COP23: the EU should ratchet up its climate goals

The logo captures the vulnerability of small island developing states to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and increasing storm intensity.      
A Parliament delegation will attend the COP 23 conference in Bonn © 2014 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 
  • EU needs a 2050 zero-emissions strategy
  • More financing of emissions-reducing investments
  • MEPs will be at the UN conference on climate change next November

The EU has to put forward a mid-century zero emissions strategy by 2018, Environment MEPs said on Thursday.

The Environment Committee agreed on a series of recommendations to EU institutions and countries ahead of the COP23 meeting next November in Bonn. They call on EU leaders to implement the agreement with EU legislation and ratchet up the EU’s goals and policy instruments.

As all UNFCCC parties have to communicate their long-term targets by 2020, MEPs also call on the Commission to prepare by 2018 a mid-century zero emissions strategy for the EU, with the aim of keeping the temperature rise well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1,5°C. The process should begin as soon as possible, they say.

US decision “a step backwards” but MEPs hail strong worldwide response

MEPs express their disappointment at US President Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. “This decision represents a step backwards”, they noted, but they welcome the strong responses from governments around the world in favour of the full implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Climate finance

MEPs are calling for concrete EU and international commitments to deliver additional financing sources. Lending and investment practices should be in line with the well below 2°C target, including divesting from fossil fuels and phasing out export credits (i. e. financial incentives) for fossil fuel investments, they say.

Global carbon markets

MEPs welcome the development of emissions trading systems globally, as 18 of them are in operation across four continents. They encourage the Commission to promote links between the EU ETS and other carbon markets, so as to increase climate ambition and at the same time help to reduce the risk of carbon leakage.

Target of the COP23

The goal of the Bonn Conference is to achieve “clarity on the design of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue”, which will aim to take stock of governments’ efforts towards the long-term goal, MEPs say. A Parliament delegation will attend the conference.

Next steps

The draft resolution was adopted with 54 votes in favour, none against and 6 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the full House during the 2-5 October plenary session in Strasbourg.

Quick Facts

The European Parliament is currently working on three pieces of legislation implementing the Paris Agreement: the post-2020 carbon market (EU ETS) reform (rapporteur Julie Girling), the 2030 targets effort-sharing regulation (rapporteur Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy) and the regulation on greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land-use, land-use change and forestry (rapporteur Norbert Lins).