WHAT DOES THE EU WANT FROM COPENHAGEN? WHY?
The EU wants a binding outcome at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. This
outcome must include three things: firstly, agreement on targets to reduce emissions 1from developed countries and appropriate action for developing countries. Second,
new frameworks for cooperation to adapt to the impacts of climate change and boost
our technology cooperation. Finally, it must include an agreement on international
finance to help developing countries deal with climate change.
It is important that we keep focused on the ultimate goal: ambitious, serious, verifiable
cuts in emissions to ensure that we limit a temperature rise to less than two degrees
Celsius. This is the limit identified by the scientific community as necessary to avoid the
most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change.
The only way to achieve this is to reach an inclusive agreement in Copenhagen: one that
includes all the major emitters – like the US, but also countries like China, India, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, and Indonesia. The fight against climate change must be global in order
This is the substantive outcome that we need now. We should then translate it into a
fully-fledged legal text in the following months after Copenhagen.
The EU wants a comprehensive, global deal at Copenhagen because we cannot afford to
delay any longer. Copenhagen presents us with a choice: we either delay action,
meaning that we might come too late to avert dangerous – and irreversible – climate
change. Or we act now, and set the world on a path towards a greener and safer future.
WHAT DOES A WORLD WITHOUT CLIMATE ACTION LOOK LIKE?
Global temperatures are rising. 11 of the 12 hottest years on record occurred between
1995 and 2006.
The effects of climate change are both wide-reaching and potentially devastating.
1 To achieve the 2?C objective recommended by the scientific community, global greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions must peak by 2020 at the latest and be reduced by at least 50% by 2050 (as compared with
1990 levels) and continue to decline thereafter.
Developed countries obviously have the greatest responsibility to contribute to these emission reductions
and science tells us that they should reduce their collective emissions by 25 to 40% by 2020 and by 80 to
95% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Developing Countries as a group also make an effort to limit the growth of their emissions by 15-30 % below ‘business as usual’ by 2020.
Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and tropical storms, will become more frequent and dangerous.
Rising sea levels will put millions of people in low-lying areas and small, low-lying island states at risk of flooding.
Water availability for irrigation and drinking will be less predictable as rainfall becomes increasingly variable. Droughts are also likely to become more frequent. It is estimated that up to 3 billion people won't have sufficient access to clean water by 2080
Water availability will also be impacted by widespread melting of glaciers and reduced snow cover. Melting will also reduce hydropower potential, and change the seasonality of flows in regions such as the Hindu-Kush, Himalayas and Andes. These regions are home to more than one-sixth of the world’s population.
Food supplies will be affected. Crop yields are expected to drop significantly in Africa, the Middle East and India as temperatures increase and rainfall patterns change.
A world without climate action is also likely to be a far more costly one. The Stern report on the economics of climate change estimates that not taking action could cost from 5 - 20% of global GDP every year, now and in the future. In comparison, reducing emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change could cost around one 1% global GDP each 2year.
WHAT ARE THE REAL BENEFITS OF A LOW-CARBON WORLD?
In this time of economic crisis, action to tackle climate change presents a real opportunity to shift to a lower-carbon economy. Spending on climate change now is an investment for the future: it fuels more sustainable economic growth, and creates high-quality jobs.
A low-carbon world means greater energy security. In developing countries renewable energy enhances access to energy and development. And it is generated domestically –
diversifying energy sources away from imported fossil fuels, and saving money as we buy in less oil and gas. The world is not currently on course for a sustainable energy future. Even without climate change, we will need to find new ways of powering our economies.
A low-carbon world also improves our health. The WHO estimates that feasible improvements in environmental conditions could reduce global disease by more than 25%. Outdoor air pollution alone accounts for an estimated 800 000 annual deaths worldwide, while indoor air pollution is responsible for another 1.5 million deaths annually – mainly in poor countries.
2th Source: IPCC 4 Assessment Report.
CAN WE HAVE GROWTH WHILST CUTTING EMISSIONS?
Cutting emission does not mean limiting economic growth – in fact, the opposite is true.
EU countries have successfully decoupled economic growth from emissions: between
1990 and 2006, Sweden cut emissions by almost 9% while its economy grew by 44%.
