Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

EU aligns with 79 developing states in Paris on climate

  • A climate activist in Paris (Photo: 350.org)

A group of 79 developing countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, made a joint declaration on climate change with the European Union on Tuesday (8 December), in a sign that the EU is wielding its diplomatic clout in Paris.

The EU and the group of countries known by the acronym ACP agreed that the climate deal in Paris should be “legally binding, inclusive, fair, ambitious, durable and dynamic,” that it should have a long-term goal, and include a five-year review mechanism.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The EU-ACP declaration was announced in the margins of the climate conference, where almost all the world's countries, plus the EU, are trying to reach a deal to slow potentially catastrophic climate change.

One sticking point is how climate action will be differentiated among various countries. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the only international climate treaty which requires greenhouse gas reductions to date, only developed countries were required to take action. This issue is being discussed in Paris under the name “differentiation.”

The EU thinks the division developed/developing has become increasingly outdated, with the rise of strong economies in China and other parts of the world.

“These negotiations are not about ‘them’ and ‘us’,” EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a statement.

“These negotiations are about all of us, both developed and developing countries, finding common ground and solutions together. This is why the EU and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries have agreed to join forces for an ambitious outcome here in Paris.”

For his part, Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister of foreign affairs of Singapore, who with his Brazilian colleague was charged with identifying progress on differentiation, sounded another note. He said on Tuesday evening: “It's very clear that the fault lines remain.”

Climate negotiations traditionally see countries group into alliances, and there is something of a tug-of-war going on between the most powerful countries or groups.

According to Michael Jacobs, a former climate adviser to then UK prime minister Gordon Brown, aligning with ACP was a smart move by the Europeans.

He said the 2011 climate conference in Durban, South Africa, saw a similar alignment of the EU with developing countries.

“The EU has not been as good at explaining its narrative in the media … [where] an important part of this is played out,” he told a handful of journalists at a meeting in Paris organised by the European Climate Foundation, an NGO.

“If you read the Indian press, you get a very particular view of the developed countries, which is not very favourable,” said Jacobs.

“I think the EU has not been forward enough at explaining what it's trying to do and show that it is building alliances. Today, this announcement with the ACP, was a bit more forward, and I'm pleased about that personally. I think that's a good thing.”

Jacobs said there are “lots and lots of small countries,” i.e. poor countries. “They don't count very much on their own, but they count in groups.”

The former diplomat noted these countries “are beginning to align themselves with the EU - and interestingly with the US - for what is generally known as a high-ambition agreement.”

He added that the EU-ACP declaration may also mean the EU is open to accepting a reference to a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise ceiling in the text.

So far, the EU has said that global average temperatures should not rise more than two degrees (it has risen by 0.8 degrees since pre-industrial times).

But Jacobs noted that “1.5C” is an important goal for many ACP countries, and for the EU to align with them may also indicate a possible shift.

“The EU could agree to it,” he said of a mention of “1.5C.” “The EU, I think, would not stop the agreement because it was there,” he added.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish PM calls for EU gender equality strategy
  2. Farage says bigger Brexit majority if second referendum
  3. Macron starts 'grand debate' tour after yellow vests protests
  4. Barnier: up to London to take Brexit forward
  5. Stimulus still needed, ECB's Draghi says in final report
  6. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  7. German economy hit by global economic turbulence
  8. MEPs narrowly call for end to 'tampon tax'

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  2. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  3. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  4. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  5. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  6. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  7. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  8. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us