Why the EU will continue to press India, China for 5-year review

December 11, 2015 12:18 am | Updated November 16, 2021 04:19 pm IST - Paris

Participants attend a plenary meeting during the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris on Thursday.

Participants attend a plenary meeting during the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris on Thursday.

The European Union has come in for criticism from emerging economies for forming a new, parallel alliance with the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations at the Paris Climate to influence key aspects of the agreement. Some of those whom the E.U. is including as allies in this formation are also part of another big developing group, G77+China.

On Thursday, as negotiators engaged in a diplomatic tug-of-war on the agreement text behind closed doors, the E.U. Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, a conservative from Spain, explained to the media the approach of the E.U. to the issues of setting a long term goal for global temperature, a mechanism for review and a uniform system for transparency and accountability.

Mr. Canete said the E.U. would continue to press its demand that there should be five yearly review cycles to monitor and verify whether the INDCs were being implemented as pledged. In reply to a question whether the E.U. would exit the Paris talks if China, India and Saudi Arabia dug in their heels in the last hours and rejected the text of the agreement, he said China had surprisingly opposed the five yearly stocktaking periodicity in the negotiation room, but earlier endorsed it in a joint declaration with France.

"Without a five year cycle for monitoring, the agreement is meaningless," Mr. Canete said. To buttress his hardline stance vis-a-vis emerging economies including India, he pointed to the inadequacy of INDCs to maintain even a 2 degree temperature rise, not to speak of 1.5 degrees. "We are in a situation where if the INDCs are not there, the global emissions would rise to 65 or 70 Gigatonnes of CO2 in 2030, compared to today's level of 50 Gt. With the INDCs, we will touch 55 Gt. The path to 2 degrees if 40 Gt, and we are faced with a deficit of 15 Gt. We are on a trajectory to 3 degrees," he argued.

So we need stocktaking in 2018 or 2019, before the Paris Agreement can enter into force in 2021. The emerging economies should take into account that there would be good science, new technologies including cheaper solar, solar thermal, geothermal and hydro power. He demanded that the developing countries show political will and "force" the decisions necessary domestically.

In the E.U. view, the system of measurement, reporting and verification of carbon emissions (MRV in UNFCCC jargon) should be standardised, with a common metric to verify greenhouse gas emissions and common data standards and reporting methods. "We realise it cannot be implemented in all countries from day 1," the Climate Action Commissioner said, offering capacity building help especially to least developed countries and small island states. Although it was difficult at the negotiating table, he vowed to press the E.U.'s position day after day.

The E.U. is not "concerned" that many countries which Mr. Canete claimed to be part of the new E.U. alliance may adopt a different line, supporting the G77 at the negotiations that continue, and may go on through Friday. The U.S. and some "progressive" Latin American countries had also joined the E.U., he explained.

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