Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Ice floes near Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Towards a global pact on climate change© Paul Caputo (stock.xchng)

Climate change: EU outlines its options for Copenhagen


The European Commission today presented its Communication "Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen". The Communication represents its latest proposals ahead of the December 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen. The agreement in Copenhagen should be the basis for further international action on climate change, following on from the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period, which ends in 2012.

The JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) assessed the impacts of the Commission's new proposal using POLES, the EC reference world simulation model for the energy sector, as well as the macroeconomic General Equilibrium Model for Energy-Economy-Environment interactions (GEM-E3). The analysis focuses on alternative post 2012 burden sharing scenarios on a global scale, as well as on the role of global carbon markets.

The analysis addresses impact on GDP, employment, trade, government revenues, household consumption and energy use.

The Commission's Communication sets out concrete proposals for action by the EU and the rest of the international community with the aim of limiting the global average temperature rise to less than 2°C above the pre-industrial level, along with effective financial architecture to support the actions to be agreed on in Copenhagen. The Commission concludes that the EU should:

  1. Reaffirm its determination to reach a comprehensive and ambitious international agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009;
  2. Engage with other developed countries with a view to agreeing on a set of GHG reduction targets, ensuring comparable efforts, based on the criteria in this Communication, in order to collectively deliver 30 % emission reductions in 2020 compared to 1990;
  3. Engage with developing countries, especially with the economically more advanced, so that they take appropriate actions that will deliver collectively a deviation of 15-30 % below business as usual in 2020;
  4. Acknowledge that staying below 2°C will require significant financial resources for emission reductions and adaptation, but that this will also stimulate innovation, economic growth and lead to long-term sustainable development;
  5. Express readiness to provide a substantial financial contribution in support of actions by developing countries, in particular for the most vulnerable and poorest, for instance through the Global Climate Financing Mechanism;
  6. Propose to enter into bilateral partnerships with the US and with other developed countries to share experience on designing domestic emissions trading systems and to facilitate the creation of a robust OECD-wide carbon market by 2015. This market should be further extended to economically more advanced developing countries by 2020.