EU environment ministers today held a public debate on the follow-up to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Ministers congratulated France for leading the international community to a successful outcome and emphasised the urgent need to move forward and implement the global climate change agreement.
The discussion was based on the Commission's assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement for the European Union, presented on Wednesday, and a paper prepared by the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The debate was chaired by Dutch Minister Sharon Dijksma. Ministers called for the early signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement and agreed that the EU should participate fully in the 2018 facilitative dialogue with a view to the global stocktakes in 2023 and 2028.
During the debate, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said the EU must now live up to its commitments made in Paris by swiftly implementing the EU's climate and energy framework, as agreed by the EU leaders in October 2014.
Commissioner Arias Cañete said the EU's 2030 target of a domestic emissions reduction of at least 40% by 2030 was an ambitious contribution to the Paris Agreement. Consistent with science, it is the most ambitious form of mitigation target: economy-wide, binding in European law, and accountable down to each tonne, he said.
He added: "It will require a significant transformation of the European economy in the energy sector, transport, buildings, agriculture. In fact this concerns all sectors. It will not be easy, but we are determined to deliver. And importantly, it is designed as a first step in a roadmap towards a low carbon economy. The EU will prepare, by 2020, a mid-century low emissions development strategy, that will enable the EU to lead the global transformation towards climate neutrality."
The Commissioner welcomed the call by many Member States for the EU to maintain its international leadership through high ambition and continued climate diplomacy efforts, and looked forward to their support in putting in place ambitious implementing legislation in the coming year to ensure EU emissions are reduced in line with the Paris Agreement.