EU: Stand and Deliver!

Where does Connie Hedegaard, and where does the EU, really stand?

ECO has learned that in a hidden room in the parking garage of the ICC, the European Commission is now pushing the 27 member states towards an 8-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. What is going on? Why would the Commission so blatantly cater to corporate interests and delay action?

If it prefers an 8-year commitment period, the EU will imply a starting date no earlier than 2021 for the much needed comprehensive, legally binding agreement.

So EU, whose side are you on? Are you with those who want to delay legally binding global action to beyond 2020? What about your desired peaking year?

The vulnerable countries have rightly insisted that a 5-year commitment period is needed. The negotiating process must reflect a sense of urgency matching the climate’s fast-changing reality. ECO suggests that 2020 is an easy date to remember. But it also pushes political responsibility for hard choices far enough into the future that it will hardly matter . . . well, except to those millions for whom climate change, failing harvests or havoc-wreaking storms and floods are already a daily disaster. EU, whose side are you on!

Just in case it needs repeating: ECO fully supports the EU’s aim of launching negotiations on a legally binding treaty between all parties, to be concluded in 2015 at the latest. That agreement should become operational in 2018.  A 5-year commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol would make the EU’s demand for a mandate more credible and send a persuasive message.  And we can all hope it will allow for some others at the table to come round to understanding how highly dangerous their current low level of ambition is.

Europe must stand with the most vulnerable countries in challenging those that want to freeze mitigation for this decade. Freezing mitigation does not counter global warming, delaying ambition does not generate ambition. Last but not least, don’t repeat old mistakes by slowing down negotiations because of a lack of action by the USA. That’s an excuse the world won’t buy ever again.