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

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 summit to influence key aspects of the agreement. Some of those whom the EU is including as allies in this formation are 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 EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, a conservative from Spain, explained to the media the approach of the EU 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 EU 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. To a question whether the EU 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 hard-line stance vis-a-vis emerging economies including India, he pointed to the inadequacy of INDCs to maintain even a 2-degree-Celsius 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 with today’s level of 50 Gt. With the INDCs, we will touch 55 Gt. The path to 2 degrees is 40 Gt, and we are faced with a deficit of 15 Gt. We are on a trajectory to 3 degrees,” he argued.

Political will

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 EU 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.