September 8, 2016 – The European Parliament should give its consent to the ratification of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, recommended Environment Committee MEPs on Thursday. They also urged all EU member states to conclude the ratification process, to ensure its rapid entry into force. In a separate resolution, they also called on the EU to upgrade its emission reduction pledges, so as to close the gap between the individual targets agreed by the Parties and the Paris goals.
“It is unthinkable that the Paris Agreement might enter into force without the EU as a signatory, considering the EU leadership on the fight against climate change, its role in the Kyoto Protocol, and its continuous efforts towards a subsequent universal treaty. For this reason, we urge the Council and the individual member states to take the necessary steps to complete their EU and national ratification process prior to the next climate conference in Marrakech, enabling it to enter into force” said rapporteur and Environment Committee chairman Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT).
World “not even close” to 2-degree target with existing commitments
In a separate resolution, on the next round of talks to take place in Marrakech in November, MEPs regret that the sum of all the submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted “does not bring the world even close to the two degree target” and stress the urgent and critically important need for all Parties to raise their emission reduction commitments. The EU should also commit to further emission reductions for 2030, they say.
MEPs say that the EU should also revisit its own mid- and long-term goals and policy instruments, and call upon the Commission to “prepare a mid-century zero emissions strategy for the EU, providing a cost-efficient pathway towards reaching the net zero emissions goal adopted in the Paris agreement”.
MEPs notes with concern that 166 million people were forced to leave their homes because of floods, windstorms, earthquakes or other disasters between 2008 and 2013. They call for the recognition of the issue of climate refugees, saying that climate-related developments in parts of Africa and the Middle East could contribute to political instability, economic hardship and an escalation of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.
Aviation and shipping
MEPs insist on the need to lower emissions from international aviation and shipping, and call on all the Parties to work through the ICAO and the IMO to take measures to set adequate targets before the end of 2016.
Further efforts are necessary to ensure the mobilisation of climate finance to meet the $100bn goal by 2020, say MEPs. Additional sources should be delivered, including a financial transactions tax, setting aside some EU ETS emission allowances or revenues from EU and international measures on aviation and shipping emissions.
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Amendments tabled by British MEPs and endorsed by the committee say that the EU should uphold the commitments agreed in Paris in spite of any changes of status of EU member states, and ask that “strong efforts” be made to keep any member states with a changing status in the EU carbon market.
The recommendation that Parliament consent to the conclusion of the agreement, was approved by 47 votes to 1.The full European Parliament can vote and give its consent to the Paris Agreement only when an agreement is reached at the Council.
The resolution on COP22, was approved by 48 votes to 1, with 2 abstentions. The vote in the full House is planned for early October.
The Paris Agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the Convention, accounting in total for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession at the UN. As of 7 September 2016, 27 Parties have deposited their instruments of ratification at the UN, accounting in total for 39.08 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.