Paris climate conference: historic opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change

Paris climate conference: historic opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change


The European Commission presented its position and objectives ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris on 30 November – 11 December.

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The European Commission underlined the crucial importance of reaching a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate deal at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris from 30 November-11 December. The European Union will be working to achieve a comprehensive, durable and dynamic agreement that will accelerate the global shift to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.

This will not only help curb climate change and increase societies' efforts to adapt to its impacts, but also underpin long-term economic growth and sustainable development in the EU and globally. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will both participate in the conference, along with other world leaders.

President Juncker said: "The EU wants an ambitious and binding global deal in Paris. We were the first to table our climate pledge in March and it is still the most ambitious contribution. Our goal of holding global temperature rise below 2°C by the end of the century is still within reach. We are witnessing a global movement like never before. I hope this will translate into action during the negotiations next week. If the world delivers in Paris, the humanity will have an international regime to efficiently combat climate change."

Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "This is it. Paris is a historic opportunity that we cannot miss. Now we must translate the momentum we have seen on the road to Paris into an ambitious, operational, legally binding agreement. More than 170 countries, covering over 95% of global emissions, have already unveiled their climate pledges ahead of the conference. This is a real game changer. It is also a clear evidence of governments' shared sense of urgency and political determination to make Paris the beginning of a new chapter in climate action. But there is no room for complacency – the credibility of the deal will depend on these key elements: a long-term goal, regular reviews to increase ambition over time and strong transparency and accountability rules."

EU position

The increase in the global average temperature needs to be held below 2°C above the pre-industrial levels in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. For the EU, the new agreement must send a clear signal of governments' resolve to reduce emissions sufficiently to keep temperature increase below the agreed limit by the end of the century. The EU's vision of a credible agreement includes:

1. A global vision for a long term goal as a signal for stakeholders, including businesses, investors and the public, of the resolve to shift to low-carbon economies;
2. A mechanism to regularly review and raise the collective ambition;
3. A robust transparency and accountability system to ensure that Parties and stakeholders can trust that what is promised will be delivered.

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