Paris agreement: MEPs call for stepping up EU climate commitments

  • Impact of a 2°C rise would bring profound, likely irreversible consequences
  • MEPs advocate pursuing the 1.5°C target instead
  • Call for a 55% emission reduction by 2030

All EU policies should be closely aligned with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals, Parliament said on Thursday.

MEPs stress that the current commitments taken by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) parties “would limit global warming only to a temperature rise of about 3.2°C and would not even come close to 2°C”, in a resolution on the COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, adopted with 239 votes to 145 and 23 abstentions.

They consider that the impact of a 2°C rise in global temperatures would be profound and most likely irreversible, but may be avoided by pursuing the target of 1.5°C. The technological solutions needed are available and increasingly cost competitive. All EU policies should be closely aligned with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals, they say.

Parliament calls on all Parties, including the EU, to update their contributions by 2020 in order to close the remaining gap towards the Paris goal.

Call for a 55% emission reduction by 2030

MEPs say that while the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to raise targets for renewables and energy efficiency will result in a reduction of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions of more than 45% by 2030, the EU should aim for a reduction of 55% by 2030. MEPs regret that in non-EU countries, the debate on increasing their contributions has only just begun.

MEPs also call on the European Commission and member states to prepare contributions to reduce GHG emissions by 2020, to be presented at the pre-2020 stocktake at COP24.

Should other major economies fail to make comparable commitments, it will be necessary to maintain carbon leakage provisions, in order to ensure the global competitiveness of European industry, say MEPs.

Climate finance

The EU’s budget should also be coherent with its international commitments, and the post-2020 long-term budget should have climate and energy targets at its heart, they say. The share of climate-related spending should be increased from 20% to 30% as soon as possible, and all remaining spending should be Paris-compliant and not counter-productive to climate efforts.

The EU should also set up a dedicated and automatic EU public finance mechanism providing additional and adequate support towards the EU’s fair share in the delivery of the 100 billion dollar international climate finance goal, say MEPs.