Post-2012 climate policy for the EU
- Start date : 22/11/2004 00:00:00
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8%, compared to 1990 levels, between 2008 and 2012. The commitments of industrialised countries under the Protocol average 5.2%. These reductions will be a first – albeit vital – step to address the human-induced part of the climate problem, but alone they will not stop climate change. Further action is necessary to reach the ultimate objective of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to which the Protocol belongs, namely "the stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." Recent studies indicate that - in order to limit global average temperature increase further substantial global emission reductions are needed: global emissions will have to peak around 2025 and will have to decrease by 15 % below 1990 levels by 2050.
It is important for the EU to continue to demonstrate its leadership on addressing the challenge of climate change by developing ideas on the future regime. More clarity on further global action on climate change will also help business providing a stable and predictable international policy environment.
The Commission organized this stakeholder conference, which occurred on 22 nd November, on the EU's approach to the international co-operation against climate change after 2012, when the current Kyoto Protocol’s targets end. The Conference addressed how we should build on the Kyoto Protocol and how countries should work together after 2012 to fight against climate change. The Conference gave an opportunity for citizens, businesses, policy makers, NGOs, authorities, scientists and others to contribute to the debate on the future of global climate policy. The Commission will use the results of this conference towards its further consideration of the EU's post 2012 Climate Change Policy. The Commission will report to the Spring European Council 2005 on benefits and costs of medium and longer term strategies, including targets.
The stakeholder conference
The stakeholder conference has allowed different views to be exchanged and discussed on the development of the EU’s future climate change policy and its contribution to the international debate on the climate change regime post 2012.
The conference opened with a presentation by the Director General of DG Environment, Catherine Day, outlining the political and scientific background to the conference and issues to be discussed.
|Possible elements of the post-2012 climate policy for the EU|
Catherine Day: European Commission, Director General of DG Environment
Following the opening plenary, the conference divided into four working groups to consider in more detail the challenges of climate change, participation and innovation, and possible elements of the future architecture of a post-2012 regime.
Each working group opened with presentions each from a scientist, a representative from industry and a representative from an environmental NGO before the floor debate was opened:
|Environmental NGO||Lars Friberg
(Climate Action Network Europe)
(Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland)
At the closing plenary sessions, the Chairs of each of the four Working Groups gave short presentations summarizing the views expressed during the respective debates.
© K Watts
(UK ; DEFRA)
© K Watts
(GR; National Observatory of Athens / Ministry of the Environment)
© K Watts
After each presentation, the floor was opened for debate.
|The Chair, Jos Delbeke, and co-Chair, Artur Runge-Metzger
The Chair, Jos Delbeke, the Director of Air and Chemicals in DG Environment, concluded the meeting with a summary of the presentations from each of the Working Groups, and the discussions that they summarized and engendered.
- The debate about climate change post 2012 is in its early stages
- The Kyoto Protocol itself has only just entered into force and the implementation mechanisms have recently been put into place in the EU
The Climate Challenge
- There is general agreement, if not consensus, that IPCC science is a solid foundation for political action, despite its inherent uncertainties. The question of what policies are needed to address the problem is still open to debate
- Deep cuts in emissions will be needed, but the questions arise: how much and by whom?
- There is a need for a more refined analysis of the impacts of climate change, particularly at regional level
- Both long and short term targets for action are needed
- Industry can make win-win decisions through “Factor Four” type efficiencies
The Participation Challenge
- It was generally agreed that wider participation is needed, not as an excuse for inaction, but as a means of addressing the climate change problem in a meaningful manner
- The other major emitters will need to be seduced into participating in a future regime
- Quantified emission reduction targets should not be the only avenue to be explored and cost effectiveness of policies is a key concern
- There is no suggestion that developing countries should assume Kyoto-like targets, but there is still a debate on what types of actions would be appropriate
- To regain US participation, it is likely that more ad hoc targets will need to be considered
- Wider participation should help to address both economic and environmental concerns in tackling the climate change challenge
- There is a need for more active diplomacy at all levels and for better targeting of financial resources
The Innovation Challenge
- There was unanimity in the vital role that technologies will play in addressing the climate challenge, although the roles of nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage remain an open debate
- Much more needs to be done in the promotion of renewables and energy efficiency
- Many climate-friendly technologies are already in place, but their uptake needs to be encouraged economically
- Political, as well as technological, innovations are required
- The Lisbon strategy will be important to avoid industry moving from Europe and the subsequent need to ‘buy in’ new technologies, as a result of climate mitigation strategies
- There should be an increase in research and development budgets, particularly in the field of energy
- There is a need for incentives to encourage the participation of other GHG emitters
- Flexibility and financial mechanisms are important to a future regime
- The global playing field should be level so that business is not disadvantaged
- There is a need to exchange information with other countries at as early a stage as possible, resulting from their consultations on climate change post-2012
The conference was attended by stakeholders from industrial groups, NGOs, regional and national government representations and academia.
The Commission wishes to thank all those who attended the Stakeholder Conference, and those who submitted papers to the online consultation.
The stakeholder conference also takes place through the publically accessible (but now closed) web-based forum “Future Action on Climate Change”:
Summaries of the contributions:
- Environmental NGOs
- Government – including local government and government agencies
- Private Individuals
- Summary of summaries
- List of Contributing Stakeholders