Katowice (Poland), Dec 9 (IANS) As the first week of the crucial UN climate summit ended this weekend, businesses, investors, local authorities, trade unions and NGOs on Sunday called upon the European Union to commit to significantly increase the current climate commitments by 2020, in order to secure a successful outcome of the summit.
Stakeholders standing together as the Coalition for Higher Ambition urged the EU governments attending the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24, to respond to the landmark 1.5 degrees Celsius Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report with urgency and also scaled up ambition.
The first week of the talks delivered limited progress on technical issues, but most decisions that are expected from this COP, including a commitment to strengthen all countries’ climate pledges by 2020, are left to the ministers, who will be attending the summit this coming week.
To stimulate progress of the talks, the EU needs to do its best to convince all countries to support such a commitment, including by pledging to substantially increase its own climate targets.
With its new draft long-term strategy calling for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, the EU brought new ambition to the negotiating table, but it is the increase of the short-term emission cuts by 2030 that will make or break our response to the climate crisis.
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, told IANS in a statement: “The first week of the climate summit was full of bad news on emissions reaching all-time highs and targets not matching the demands of science.”
“It is clear that governments are not keeping the promises they made three years ago when the Paris Agreement was signed. The second week of the COP is the last chance to correct the course.
“We urge EU leaders to show leadership and ambition, and commit to increase the EU’s 2030 target even beyond the 55 per cent reduction some member states and the European Parliament are calling for,” Trio added.
Yann Francoise, Head of climate, energy and circular economy strategies in Paris, said: “Achieving Paris agreement is already a priority of numerous EU cities. The city of Paris adopted in last March its new Climate Actions Plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 for a fair, inclusive and resilient city.”
“To achieve this ambition, all policies local, regional, national and European should be aligned. The EU should increase its ambition. Thirty years is a short period to achieve this transition which claims social justice initiatives as the same level than mitigation and adaptation solutions. Cities act, have solutions, cities are ready to work together.”
Mir Roca Montserrat, Confederal Secretary of European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), said: “Scientists and citizens marching in the streets are reminding us that the climate clock is ticking. The ETUC supports the objective of a net-zero emissions EU in 2050, but reaching that objective requires much more ambitious milestones for 2030 and 2040.”
Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a viable target for the overall EU economy and a source of opportunities for value and job creation, added Miguel Angel Munoz, head of climate policies.
Experts say the priority outcome at the COP24, which will conclude on December 14, will be the finalisation of the “Paris rulebook”, a Bible for transparent implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement — the first global treaty to reduce emissions by all rich and poor nations.
The COP24 negotiations, which will see participation of more than 20,000 people from nearly 200 countries, are going to be held in the backdrop of grim news on climate change from three UN environment bodies.
India, one of the participants, has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity of gross domestic product (EIGDP) by 33-35 per cent below the 2005 levels by 2030, according to UN Environment.
EIGDP is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by a unit of GDP.
Indian Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was attending the summit, said the high level of greenhouse gas emission was a major concern and reaffirmed that India would play a “positive, constructive and balanced role” in the climate summit.
He said India is working hard for achieving the 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022.
(Vishal Gulati is in Katowice at the invitation of Climate Trends to cover the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24. He can be contacted at [email protected])