BB200711, News in Brief
Environment Council conclusions pave the way to Bali conference
The EU Environment Council held its latest meeting in Luxembourg at the end of October, at which it adopted conclusions on climate change, water scarcity and droughts. It also held policy debates on other items such as a proposal for a fuels directive and the renewed EU sustainable development strategy (SDS). The climate change discussions serve as preparation for the UN meeting on climate change, which is currently taking place in Bali.
In its conclusions on climate change, the Council stresses the urgency of the challenge being faced and the need to begin negotiations that should lead to a post-2012 agreement on climate change; it highlights the importance of the current Bali conference to help achieve this. It recalls the building blocks for such a framework as identified at the Environment Council meeting of February 2007, such as commitments to higher emission reductions, the extension of the carbon market (Emissions Trading Scheme), tackling aviation, maritime and deforestation emissions and increasing sustainable forest management and land use. Cooperation on research and development should be increased.
The Council recalls the EU’s commitment to greenhouse gas reductions of 30% compared to 1990 levels by 2020, if other developed countries do the same. It also considers it important to differentiate responsibilities and priorities according to the different countries. It emphasises that “contributions by developing countries to the global effort of stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level consistent with the 2°C objective should be enhanced” and states that there are several policy options which can help such developing countries reduce emissions.
The conclusions underline that if climate change is to be slowed down there is clearly a financial implication that will require “vigorous action from all Parties”. National governments must create an environment that attracts public and private investment in low-pollution technologies and clean energy deployment.
The international carbon market is “fundamental” as a driver for low-carbon investment, says the Environment Council, and will need to have further public support to get greater private investment.
Cooperation on research and technology must increase, and developing countries must be helped to “decarbonise their economic growth.”
Deforestation emissions now amount to 20% of total CO2 emissions, and must be reduced. A framework for actions, including on sustainable forest management and land-use practices, should be decided upon at the Bali conference. The Council in its meeting conclusions stresses that all parties should get involved in the negotiation process at Bali, and “establish and follow an ambitious timetable which should result in a global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement [on climate change] by 2009."
The Environment Council conclusions