EU to set out negotiating stand for Paris climate summit

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union is due Friday, September 18, to formally set out its negotiating stand for the UN climate summit in Paris, including committing to 40% greenhouse gas emission cuts over 1990 levels.

The environment ministers from the 28-nation EU will meet in Brussels to set out their "vision for the architecture" of a global deal in the French capital where heads of state and government are to meet from November 30, an EU source said Thursday, September 17.

In October last year, EU leaders agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 over a benchmark of 1990, and push for 27% targets for renewable energy supply and efficiency gains.

The source who asked not to be named told Agence France-Presse the ministers would stick to their central pledge, hailed as one of the world's most ambitious targets.

But he said it was not yet clear what position the ministers would take on longer term targets. 

In a speech in Brussels last month, EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete called for "a long-term target to collectively reduce global emissions by at least 60% by 2050 compared to 2010 and be near zero or below by 2100."

The source said the ministers would push for a regular post-summit review to strengthen efforts to fight climate change, but could not confirm they would back previous calls for such a review every five years.  

In line with UN goals, the source said, the ministers will reaffirm the need to limit global warming to no more than 2ºC (3.6ºF) over pre-industrial levels, which scientists see as key to avoiding catastrophic drought, floods and sea level rises.

The source expected the EU ministers will push for measures to make sure governments match words with deeds.

"Nationally determined targets must be backed by multilaterally agreed rules on transparency and accountability," Canete said last month.

The ministers are also expected to support a "legally-binding" agreement.

The EU, the source said, will continue supporting calls from poor and developing nations, among the most threatened by global warming, which are insisting rich counterparts show how they intend to meet a promise made in 2009 of $100 billion (90 billion euros) in climate finance annually from 2020.

The UN Paris conference will seek to crown a 6-year effort by 195 nations with a post-2020 pact on curbing greenhouse gases. –