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UN climate talks

EU re-emerges as leader in Durban despite insufficient outcome for climate

The UN climate summit in Durban (COP17) ended this morning, with agreement on a process for concluding a new international legal agreement by 2015 under the UNFCCC to be implemented from 2020. The Greens welcomed the outcome, and the constructive role played by the EU throughout the COP17, but underlined that it falls short of what is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change. Commenting on the outcome, Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA representative on the official European Parliament delegation to the COP17, said:

“While today's outcome has opened a door to more effective international response to climate change, delaying comprehensive global climate action until after 2020 is clearly insufficient, given the urgent action scientists say is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

The EU has shown leadership in these negotiations, proactively building alliances within the UNFCCC, but its strategy of pegging the ambition of its own climate action to that of the rest of the world has ultimately fallen short. The Kyoto Protocol remains in limbo and there is no guarantee of any further globally concerted climate action before 2020.

The Polish EU Presidency played a shameless role, distracting the EU's negotiating effectiveness by pushing for its own narrow national interest and trying to maximise the amount of 'hot air' to be included under a post-2012 Kyoto Protocol.

 “What has become clear at this COP17 is that we can not only rely on the UN process but must also find other ways to spur climate action to respond to the growing emergency of the climate challenge. The EU has talked a lot about the gap between pledged climate actions and what is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. It must now walk the talk and move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020.”