EU climate chief hails global progress on emissions

EU climate chief hails global progress on emissions

EU climate chief hails global progress on emissions

Written by Staff Writer

13 Oct, 2015 | 9:03 am

Europe’s climate change chief says he is astonished at the positive progress by governments towards a global deal on CO2.

Miguel Arias Cañete said it was “quite astounding” that 149 nations have published their plans to curb carbon emissions.

Nations have been announcing plans ahead of the Paris climate summit.

He warned, though, that nations’ pledges had not yet reached the level needed to prevent potentially dangerous warming.

Mr Canete said: “There are many, many reasons to be cheerful. The fact that 149 countries to date have presented the United Nations their commitments to fight global warming is astonishing.

“We have countries which together produce nearly 90% of global emissions – so that’s a big effort. If we compare it with the Kyoto Protocol – the first time we tried an international agreement to help global warming – there were only 35 countries and they covered less than 14% of emissions.

Mr Canete said the key was that instead of a UN conference imposing top-down targets, governments were volunteering their own action plans.

The generally agreed maximum “safe” temperature rise is 2C – although some vulnerable nations say this is not safe for them. The Rabat conference will publish its best estimate on global temperature rise based on the national commitments later on Tuesday(13).

The positive comments are predicated on the expectation that nations will actually carry out their promises. They contradict the conclusions of a new report from the former UK chief energy scientist David Mackay, which asserts that the UN talks are doomed to fail because nations will do as little as possible.

Mr Canete stressed that the current wave of commitments should be a starting point, not a finishing point. The EU wants the Paris conference to agree the need for a regular review of climate targets.


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