By Tshepo Tsheole
The European Union (EU) is calling for a Durban roadmap which, it says, could lead to a global framework. Addressing a press briefing at the Durban International Convention Centre ahead of the start of COP 17, the EU says the framework should be binding and effected sooner than later.
The body’s Tomasz Chruszczow and Artur Runge-Metzger both stress the need “to get results” from the Durban talks, with the former indicating that “we need strong action” and that “the pace on action has to be increased.”
Chruszczow says coming into COP 17, negotiators need to bear in mind that the EU will push for certain important points which include a balanced package to promote immediate action on legally binding agreements. He says such a strategy will not only be important for the global climate but will also help address issues relating to the world economic challenges.
The EU representative also concedes that another point they will be pushing for during COP 17 will be a follow-up on Cancun agreements and make sure that something is done on that front.
On the expected Durban roadmap, the EU says it expects one that will provide clear guidelines, saying the framework should include commitments from powerful nations who at the same time happen to be the biggest emitters. Chruszczow was quick to point out that the EU was ready during the last COP and is ready even now to commit, saying they hope the powerhouses will come to the party.
The representatives noted that the European body supports the Kyoto protocol, but say that the EU currently has its own laws put forward with the aim of cutting emissions by 20% by year 2020. They say their target is informed by the Kyoto principles. The EU is of the view that Kyoto alone cannot tackle emission problems but that 100% of those emitting should contribute towards the mitigation of the existing framework.
Chruszczow and Runge-Metzger say the EU is committed to the next phase of the Kyoto protocol, provided certain conditions are set and met. "Such conditions have to be realistic and necessary, conceding that when it to comes the EU’s commitments, the body is transparent and delivering." The two further note that two-thirds of their three-year (2010-2012) 7.2 billion Euro ‘fast-start’ budget set aside for addressing emission targets has been spent.
The EU insists that the outcome of the Durban roadmap should include: emissions mitigation commitments by all significant emitters, a robust international system of accounting for emissions; a robust system of monitoring, reporting and verification of national action which includes processes of international assessment and review to support developed countries and international consultation and analysis to support developing countries as well as one or more new market-based mechanisms for reducing emissions cost-effcetively.
Lastly, it wants mitigation processes to respect the UNFCCC’s principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” Runge-Metzger further says “we need to collectively up our ambition to take forward the issue on the 2050 emission targets”, saying “there is a need to peak our emission reductions in the next five years.” He points out that an agricultural working programme can be important, noting that talks around international aviation and maritime progress are equally vital.
While Russia, Japan and Canada are not willing to enter into the second phase of the Kyoto protocol, the EU says big economies need to clearly indicate when and how they plan to reduce their emission levels.
Chruszczow says while the EU does not necessarily need the Kyoto protocol as the body has its own package, it has to take part within parameters of the Kyoto protocol as it forms part of its legislation, hence it ratified it.
According to the EU, the Kyoto protocol is a good symbol and helps push nations to deliberate with urgency on commitments. It says it is willing to sign an imporved Kyoto protocol, but notes that it is unlikely for a major international legally-binding agreement to come out of the Durban talks.