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International climate negotiations

Climate change is a global issue which requires a global solution involving action by all major greenhouse gas emitters. A comprehensive and legally binding agreement to combat climate change needs to emerge from the UN climate negotiation process. This must be ambitious if climate change is to be brought under control. The EU, long at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change, is pressing developed nations to commit to steep emission reductions and developing nations to start limiting their rapid emissions growth.

The EU is a leader when it comes to concrete action against climate change: it is on track to meet its Kyoto commitments for 2008-2012, and it has adopted ambitious targets for 2020. It has thus committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 below 1990 levels and also offered to increase this reduction to 30% provided that other parties make comparable commitments.

Leading by example

Europe's core goal is to keep the increase in temperature below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. This is only possible through a coordinated international effort within the UN system.

However, as the latest conferences on climate change in Copenhagen and Cancún have reminded us, when 194 parties take steps together in the UN context, progress is slow by definition.

Europe continues to be a leader by example. Before COP 15 in Copenhagen, few countries had committed to climate reduction targets. Today more than 90 countries across the world have committed to reducing or limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.

"International collaboration is absolutely indispensable to control climate change. The EU cannot solve climate change alone since we are responsible for a relatively small proportion of global emissions – just 10 or 11 %. But by leading by example, as we are doing, we encourage our partners to take action too. And let's be clear - many have done so, even if the collective effort is not yet sufficient." Connie Hedegaard

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Last update: 02/10/2013 | Top