Monday, November 26, 2007

European Commission Outlines Bali Roadmap Building Blocks

Nov 26: Stavros Dimas, the European Commissioner for the Environment, delivered a speech to the Lisbon Council on November 26, entitled, The Road to Bali. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be holding the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP), third Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (formerly known as MOP3, now CMP3), in Bali, Indonesia from December 3-13, 2007.

Dimas said, "Three years ago climate change was still seen as a 'green issue'. It was important -- but nowhere near the top of the political agenda. Corporate interest in cutting emissions was limited to a few sectors such as renewable energy. Many companies worried about a potential loss of competitiveness. And a number of influential companies were actively lobbying against legislation to reduce emissions. Some were even funding campaigns to discredit the scientific evidence. We are now on the final miles of the Road to Bali and it seems that the world has been turned upside down. Prime ministers who oppose Kyoto are being voted out of office -- and I would like to publicly congratulate Kevin Rudd on his decision to sign and ratify the Kyoto protocol.

"Business is now realizing that there are huge competitive opportunities from being at the head of the inevitable shift to the low carbon economy. Instead of skepticism, company leaders are now competing to demonstrate their green credentials. It is against this context that I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to set out the EU's position in view of the crucial UN conference on climate change opening in Bali on 3 December...

"The end of 2012 is just five years away, so time is not on our side. That is why it is essential that the Bali conference reach a consensus to launch negotiations on this future agreement. Bali must also set a clear deadline for completing the negotiations by the end of 2009 so there will be enough time to ratify the new agreement and bring it into force by the end of 2012. To guide the negotiations there needs to be a 'shared vision' of what the new agreement is seeking to achieve. For the EU it is clear the objective must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Centigrade above the pre-industrial temperature. This goal is fully supported by the IPCC's projections of far more dangerous impacts beyond this level. Keeping within the 2 degrees limit means that global emissions must peak within the next 10 to 15 years and then be cut by at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2050...

"...we need consensus at Bali on what a post-2012 agreement should cover. The EU is proposing seven key building blocks that should constitute the main elements of the agreement and which should therefore be reflected in the ‘Bali Roadmap’ that will set the agenda for the negotiations."

The seven "building blocks" outlined included: (1) binding and absolute emissions reduction commitments by the developed countries, who are responsible for the bulk of today's emissions. Developed countries must reduce their collective emissions by 30% below 1990 levels by 2020. (2) fair and effective contributions by developing countries, in particular the emerging economies. (3) extend the use of carbon markets as a key tool to foster development and deployment of low carbon investments and technologies. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will also help to finance action in developing countries. (4) cooperation on research, development and deployment of clean technologies must be scaled up. (5) emissions from international aviation and maritime transport have to be addressed. (6) find performance-based incentives and other tools that can halt deforestation as soon as possible. (7) step up action on adaptation to climate change, in particular, increase assistance to the poorest developing countries.

Dimas’ remarks served as a keynote for the Lisbon Council’s Climate Change Action Group, which convened in Brussels. The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal is a think tank and policy network committed to defining and articulating a mature strategy for managing current and future challenges.

Access the European Commission Bali position speech (
click here). Access further information on the upcoming COP13 meeting in Bali (click here). Access the Lisbon Council website for additional information (click here). [*Climate]