The EU has today (28 January) reaffirmed its support for the Copenhagen Accord and has formally announced its mitigation targets. The EU submitted a unilateral commitment to reduce the EU's overall emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and a conditional offer to increase this cut to 30% provided that other major emitters agree to take on their fair share of a global reduction effort.
Under the Copenhagen Accord, the main outcome of two weeks’ intense climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, countries agreed to submit their mitigation targets by January 31, 2010.
In response to today’s submission, Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who fronted the UK negotiating efforts in Copenhagen, said:
'Today’s decision to keep the offer to move to 30% demonstrates the EU’s commitment to maintaining a strong signal to the world on the urgency to act on climate change.
'The goal of moving to 30% has always been and remains conditional on others showing similar ambition. We must now continue to push for bold cuts in emissions beyond the 31st deadline.
'The Copenhagen Accord was an important step forward but we now need to redouble efforts to secure the legally binding treaty, and complete the unfinished business of Copenhagen.'
EU 'determined to move rapidly'
The European Commission and Spanish Presidency of the Council jointly wrote to the UNFCCC to notify the target.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: 'The EU is determined to move ahead rapidly with implementing the Copenhagen Accord in order to make progress towards the agreement that we need to hold global warming below 2°C. The Accord provides a basis on which to build this future agreement and I therefore urge all countries to associate themselves with it and notify ambitious emission targets or actions for inclusion as we are doing.'
European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: 'Swift action is needed to make operational key elements of the Accord such as fast-start financing for developing countries, the fight against deforestation and the development and transfer of low carbon technologies.'
The conditions for moving from 20-30% are that, 'as part of a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2012, other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.’
The Accord itself was negotiated by some 28 developed and developing countries and the European Commission in the final stages of negotiations. These countries account for over 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UN has also asked countries to come forward and ‘Associate’ with the Accord.