The European Union aims to show leadership at the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa, and fight to continue the CO2-cutting Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.
20 November 2011
EU aims to show leadership at Durban talks
The European Union should show leadership
at the UN climate summit in Durban and fight
to continue the CO2-cutting Kyoto Protocol
beyond 2012, says a resolution adopted by the
The bloc should give "public and unequivocal"
support to the continuation of the Kyoto
Protocol, a international agreement that commits
The International Convention Centre Durban. Photo: ICC
industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas
The parliament wants to avoid any gap after the current phase expires at the end of 2012.
Echoing previous climate resolutions, the resolution says the EU should aim beyond its current 20
percent emissions reduction target for 2020. Doing so would be in its own economic interest, given
the benefits of "green jobs, growth and security".
"International climate negotiations are at crossroads between stagnation and progress - the EU must
help to create a new dynamic in Durban," said Environment Committee and Parliament delegation
chair Jo Leinen, after the resolution was adopted.
"The economic crisis must not be used as an excuse not to act. The EU should back the Kyoto
Protocol and work with other countries on a roadmap to ensure a comprehensive climate treaty is in
place by 2015 at the latest," he added.
The parliament wants the EU to help find agreement on the sources and management of a Green
climate fund to support developing countries, which should reach USD100 billion per year by 2020.
New measures are also needed to curb aviation and marine emissions (excluded from the Kyoto
protocol), and to address land use change. In the face of challenges by some countries outside the
EU, the parliament stands firmly behind legislation they approved in 2008 to include aviation in the
EU emissions trading system from 1 January 2012.
The parliament is concerned that there is a "gigaton gap" between international commitments and
the UN target of limiting average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. UN scientific reports have
concluded that that industrialized countries need to reduce their emissions by 25-40 percent below
1990 levels by 2020.
Almost no one believes the Durban talks can come up with an immediate successor to the first stage
of the Kyoto Protocol.
"We all know that Durban is not going to deliver what we in Europe would like to see," EU Climate
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the debate, according to Reuters.
A more realistic goal for Durban, Hedegaard and many others have said, is that it can lay the
foundations for a follow-up global treaty to take effect at some point and meanwhile strengthen
other mechanisms to try to limit global warming.
Sources: European Parliament, Reuters
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