The EU should show leadership at the UN climate summit in Durban and fight to continue the CO2-cutting Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, says a resolution voted by the European Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs also say the EU's economy would benefit from aiming above the current 20% greenhouse gas reduction target.

"International climate negotiations are at crossroads between stagnation and progress - the EU must help to create a new dynamic in Durban." said Environment Committee and Parliament delegation chair (*) Jo Leinen (S&D, DE), after the resolution was adopted with 532 votes in favour, 76 against and 43 abstentions.  "The economic crisis must not be used as an excuse not to act. The EU should back the Kyoto Protocol and work with other countries on a roadmap to ensure a comprehensive climate treaty is in place by 2015 at the latest", he added.

Support for Kyoto

The resolution says the EU should give "public and unequivocal" support to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, a landmark binding international agreement that commits industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. MEPs want to avoid any gap after the current phase expires at the end of 2012. 

More than 20% emissions cuts

Echoing previous climate resolutions, MEPs say the EU should aim beyond its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020.  Doing so would be in its own economic interest, given the benefits of "green jobs, growth and security".

Climate fund and other measures

MEPs want the EU to help find agreement on the sources and management of a Green climate fund to support developing countries, which should reach US$100 billion per year by 2020.

New measures are also needed to curb aviation and marine emissions (excluded from the Kyoto protocol), and to address land use change. In the face of challenges by some countries outside the EU, MEPs stand firmly behind legislation they approved in 2008 to include aviation in the EU emissions trading system from 1 January 2012.

MEPs are concerned that there is a "gigatonne gap" between international commitments and the UN target of limiting average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. UN scientific reports have concluded that that industrialised countries need to reduce their emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

* Parliament delegation to the UN COP 17 summit in Durban, South Africa: Chair Jo Leinen (S&D, DE), Vice-chair Karl-Heinz Florenz (EPP, DE), Kriton Arsenis (S&D, EL), Bairbre De Brún (GUE/NGL, UK), Pilar Del Castillo (EPP, ES), Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL), Elisabetta Gardini (EPP, IT), Dan Jørgensen (S&D, DK), Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR), Vladko Panayotov (ALDE, BG), Anna Rosbach (ECR, DK), Oreste Rossi (EFD, IT), Richard Seeber (EPP, AT), Francisco Sosa Wagner (unattached, ES) and Marita Ulvskog (S&D, SE)

Procedure: Oral questions + resolution