EU ministers seek ambitious, binding deal at Paris climate talks: draft

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 1:00 PM

By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union ministers are seeking an ambitious, durable and legally binding deal to curb global warming, enforced through five-yearly reviews, a draft of their position statement for U.N. climate talks shows.

EU environment ministers meet on Sept. 18 in Brussels to iron out their joint position ahead of the U.N. talks in Paris in December. Diplomats have already drawn up a draft text.

The Paris climate agreement must be "legally binding in order to enshrine the strongest expression of political will and provide predictability and durability", says the EU ministers' draft seen by Reuters.

It calls for five-yearly reviews to ensure temperature rises are capped at 2 degrees Celsius, the necessary limit according to scientists to prevent the most devastating climate change.

The EU ministers will promise more money to help deal with the impact of changing weather, although the detail of "scaling up the mobilization of climate finance" is left for EU finance ministers meeting in October to decide.

Developing nations say that cash is essential for them to sign a new deal.

Europe has pledged to curb its emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 versus 1990 levels, which EU diplomats say is likely to remain the deepest reduction on offer.

China, the world's biggest emitter, has not formally submitted its plans to the United Nations. But its premier has said the nation sets itself a target of peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 or sooner if possible.

EU emissions, which account for about 10 percent of the total, compared with China's roughly 25 percent, peaked in 1979.

On Monday at summit talks with the EU in Brussels, China is expected to issue a joint call to tackle climate change as one of "the greatest threats facing humanity".

Chinese support is considered crucial to avoiding a repeat of the failed Copenhagen U.N. summit in 2009, the last attempt to reach a global climate deal.

Increasingly, China acknowledges the need to grow sustainably and is developing pilot emissions trading schemes along the lines of the EU Emissions Trading System.

One of the Chinese projects includes aviation, giving EU officials hope a global market-based solution to cutting aircraft pollution will be agreed as part of the follow-up to any Paris deal, although they acknowledge talks on the issue are difficult.

The draft for the September meeting says the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization should in 2016 "regulate in an effective manner emissions from international shipping and aviation".

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)