The European Commission today presented its assessment of the implications of the UN COP21 (21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) climate agreement with regard to EU policies, together with a plan for the EU’s signature and ratification.
The S&D Group in the European Parliament welcomed this document entitled: "The Road from Paris", but warned that this falls short of what is needed and more ambitious actions should be put into place in the near future.
S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt said:
"The EU played a very important role in the success of the Paris climate summit but it needs to do more in order to keep up the momentum and the political determination to move towards a clean and fair climate future. The EU must keep its leadership and show their commitment to the targets agreed in Paris.
"We should try to maintain the coalitions formed in the run up to Paris, such as the high ambition coalition, but this cannot happen if we don’t deliver.
"The current 2030 and 2050 targets are based on the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, which indicates that in order to have a likely chance to keep temperature rise below 2°C, an emissions reduction in developed countries of 80% to 95% would be needed by 2050. The EU opted for the lowest part of this range to develop its targets for 2030 (at least 40%) and 2050 (80%). As the EU agreed in Paris to pursue efforts to stay below 1.5°C, the 40% target is no longer valid and needs to be revised."
S&D spokesperson on environment and health, Matthias Groote MEP, said:
"Today's communication from the Commission contains a number of positive elements, but our group in the Parliament will push for more.
"We need to maintain the political momentum from Paris. Fighting climate change is a European commitment. This is why we need to integrate an ambitious climate strategy with energy efficiency, and further incentives for sustainable and clean industries, whilst taking all industries into account. There is much more we can do; for the international aviation and shipping industries for instance. In recent years, emissions in these sectors have grown twice as fast as those of the global economy, and are projected to grow up to 270% by 2050 if no additional measures are taken.
"We also hope that the environment ministers, who will meet in Brussels this Friday, rise to the challenge. The EU should not be seen as lagging behind when it comes to signing and ratifying the Paris agreement. This will show our commitment to the agreement while ensuring that it quickly becomes operational. We have no time to waste when our planet is at risk, and setting the example is crucial for all parties to comply with the Paris agreement."
S&D spokesperson on COP 21, Gilles Pargneaux MEP, added:
"The Paris agreement was a critical momentum for our fight against climate change. The EU contributed to make it a success. Now, it's high time to deliver.
"Today's communication from the Commission is heading in the right direction, but if we want to comply with the 1.5°C target, we need to be more ambitious: binding targets for CO2 emissions is necessary but also for energy efficiency and renewables. We can do more to make the paradigm shift real: there is a whole new economic and social world in front of us, let's just seize it.
To reach our objectives I can't agree more with the Commission: climate diplomacy is one of our key tools, especially for our relationship with southern Mediterranean and African countries, who were our strong allies in the final run-up to the success in Paris."