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EU’s official climate negotiation position fails to add up ahead of Paris

Brussels, 18 September 2015. Today, EU Ministers signed off their official position for the Paris climate negotiations but failed to agree on a common time frame for all countries to increase their mitigation ambition, and robust criteria to regulate the use of carbon markets. On the positive side, Ministers emphasized the need to address emissions from international aviation and shipping, and endorsed the need to protect human rights.

The adopted EU position ignores a major ask by developing countries to limit the commitment period of the climate targets in the forthcoming Paris agreement to 5 years. This should facilitate upgrading climate targets in response to technology advances and increased political accountability for achieving them.

Dr Kat Watts, Carbon Market Watch global climate policy advisor commented “With the decision to support a poorly-defined mitigation ambition mechanism, rather than a legally-binding 5 year commitment period, the EU is hiding the fact that there is no consensus to increase its inadequate 2030 -40% domestic target.”

The council conclusions emphasize that emissions from international shipping and aviation should be regulated as soon as possible in an effective manner and in line with the below 2°C objective.

 “We welcome the EU’s move towards a strong signal to the International Maritime and International Civil Aviation Organizations. These two UN bodies need to hurry up and get their act together to agree and implement measures consistent with their fair share of achieving a <2ºC goal.” added Dr. Watts.

The EU’s adopted position also calls for the Paris Agreement to allow for the use of carbon markets, which should be subject to the application of robust common accounting rules.

Although the EU is commendably strong on the need for robust common accounting rules to avoid double counting, contribute to sustainable development and respect human rights, the EU is deadly silent regarding necessary rules and safeguards against the build-up of hot air under the new agreement, risking to repeat past mistakes that led to a surplus of 11 giga tonnes of CO2 pollution permits under the Kyoto Protocol.” Carbon Market Watch Director Eva Filzmoser commented.

Finally, the adopted position does not clarify if the EU’s climate offer – a single year target – will be spelled out as a carbon budget as well and remains silent about the impact of the surplus of pollution permits that some EU countries plan to use towards the Paris climate target.

The EU fails to address the fate of the more than 2 billion surplus emission allowances in its carbon market that risk to undermine the Paris climate offer, if not eliminated before 2020.” commented  Femke de Jong, EU Climate Policy Advisor at Carbon Market Watch.

“To show leadership during the Paris climate negotiations, the EU needs to leave its hot air behind and provide clarity about steps to move beyond the “at least” 40% climate target. The upcoming heads of states meeting in October will be the opportunity to do thatde Jong added.


Kat Watts, Global Climate Policy Advisor,  +44 7443 196420 [email protected]

Femke de Jong, EU Climate Policy Advisor, +32 489 772 637 [email protected]



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