Friday, 27 November 2015

Climate change: The European Union towards COP21 and beyond

Developing countries – especially the most vulnerable – need a robust deal at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, as well as an ambitious action plan to ramp up action afterwards. The European Union (EU) can help finalise the deal by offering more in the key negotiating fora, especially on adaptation support and finance. But the real work will begin after Paris.

As COP21 gets underway, this latest briefing comes from the European Think Tanks Group – written by Steffen Bauer (DIE), Clara Brandi (DIE), Simon Maxwell (ODI) and Tancrède Voituriez (IDDRI) – and looks at the challenges and opportunities for EU climate action at COP21 and beyond.

While the EU must support developing countries with mitigation and adaptation, climate change and energy have become central issues in foreign and security policy, and the EU needs to look beyond 2030 and focus on sustainability issues up to 2050, both within Europe and beyond its borders.

Read or download the report via the German Development Institute

Finding solutions at COP21 and beyond

(1) A dynamic and legally binding agreement

The Paris Agreement must be balanced, durable, dynamic and transparent. To be a credible frontrunner, the EU must provide a coordinated and ambitious contribution of annual public climate finance to the $100 billion political target. The EU should give adaptation the same priority and urgency in the Paris Agreement as it does mitigation. It should ensure that commitments made at COP21 are complementary to the Addis Ababa agreements on financing for sustainable development.

(2) Ambition and consistency

The EU should be open to raising the ambition of its 2030 emissions target and a 55- 60% reduction target by the mid-2030s. But this requires a nuanced approach to governing EU climate policy – and a high-level commitment to an Energy Union strategy.

(3) Accountability for the private sector and local action

A comprehensive framework for non-state and subnational actors would improve transparency, facilitate knowledge exchange and inspire governments to increase their ambitions. To accelerate progress, we need a coalition of ‘friends of the action agenda’ and the EU could mobilise SMART climate action.