Analysis: The impact of the Paris agreement on the EU’s climate policies

EU in UNLast December in Paris, a global climate deal was adopted in which all countries have agreed to take action on climate change. Ahead of the climate summit, almost 190 countries representing over 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions registered their climate commitments. Europe, which long thought of itself as the lone wolf in tackling climate change, is therefore no longer going it alone.

The Paris agreement marks a major step forward to averting climate catastrophe. But as we are heading to a 3 degrees warmer world, far from the agreed 1.5°C goal, we simply cannot afford to sit still. Now is the time to turn the global climate deal into a springboard for more climate action worldwide.

Since European diplomacy was of paramount importance in establishing a “High Ambition Coalition” of countries, this momentum for “high ambition” also needs to be translated into decisive domestic climate actions. In the words of Climate Commissioner Canete: “Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we have to act.”

In the sections below, we describe relevant provisions of the Paris agreement and what the EU needs to do to implement these provisions at home:

1.       Enhancing action prior to 2020 by moving beyond 20% reductions

2.       Implementing the <1.5°C objective by increasing the EU’s climate targets

3.       Operationalizing the 5-year cycles by adopting 5-year ambition periods

4.       Supporting climate actions in developing countries by financing emission reductions abroad

5.       Recognizing the climate efforts of other countries by updating the carbon leakage provisions

6.       Ensuring environmental integrity and transparency when engaging in cooperative approaches by introducing EU ETS linking safeguards

7.       Undertaking “economy-wide” emission reduction targets by also decarbonizing the aviation and maritime sectors

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