EU says no extra emission cuts to fill gap left by US after Paris withdrawal
08.06.2017

JUNE8,2017

European leaders have been urged to scale up their efforts to tackle climate change as it emerged the EU does not intend to make extra emissions’ cuts to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the US from the Paris agreement.

At a summit with China in Brussels last week, the EU responded to the decision by Donald Trump to pull out of the historic 2015 pact by vowing to take on a leadership role in the fight to halt global warming.

But EU sources said the bloc did not intend to alter its target of reducing emissions by at least 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 as part of its renewed efforts. And it will not ask member states to increase their planned funding for the UN’s green climate change fund. One EU diplomat said: “We will not fill the gap in that respect.”

It will instead encourage US states, corporate giants and civil society to do their bit to tackle global warming, it is understood, in the hope that future White House administrations will reverse Trump’s decision.

A planned joint EU-China statement on increasing cooperation on climate changehas yet to be published. It is understood that differences between the two sides during trade talks had stalled the signing off of the communique.

The European commission vice-president for the energy union, Maro? ?ef?ovi?, said in an interview with the Euractiv website that a meeting in Brussels would take place before the end of the month with all the major economies and continents being represented at the level of city mayors.

It is hoped the move will encourage cities, as well as US states, to play a role in making sure the world delivers on the 2014 Paris agreement. In a worst case scenario, the US withdrawal from the deal could add 0.3C to global temperatures by the end of the century, the UN World Meteorological Organisation has said.

“We want to demonstrate that despite the announcement last week by the American president, our resolve on climate change is very strong, that we are going to work with all the countries who want to deliver the change, but we are also going to make sure to make platforms for the cities, for corporations, for companies, for innovators, to make sure we are going to achieve the Paris goals,” ?ef?ovi? said.

Environmental activist groups have welcomed the leadership being shown by the EU, but they called for the leaders to raise their aspirations, albeit in addition to US efforts rather than as an attempt to make good on the damage done by a lack of engagement from the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon.

The question of whether the EU would raise its targets in response to the Trump announcement on Thursday had been left unanswered, with officials claiming it was too early to offer any substantive response.

Wendel Trio, the director of the Can Europe energy group, said: “The EU’s climate leadership should go beyond lip service. It requires making all EU domestic policies Paris-proof.

“EU leaders now need to move from statements to action and scale up the EU’s Paris pledge in order to be able to reach the long-term commitment of the Paris agreement to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. The fact that the EU is on track to significantly overachieve its 2020 climate target means it can afford to move beyond its cautious offer for 2030.”

Sally Nicholson, the head of development of policy and finance at the World Wildlife Fund’s European policy office, said: “The EU talks a good game on climate action, but can it follow through?

“The fate of millions of people hinges on the Paris agreement and 2030 agenda being urgently translated from words into deeds. This is the only way we can be sure to improve the wellbeing and prosperity of everyone, everywhere.”

Theguardian

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