The European Commission presented a proposal last week for the EU’s speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement on the climate change. The agreement is the world’s first universal and legally binding deal with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in 2020, which is covered by the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said that the EU wanted to keep the momentum and spirit of the Paris Accord and ensure its early ratification and swift implementation. “The proposal demonstrates our continued commitment to lead the global clean energy transition and build a modern, sustainable and more climate-friendly economy. I am confident that the European Parliament, Council and Member States will complete the respective ratification procedures promptly,” he said.
The proposal was embraced by environmental groups but the European office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encouraged Brussels to be more ambitious at the EU level. “Ratification without increasing EU policy ambition to reflect the Agreement’s content is like trying to climb a mountain in flip-flops. It puts Europe at risk of suffering even more from the impacts of climate change in future,” Imke Luebbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office, commented.
The Paris Agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. It was opened for signature on Earth Day (22 April) this year. The deal envisages a long-term emissions reduction goal of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C while making efforts to limit the rise to 1.5°C. The deal has so far been ratified by 15 UNFCCC members. It will enter into force once it has been ratified by 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions.