Thursday 25 May 2017

EU joins forces to push for deal at UN climate summit

A combination of photos shows people wearing masks to protect from widespread air pollutants in Beijing, China. Photo: AP/Andy Wong
A combination of photos shows people wearing masks to protect from widespread air pollutants in Beijing, China. Photo: AP/Andy Wong
A combination of photos shows people wearing masks to protect from widespread air pollutants in Beijing, China. Photo: AP/Andy Wong

Paul Melia in Paris

The EU has joined forces with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states in an effort to drive home a deal at the UN climate summit.

The new coalition of 107 states has agreed on a number of key issues which it hopes will result in a legally-binding deal by almost 200 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21).

It comes as negotiators this morning produce a new draft text on a proposed agreement which is expected to show progress towards providing financial support for developing nations, a system to verify that emissions are being cut in individual countries and a provision to allow ambitions to be ramped up over time.

It is also understood that the European Union is prepared to push for a reference to be included in the text where countries commit to a long-term goal of keeping global temperatures at no more than 1.5C above current levels.

This is a key demand from vulnerable nations which believe that the current 2C cap will devastate their countries due to rising sea levels and increases in extreme weather events.

Sources said the EU was offering to be "flexible" for certain countries and was "ready to consider" a reference to a 1.5C upper limit.

"We are convinced this could address some of the concerns," one source said. "Some countries believe 2C is too much as it will affect their climate too much."

The agreement also involves the European Commission providing €475m in funding to support climate action between now and 2020 in the ACP countries which includes eight from Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific.

EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete urged other countries to join the bloc to help reach an agreement.

"These negotiations are not about them and us," he said. "These negotiations are about all of us, both developed and developing countries, finding common ground and solutions together.

"We urge other countries to join us. Together we can do it."

The EU and ACP group have agreed that any deal must be "legally binding, inclusive, fair, ambitious, durable and dynamic".

Meanwhile, Ireland has been ranked 12th in the world for its efforts to combat climate change and move the country to a low-carbon future.

German group Greenwatch said policies including roll-out of renewables, emission levels and energy efficiency policies would help tackle climate change.

Germanwatch is part of the Climate Action Network, and says that Denmark is the most progressive country at tackling climate change, followed by the UK and Sweden.

However, it did not award any country 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, saying no nation was doing enough to address global warming.

Irish Independent

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