and the key to protecting our planet. The EU stands ready to cooperate with all parties to this end.