The Minister for the Environnement, Carole Dieschbourg, called a press conference in Luxembourg on 16 October 2015 to take stock of the preparations for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC), which will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.
By way of reminder, the 21st United Nations conference on climate change has the ambition to reach a new international agreement on climate, which applies to all of the States, with the aim of maintaining global warming below 2°C. The Luxembourg Presidency of the EU Council will be working within this context so that this agreement incorporates the European Union's position that was adopted on 18 September 2015, as fully as possible.
With less than 50 days to go before the start of COP21, Carole Dieschbourg welcomed the political progress achieved during the numerous meetings over the past month. "Since 5 October we have already a new ‘short text’ of negotiations, which will be discussed in Bonn [in Germany during the last session of negotiation on the text before the conference] next week and we have to date 150 parties which have presented their reduction goals, thereby covering close to 90% of world's emissions", she said, stressing that the Kyoto Protocol did not itself cover more than 14% of emissions produced globally. "We are therefore close to a global agreement", she added.
Within this context, the Environment Minister equally welcomed "the unanimous agreement" reached by the Member States at the Environment Council on 18 September, based on a compromise text from the Luxembourg Presidency, on the EU's negotiating directive. "It was very important to have this directive before Bonn to provide a clear policy guideline for the negotiators", the Minister stressed.
Since this is exactly the EU's position, Carole Dieschbourg emphasised that the Union's goal was to reach an ambitious, legally-binding and dynamic agreement so as to limit the planet's global warming to less than 2°C. In this regard, she noted however that the negotiation text on the table lacked "ambition" in the eyes of the Europeans, and more specifically on three levels.
So, in terms of the reduction objectives, first of all the Minister explained that limiting global warming to less than 2ºC should be "set in motion" and turned into "intelligible" goals for citizens and companies. "The EU directive calls on developing a long-term vision towards sustainable world climate neutrality and resisting climate change, and thereby defining a clear road-map towards a zero emissions society by 2100 at the latest", said the Minister, who believes this aspect is "necessary to ensure the transition towards a sustainable society".
Furthermore, the Minister pointed out that to maintain global warming below 2°C, current contributions are not enough. The EU directive therefore suggests introducing five-year review cycles which will make it possible to steadily increase the objectives' level of ambition. "The agreement's credibility is at stake here", she added, pointing out that such steps would permit a lasting agreement to be reached over time on the one hand, and a text that could be adapted to meet developments on the other, in particular on technology. "In the case of technological advances, ambitions could be increased accordingly", the Minister stated.
Finally, the transparency of the agreement and its mechanisms must be guaranteed, Carole Dieschbourg said. The EU directive in this regard stresses that it should ensure a solid system based on common rules, including rules regarding transparency and the obligation to be held to account.It must also be able to ensure "some predictability" and to be able to measure and "compare" the efforts of each, she continued.
The Environment Minister also stressed the fact that the Paris agreement, although paramount to making it succeed, is just one step and that the most must be made of the momentum achieved in recent years in civil society and companies in favour of a move towards sustainable energy. "The change which we need is already underway and should also continue before 2020 and the coming into force of the Paris agreement. We cannot only make a start in 2020, we must make efforts now", she concluded.