Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

EU to ratify Paris climate deal

  • Commissioner Canete and Slovak minister Solymos spoke of a historic moment after the EU ratification agreement (Photo: Council of the European Union)

EU states have agreed to fast-track ratification of the Paris climate change agreement, making it possible for the deal to enter into force in November.

Environment ministers took the decision, which entails signing the treaty as a bloc, in Brussels on Friday (30 September), in what Miguel Arias Canete, the EU climate commissioner hailed as a "Deal! Historic day” on Twitter.

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.

The European Parliament is expected to vote on it next Tuesday, to be followed by formal ratification in the EU Council next week by so-called written procedure.

"It can be done very quickly, in one day," Canete said, mentioning 5 October as a potential deadline for the process.

Once the EU files its ratification notice with the UN, the international deal can enter into force.

"The decision of today increases the probability … that the deal will enter into force in November," Laszlo Solymos, Slovakia’s environment minister said, referring to a climate conference due in Marrakech, Morocco, that month.

In total 61 countries, accounting for almost 48 percent of global emissions have ratified the deal.

It is to into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions, have ratified it.

With the EU accounting for 12 percent of pollution, Friday’s decision unlocks the mechanism.

Devil in the details

The EU was a leading force in pushing for a climate agreement in Paris last year, but ratification by its 28 member states has dragged out.

"Our reputation was on the line," Canete told journalists.

So far, seven member states - Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Malta, and Portugal - have ratified the agreement.

Sources called Friday's EU decision unprecedented, but said the fast-track procedure - allowing the EU to ratify a deal en bloc without waiting for 28 individual ratifications - would not set a precedent.

"This does not preempt or prejudge the decision by national parliaments," Canete told journalists after the meeting.

EU leaders had agreed on the fast-track procedure at a summit two weeks ago.

But the thorny question of how to divide emission cuts among member states still remains to be answered.

Poland has been the loudest opponent of the deal in an effort to protect its coal industry, but ministers have separated ratification from "effort sharing".

Burden-sharing

The commission in July proposed a model on how to divide pollution-cuts between member states. But they, and the European Parliament, have yet to agree on it, in a process that could last years.

"We will implement Paris on the basis of our own conditions,” Jan Szyszko, the Polish minister said after the meeting. Poland's demands include protection of its coal sector, which employs 170,000 people, and the option to offset CO2 cuts with forest plantations.

"Even if I would receive assurances from Canete, they wouldn’t be written, it would be a gentleman’s agreement. We still have a lot of work to do,” Szyszko said.

"Coal will remain a guarantee of Polish energy independence for decades to come," he said.

Focus

A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey