Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

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Post-Copenhagen

2009/12/22

It is no secret that we would have wished for a better deal in Copenhagen. The deal the world finally could agree on will not solve the climate issue. There was a lack of political will from some parts and with the current structure of the climate convention, where consenus is needed to come to a decision, the possibilities to delay the discussions are noticeable. Together with several African countries and small island states, the EU pushed for a more ambitious outcome, but those with the lowest ambitions set the agenda.

Among the positive results from Copenhagen is the recognition of the two degree target. The commitment to pay for adaptation and mitigation in the developing countries is also important. The commitment from the industrialized countries amounts to about 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012, of which the EU and Japan will contribute with more than 10 billion dollars each, while the US puts in 3,6 billion dollars.

The commitments to emissions reductions, however, remain too weak and no long-term goal is set. Many unclear points remain, for example the fundamental issue how we could come to a new legally binding agreement for those not included in the Kyoto protocol.

It is also disturbing that the deal does not clearly state that we now strive for a global, legally binding agreement during 2010. A lot of work remains to be done if we are to build on this deal and reach an agreement that would put the two degree target within reach.

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Climate talks

2009/12/09

The climate conference in Copenhagen has started Negotiations will be going on this week and next in different formations in order to make progress in the different issues we strive to come to an agreement on, such as emission reductions and financing. Even though the positions of the important actors differ more than one would hope – we have not only different ambitions, but even different ways of calculating our ambitions – it is pleasing that more than one hundred heads of states and governments, including Barack Obama, has declared their intention to participate.

For my own part, I chaired my last General Affairs Council meeting on monday. We had extensive discussions on enlargement, and it is obvious that the EU can continue to help European integration. The discussions were long and difficult, especially on Turkey and on FYROM, but in the end we reached a conclusion in a positive spirit. The long discussions forced us to cancel the discussions I had planed on crises and disaster management. But we have also prepared for the European Council later this week, where the Stockholm Programme will be adopted and important issues such as the EU 2020 strategy for growth and jobs as well as exit strategies and financial regulation will be addressed in the light of the economic crisis.

We also talked about climate, as the European Council will review the EU position in the ongoing negotiations on its meeting. The EU has a strong, common position in the negotiations, were we are pushing for an agreement that would put the two degree target within reach. Hopefully we can also present a figure for the fast-start financing of climate adoptation the coming three years.

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Will it be possible to reach a deal on the climate in December?

2009/11/11

With the conference in Copenhagen just a month away, a good deal of the efforts of the Swedish Presidency lie on preparing the climate issue. Last week, Prime Minister Reinfeldt represented the Swedish Presidency at the EU-USA and EU-India summit. That the US must be ready to take its responsibility if we are to reach a deal on the climate is a plain fact, but it is also important that the fight against global warming includes developing countries. It is therefore pleasing that the EU-India summit resulted in an agreement on support of the two degree target, even though this is a domestically sensitive issue in India.

Climate negotiations have also been going on in Barcelona, in a last negotiation meeting in front of Copenhagen. Progress was made on technical issues and there were good discussions, leading to a greater level of understanding. But the politically sensitive issues were not solved. If we are to reach a deal in Copenhagen, a greater will to negotiate is needed. The two core issues are the level of the emission reductions and the financing of the necessery measures, and we need to move forward in these areas. The EU has committed itself to reduce its emissions with 30 % if other countries make comparable commitments. Now, the US and other industrialized countries must step up their ambitions to reduce emissions, and the more advanced developing countries must make adequate commitments according to their respectively capabilities and responsibilities.

Regarding financing, the EU has expressed its support for the European Commissions estimate that costs in developing countries could amount to 100 billion euro annually by 2020. This issue was also raised at the meeting of the G20 finance ministers, but regrettably, they were unable to make the needed progress. It is now up to the US and other industrialized countries to also present a credible financing of the needs of the developing countries.

The Swedish Presidency continues with its work, and I am glad that the EU acts as the well-needed leader. The basic success story of the EU is that cooperation works. This is a lesson that now must be learnt by the rest of the world, too.

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Continued negotiations on climate

2009/11/02

Friday’s agreement at the European Council on a broad EU-mandate for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen was pleasing and has given us a strong negotiation position. Most importantly, we managed to reach agreement on climate financing, including

  • Endorsing an estimate that cost of mitigation and adaptation in developing countries could amount to 100 billion euros annually per year by 2020.
  •  Estimate that international public support of this overall amount lie between 22 to 50 billion euros per year by 2020.
  • Noting the estimate that a fast start sum is needed for the first three years, 2010-2012, of 5-7 billion euros per year.

We also agreed on principles for an internal burden sharing as regards EU contribution to this international public support, and on technology transfer, adaptation, mitigation and good governance. And not to forget: we agreed on the objective to reduce emissions by 80-95 % by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

With this new mandate, climate talks proceeds in Barcelona, where environmental minister Andreas Carlgren has arrived together with the chief negotiators from the EU Member States. Tomorrow, an EU delegation including Prime Minister Reinfeldt will also hold talks on climate change with President Obama, before moving on to India for the annual EU-India summit.

The ambition to reach a deal in Copenhagen means a lot of footwork.

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A busy week for the Swedish Presidency

2009/10/19

We have a busy week ahead of us in the Swedish Presidency. Today and tomorrow, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meet in Luxembourg. This morning, the situation in the milk market has been discussed, but GMOs and fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea are also on the agenda.

On Tuesday, the finance ministers gather to prepare for the upcoming meetings of the European Council and the G20. Among others, they will discuss the issue of how we are to finance action on climate change. As readers of this blog may know, I have previously adressed the issue of who is to pay.

Climate change will also be up for discussion when the environmental ministers meet on Wednesday. A strong leadership from the EU is well needed, but it is a long road to Copenhagen.

For my part, I am heading to Strasbourg tomorrow and Wednesday for the meeting of the European Parliament. I will participate in debates on the relations between the USA and the EU, the democracy dimension in the EU foreign policy and the new European external action service. On wednesday morning there will be a long debate on the upcoming European Council the 29th and 30th of october. That will be a full and busy European Council with decisions on climate, financial supervision and the Baltic Sea Strategy. We are still waiting for clarifications from Prague before we can say what type of institutional decisions can me made.

And at the end of the week, the European Development Days will be taking place in Stockholm, starting Thursday, while the ministers for justice will discuss a proposed EU agency for migration on Friday.

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A long road to Copenhagen

2009/09/23

The recent weeks has shown that a lot remains in the climate negotiations. To reach a global deal in Copenhagen in December we need a strong leadership. The EU has shown its readiness to take the lead and it is a prioritized issue for the Swedish Presidency. The climate is, however, a global responsibility that is in need of a broad engagement, and much more is to be done.

Yesterday the Swedish Presidency took part in the UN climate summit in New York, with the hope that the world leaders can show a well-needed leadership and political will. It is also important that focus will be on picking up the pace in the international climate negotiations. There are some positive signs coming from China, Japan, and India but it is far too little if we are too reach the 2 degree goal and a decent deal in Copenhagen

Proposals on imposing climate duties and a green Tobin tax has recently been raised by Member States in the EU. This would hardly be the solution: these measures would need a global monitoring mechanism and would be difficult to implement. IThe consequences would, above all, be an increased risk of protectionism. We should rather focus on reaching an international climate agreement with cuts in our emissions of greenhouse gases and financing solutions.