At yesterday’s Environment Council in Luxembourg, the Commission secured an ambitious negotiating mandate for the upcoming COP27 Climate Conference in November and the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in December. The EU will push for increased action at global level to tackle the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises, and will work with like-minded partners to secure a successful outcome at both international conferences.
Nature and climate are intrinsically linked. Protecting nature is all the more important because it is considered as humanity’s best ally in the fight against climate change. Our ocean, soil and forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks, but can only fulfil this role when they are healthy. On the other hand, climate change can provoke severe damage to our natural ecosystems when disasters such as extreme heat, droughts and floods and accelerate their degradation. Urgent action at both conferences is therefore essential to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees within reach.
EU priorities for COP27 on Climate Change
On the COP27 climate negotiations, the EU will work for further ambition and action in this critical decade, including through the adoption of a Mitigation Work Programme and work on ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, phasing down coal, reducing methane emissions and aligning targets with the 1.5°C goal. The EU is already implementing its commitments through its domestic legislative work, and stands ready to further increase its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), if appropriate, in line with the outcome of the ongoing ‘Fit for 55′ negotiations.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans said “The climate and biodiversity crises are intimately related, and we cannot tackle one without addressing the other. Setting targets is not enough: we need to move from ambition to action. The Commission will therefore keep pushing for high ambition in domestic legislation like Fit for 55 and nature restoration, as well as in our engagement with other parties across the world. With yesterday’s mandates, the Commission now has a solid basis for the final negotiations at COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh and COP15 in Montréal.”
On adaptation to climate change, the EU is ready to accelerate action both domestically and worldwide. On the important issue of loss and damage the EU will play the role of a bridge builder, to find effective solutions to meet the needs faced by vulnerable countries around the world in facing the effects of climate change. EU ministers signalled their support for an agenda item at COP27 on finance for loss and damage, to enable Parties to discuss the best way forward to scale up support for vulnerable countries and communities.
As the world’s largest contributor of climate finance, the EU and its Member States are already responsible for an important share of global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. At COP27 we will engage with other donors to encourage them to increase their own contributions and deliver the collective USD 100 billion goal by next year, and the doubling of adaptation finance by 2025 compared to 2019 levels. We will also continue work on a New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance and on making all financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement.
EU priorities for COP15 on Biodiversity
The Council conclusions on the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 confirm the EU’s objective to play a leading role on raising global ambition. Protecting 30% of land and 30% of oceans by 2030, especially those areas that are valuable for biodiversity and ecosystem services, will be one of the main targets for the EU at COP15.
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Our health, our wellbeing, our climate, our economy – they all depend on nature. We cannot waste time any more in losing biodiversity. We have to act now and I am glad that ministers from around the EU have united themselves and agreed on a common vision for our future and that of the planet. I will defend this ambition in Montréal and work with partners from around the world to make it a shared one.”
The global biodiversity framework should set 2050 goals and measurable 2030 targets in areas including nature protection, restoration, use and financing. Other milestones targeted in the COP15 negotiating mandate include:
- restoring 3 billion hectares of land and 3 billion hectares of oceans by 2030;
- bringing back nature in degraded areas that have suffered from biodiversity loss through intensive farming, foresting, fishing and other activities;
- adequate resource mobilisation for biodiversity, following President von der Leyen‘s pledge to double external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries around the world.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has taken short-term measures to secure its energy supply, but its long-term climate and nature objectives are unchanged. While some Member States have had to increase their use of fossil fuels like coal in the short-term, the RePowerEU plan doubles down on measures to improve energy efficiency and boost renewables. The EU goes to COP27 with the commitment to honour its 2050 climate neutrality objective and a net reduction of at least 55 % in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. It also does so with a solid track record on its contribution to global climate finance, as highlighted in the factsheet released today.
From 6 to 18 November, at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, work will continue to implement the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, with the long-term goal to limit average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, and pursuing efforts towards 1.5°C. This goal was reaffirmed at COP26 in Glasgow, and the EU will seek to maintain this momentum by calling on all Parties, especially major emitters, to raise their ambition and urgently intensify their climate action.
Between 7 and 19 December, 196 countries will aim to agree on a global framework for protecting and restoring biodiversity at the COP15 in Montréal. Biodiversity has steeply declined over the last decades. Almost 1 million species are currently at risk of extinction. This global decline of biodiversity poses fundamental risks to human health and well-being, as half of global GDP depends on direct and indirect use of biological resources and ecosystem services, and food and water security are directly linked to healthy ecosystems. In 2021, President von der Leyen emphasized the need to turn the COP15 into a “Paris moment” for biodiversity.