During the same period, the United Kingdom cut emissions by over 20% whilst its
economy grew by 48%. Between 1990 and 2007, the EU economy as a whole grew by 345%, whilst emissions fell by 9%.
WHAT’S THE INTERNATIONAL POSITION ON COPENHAGEN? DOES A
GLOBAL DEAL LOOK PROMISING?
In recent months we have witnessed the build-up of an incredible political momentum
in many countries and internationally.
All the major economies in the Major Economies Forum have recognised that we need
to keep the world’s temperature increase below 2 degrees.
On the side of developing countries, and in particular emerging economies, many
countries have made moves to announce actions: Indonesia and Brazil have proposed
emission reduction targets; China is ready to reduce its energy intensity; India and South
Africa are developing climate and energy legislation at domestic level. These advances
show that there is increasing political momentum to come to an agreement.
However, these may still be seen as opening bids, which need to become more
ambitious for a successful deal to be reached at Copenhagen. Some significant potential
stumbling blocks still need to be overcome:
a) there is not yet have a shared global vision on emission reduction and pathways for
both developed and developing countries;
b) the emission reduction pledges do not yet add up to a level that would keep the 2?C
limit in reach and would avoid most dangerous climate impacts;
c) the financial architecture for international action against climate change still lacks
The EU recognises its responsibility. It has already made a 20% emission cut by 2020
legally binding for its Member States – which can be scaled up to 30% provided that the
group of developed countries make comparable efforts. The EU has also put forward
figures on financing action in developing countries. We expect developed and
3 Based on figures from 2007. See http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/pdf/gge/com_2009_630.pdf p6
for more details.
developing countries to follow us and put their targets, actions and support on the table
ahead of Copenhagen.
ISN’T IT UNFAIR TO ASK DEVELOPING COUNTRIES TO CONTRIBUTE?
The fight against global climate change cannot be won by a few countries only.
Developed countries must lead in the fight against climate change. This requires two
things: firstly, a commitment to ambitious reduction targets, which will contribute to
the development of the international carbon market. Secondly, the provision of public
finance to help developing countries combat climate change.
The EU has already begun to take strong action on climate change under the Kyoto
Protocol and beyond with its unilateral targets for 2020. It will continue to raise its level
of commitment provided that others follow with comparative actions.
But emissions reductions by developed countries alone are not enough to prevent 4catastrophic climate change. Even if Annex 1 countries reduced their emissions to zero,
the rest of the world’s emissions growth would still far outweigh the levels needed to
reach a 2?C target.
We don’t ask that developing countries cut their emissions, but that as a group, they 5make an effort to limit the growth of their emissions.
We need to work together on the basis of our common, but differentiated
responsibilities and respective capabilities. We are all in this together. Action to combat
climate change needs to happen globally.
FINANCE: WHO IS IT FOR? WHY?
Finance is needed to support those who will be worst hit by climate change. It will help
developing countries to scale up investment in order to tackle climate change - including
planning for the effects of climate change, protecting their societies and infrastructures,
and developing cleaner, more efficient economies.
4 Industrialized countries which have signed up to emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol:
Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America 5 By 15-30 % below "business as usual" by 2020.
The European Union has put a powerful financing proposal on the table. This will involve
both longer-term financing, and "fast start" funding to tackle climate change in the
We estimate that by 2020, developing countries will need around an additional ?100 billion a year to tackle climate change. Industrialised nations and economically more
advanced developing countries should provide this public financing in line with their
responsibility for emissions and ability to pay. The proportion of international public 6finance in this figure is estimated to be ?22 to 50 billion.
Fast-start public finance is needed to start taking climate action now. The EU estimates
this to be in the order of ?5 to 7 billion annually already in the years 2010 – 2012.
The EU will pay its fair share. It is clear that other industrialised partners must also show
that they can match the seriousness of the EU’s proposal.
We support a global scale of assessment, whereby all countries – except the Least Developed Countries – will contribute according to their ability to pay and emissions. Of
course, we expect developing countries to be net recipients.
6 The rest will come from the international carbon market, and developing countries’ own efforts.