Climate Policy in the ‘Obama II Era’

Written by | Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The French Green Party has called on EU members to agree on a unified opinion on climate policy prior to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is to be held in Paris in late 2015. The main objective of the conference is to create a new international climate agreement that should be binding to all signatories after 2020. Preparations for the conference are well under way and the first preparatory meeting of the Steering Committee already took place earlier this year.
France’s Green Party and its Minister for Development, Pascal Canfin, were alarmed by some of the results of the fifth scientific assessment report presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPCC estimates that the global temperatures could rise by 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2100 and the sea level could rise by approximately 1 meter. Mr. Canfin expressed his concerns that developed countries are not being able to tackle the rise in temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The French minister thinks that global climate negotiations are currently in ‘Obama II Era’ since it is up to the U.S. President to positively impact international climate policy. In his opinion, this should include also balance between advanced countries and their emerging and developing counterparts. “If countries such as India, South Africa and Nigeria reached our CO2 levels of emissions per capita, we are headed to a temperature increase of 5 degrees,” warns Mr. Canfin.
France therefore calls on the European Union members to avoid making the mistakes of 2009 UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, which extensively relied on the ‘voluntary willingness’ to support other countries in their fight against climate changes. Instead, the new UN convention on climate change should be an active agenda of the economy, innovation, growth and the fight against unemployment. Yet, the ambition to achieve a unified stance of all European countries on the issue of environment is not an easy one. The biggest ‘obstacle’ to finding a common ground is Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal – one of the least environment-friendly energy sources.

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