ECO truly appreciates that the European Union still supports the Kyoto Protocol (KP), and is heartened by the commitment of the EU to continue (what some might call) ranting about the importance of a legally binding regime. This week, ECO has been particularly pleased to see that the EU started to show some more readiness to accept a second commitment period of the KP. And ECO understands, from the EU’s stated preference for a comprehensive legally binding outcome of the future framework, that the commitments under the Protocol are going to be kept legally binding.
Of particular concern to ECO is that some representatives from particular European countries favor other positions. Understandably it can be hard to make 28 mouths express the same, clear and coherent position but this is, indeed, urgently needed.
ECO believes that the EU should fight harder to ensure that, in Durban, the KP will move into a legally binding second commitment period with broad participation and binding rules. How would anyone understand that the EU believes it would be easier to build a legally binding regime after abandoning the only legal building block we have?
It is in the EU’s, and the planet’s, own interest to ensure that its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol goes beyond a political declaration. Moreover, if the EU is really keen to get all countries to negotiate a legally binding outcome in the LCA, promoting a political commitment to the KP does not seem the best strategy. Increasing ambition means going up, not down.
Next Monday, when the EU member states' environment ministers meet in Luxembourg, the EU has the chance to unambiguously put its position on paper and ECO believes the time has come to do so and take on a clear leading role. To accept and adopt a second commitment period of the KP does not require anything more than what the EU is already doing, so ECO would find it difficult to understand that the EU denied this breath of fresh air to the current climate talks.
ECO believes the EU could gain a lot if it could leave Durban as the Party that (once again) shaped the outcome of the COP and helped to save the only existing pathway to a global legally binding agreement.