Saturday

25th Mar 2017

EU rushing to ratify climate agreement

  • The EU needs to sign up to the Paris climate agreement before 7 October (Photo: Mikko Itälahti)

The EU, a leading force in pushing for a climate agreement in Paris last year, is now rushing to sign the deal and be around the table when it starts being implemented.

Environment ministers will meet on 30 September to speed up the EU's ratification process in order to be ready by 7 October, 30 days before the next UN conference on climate change, the COP 22, in November in Marrakech.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

About 60 countries, representing 47.7 percent of global greenhouse emissions, have signed the agreement so far.

Fifty five countries, representing 55 percent of emissions, are necessary to have ratified it for the agreement to enter into force. This could happen before the end of the year.


Not being in the leading pack would be "reputation damage" for the EU, a source said.

Ministers will try to agree on an accelerated process, that would lead to a joint statement by the European Commission and the EU Council, representing member states.

The text would then be endorsed by the European Parliament at its next plenary session early October.

The fast-track procedure would allow the EU to sign up to the Paris agreement as a bloc, without waiting for ratification by all 28 member states.

So far only France, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia have ratified the agreement. Slovakia, which will chair the ministers meeting next week, sped up its national process to set an example.

In the joint statement, which still has to be drafted, the other countries would promise to do so as soon as possible.

At the Bratislava summit last week, EU leaders agreed to the accelerated process that bypasses member states procedures, but some member states want a guarantee that it would not set a precedent.

Ten months after the Paris COP 21, the EU finds itself lagging behind because the ratification process at 28 takes a long time and also because the double threshold of signatories and emissions could be reached earlier than expected.

"After the Paris summit, nobody expected that the process would be sped up in so many countries," a diplomat said.

"A few months ago, the COP 22 was supposed to be to prepare the implementation, not to have the first CMA," referring the meeting of countries that have signed.

"The situation has dramatically changed" with ratification by the US, and more surprisingly by China, earlier this month. Together the two countries amount to around 40 percent of global emissions, bringing closer the entry into force of the deal.

Now, the diplomat said, the EU "needs to be a credible partner" after it pushed for an agreement at the Paris conference.

Not being at the CMA table "would be a failure of the EU," he said.

Opinion

Will Paris climate accord change the world?

The Paris climate accord might not change the world. But the collective, political moment can empower an economic revolution if business and science reacts.

EU to ratify Paris climate deal

EU states have agreed to fast-track ratification of the Paris climate change agreement, leaving thorny details for later.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change