EU has reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by 18% compared to 1990 and expresses its readiness to commit for a 30% reduction in the context of meaningful international action, stated Cyprus’ Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr Sofoclis Aletraris, and EU Commissioner of Climate Action, Ms Connie Hedegaard in a joint press conference.
The press briefing was held οn the occasion of the start of the high political level segment of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change at Doha, Qatar, where Mr Aletraris, in his capacity as chair of the Environment Council of the EU, and Ms Hedegaard lead the negotiations on behalf of the Union.
The Cypriot minister and the European Commissioner presented the targets of the EU for the Doha Summit and gave their own assessment of the state of play.
They emphasised that the EU wants an outcome which takes forward all the elements of the Durban decisions in a balanced manner. With greenhouse gases emissions at present reaching an all-time high, the current state of play cannot continue and business–as-usual is not an option.
Mr. Aletraris highlighted that, ”firstly, we must agree on next steps towards the 2015 legally-binding global agreement with all countries on board. In particular, we need a concrete work programme for 2013. And equally important, we must also decide which further measures we will take to reduce emissions before 2020 so we can stay below a 2°C increase”. The minister noted that, despite the presentation of a relevant first text, there is still much work to be done, with negotiations expected to be intense.
Transitional period until 2015
Mr. Aletraris also referred to the EU’s intention to stand by its pledge of engaging in a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as a transition to the 2015 agreement. However, some important political decisions still need to be taken before this period can start. For instance, an agreement must be reached on the length of the second period and on ensuring its immediate application as of January 1, 2013, without waiting for its ratification or its entry into force.
Commissioner Hedegaard pointed out that reality shows that EU's commitments are ambitious. Among other, emissions per capita in the EU are lower than in many other countries. “The EU has reduced emissions by 18% compared to 1990 and is ready to commit for a 30% reduction in the context of meaningful international action is still on the table,” the Commissioner for Climate Action pointed out. Ms Hedegaard clarified that the EU has delivered on its commitments for climate finance and developing countries can count on the EU for long-term finance.
The Conference will conclude on Friday with the adoption of final political decisions.
Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment
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