Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Sarkozy proposes extra climate summit ahead of Copenhagen

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that the leaaders of the major industrialised nations hold an extraordinary summit to discuss climate change ahead of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

Concerns that negotiations on a global climate deal are close to stalemated, despite fresh proposals for domestic measures aiming to counter global warming from China, prompted the suggestion from the French leader, in New York for a day of climate discussions during a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

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

"Considering how complex this negotiation is, a new summit before Copenhagen is needed," he told attendees.

"We are on the path to failure if we continue to act as we have," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon warned ahead of the meeting: "The climate negotiations are proceeding at glacial speed. The world's glaciers are now melting faster than human progress to protect them - and us."

However, both China and Japan impressed with offers made over the course of the day.

Chinese President Hu Jintao committed his country to a plan that would see an expansion of forest coverage by planting trees of some 240,000 kilometres and produce 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The Chinese leader also said that his country would reduce "by a notable margin" its carbon emissions growth.

However, he did not attach a specific reduction figure to the pledge.

"At stake in the fight against climate change are the common interests of the entire world," he said. "Out of a sense of responsibility to its own people and people across the world, China fully appreciates the importance and urgency of addressing climate change."

Developing countries "should not ... be asked to take on obligations that go beyond their development stage," he added.

Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also re-iterated a commitment made shortly after his election that the country will cut emissions by 25 percent by 2020, beating the EU's binding target of 20 percent by the same date.

The EU has however committed to a cut of 30 percent if an ambitious global deal is reached in Copenhagen.

US President Barack Obama's presentation to delegates was much anticipated but in the end underwhelmed.

"The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing," Mr Obama said. "And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out."

He outlined steps the US is already taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as doubling the generating capacity from renewable energy sources over three years, constructing offshore wind plants and looking to carbon capture and storage to bury the carbon that is produced by industry and the power sector.

But the American plan to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 already announced and derided as strongly inadequate in many quarters is still tied up in the US Congress and may not be passed in advance of the Copenhagen meeting.

Nevertheless, by the end of the UN conference on Tuesday, Mr Ban and Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, host of the Copenhagen summit, impressed by the Chinese offer, had become somewhat more optimistic.

"This feeling of political momentum - that was very strong," said Mr Rasmussen.

Auditors raise alarm over air pollution in Europe

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and the Netherlands "have not taken sufficient action to improve air quality", according to a new report. In 2015, nearly 400,000 people in the EU died prematurely due to air pollution.

COP24: Vanuatu in 'constant state of emergency' on climate

Ralph Regenvanu, foreign minister of the Pacific island Vanuatu, said at the COP24 talks in Poland it was disappointing the host country was promoting coal - but was happy with EU contributions to tackle climate change.

News in Brief

  1. May to meet Tusk on Sunday at Arab summit
  2. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  3. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  4. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  5. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  6. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  7. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  8. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations

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. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Brexit and Orban in spotlight This WEEK
  2. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  3. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  4. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  5. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  6. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  7. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  8. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us