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Debates
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

10. Climate change conference in Doha (COP 18) (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. − The next item is the debate on

– the oral question to the Council on the Climate Change Conference in Doha (COP 18) by Matthias Groote, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Dan Jørgensen, Corinne Lepage, Satu Hassi, Miroslav Ouzký, Sabine Wils, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (O-000160/2012 – (B7-0364/2012), and

– the oral question to the Commission on the Climate Change Conference in Doha (COP 18) by Matthias Groote, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Dan Jørgensen, Corinne Lepage, Satu Hassi, Miroslav Ouzký, Sabine Wils, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (O-000161/2012 – B7-0365/2012).

 
  
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  Matthias Groote, rapporteur. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, President-in-Office of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, it is a well-established and fine tradition that we adopt a joint resolution in advance of climate conferences and prepare the delegation. Yesterday, we held a final meeting which was attended by the Commissioner and also the President of this House. My colleagues with experience in these matters tell me this was a first! With his contribution, the President sent out a strong signal that the full backing of the House is ensured and that we are taking on an important role in relation to COP 18, in that we will be holding discussions with as many international representatives as possible there and will also exercising our powers of persuasion. That really is essential. We hope that after tomorrow, we will be able to take with us a strong resolution that offers clear solutions. We have a duty to provide answers, for climate change can only be combated and halted through international cooperation. The conference in Doha will take place from 26 November to 7 December, and I am keen to see which positions China will adopt and which positions the US will adopt now that the President has been returned to office for a second term. How will they position themselves, and how will we then respond to the issues raised, and so on?

We have just held an interesting debate about Europe’s financial future. This debate is relevant to us in Doha as well, for as is well-known, friendship stops where money begins. Where climate change is concerned, however, friendship begins in earnest. We must find answers to the question of how the fast-start period will continue to be financed after 2012. A great deal of money will be required here. However, it is important to emphasise, as always, that the deceptive aspect of climate change is that its effects are not felt immediately. Even if we were to adopt a decision tomorrow that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 50 % immediately, the effects would not be felt until very much later. Climate change and the financial crisis therefore have one feature in common: they will both cost a great deal of money.

If we continue to prevaricate, also in the international arena, and do not manage to find a workable way forward in Doha, this will prove very costly for the international community and is likely to have extremely adverse effects for a great many people. It may even cost lives. Failure, therefore, is not an option. However, we should not demand too much, that much is clear. At previous conferences, we learned that we have to take small steps. However, the largest step that the industrialised nations must take is to deal with the future financing and safeguards for adaptation measures and climate action. Clearly, we remain committed to the 2° target. However, with a ‘business as usual’ approach, 3.5° or 4° is the more likely outcome, and no expert in the world can tell us the exact number of degrees at which we cause irreparable damage to the planet.

I am most grateful to the Commissioner. Last week, we held a lengthy debate on how we wish to proceed internally with our emissions trading scheme. However, there is movement at the international level as well, and this applies to various sectors. I welcome the fact that we appear to be on track, here in the EP, towards a solution for aviation, which I hope will be achieved as quickly as possible, ideally before the conference. However, aviation is an international business, and if there is the possibility of achieving a global agreement here, we should stop the clock, as the Commissioner has rightly pointed out, but of course only for a short time. In that case, it is essential to ensure that the international negotiations produce a genuinely workable arrangement, with a workable decision being taken by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), resulting in an international agreement. Otherwise, the clocks will start ticking again in autumn next year and the legislation will proceed. I would also like to respond to the fellow Members who described this as ‘giving way’. Let me say this: ‘giving way’ looks very different. I believe this was a wise decision which this House should support. I believe it sends out a signal for the debates in Doha and shows, once again, that we are willing to compromise here.

A further important point relates to climate diplomacy, which the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety included in the resolution. This means that we are following this issue at all levels, including the European External Action Service (EEAS), and it is always a topic of discussion at all the international meetings. The parliamentary delegation is very well prepared. I very much hope that everyone, including the Commission, will ensure that the parliamentary delegation is fully involved in all the daily briefings so that we have a lively exchange. Our role in Doha will be to convince as many people as possible in positions of responsibility outside the European Union that our ideas are the right ones, and advocate for a global agreement, so that a second commitment period can begin. That is crucial in order to combat climate change and achieve successes.

 
  
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  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, I am grateful for this opportunity to discuss with you the Climate Change Conference in Doha, which is now less than a week away. I particularly appreciate the excellent work undertaken by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and would like to thank Matthias Groote and his co-rapporteurs for their excellent work and for the resolution on which you will be voting tomorrow. This provides us with valuable input into the process.

Doha will be a success if it maintains and builds upon the delicate balance achieved in Durban. It needs specifically to bring to a successful close the negotiated tracks under the Kyoto Protocol and Convention and to make significant progress on the two workstreams of the Durban Platform track. This means increasing the level of mitigation ambition prior to 2020, and devising a new global agreement by 2015 to come into effect by 2020.

Let me be clear from the outset. Doha will not be the end point but rather the next step in a gradual process which has been underway since Copenhagen and which aims at securing a global, legally binding agreement which will apply as from 2020. The objective of these negotiations continues to be to ensure that global temperature increases remain well below 2°C. We must ensure that this commitment is respected and put into effect.

On the Doha package itself, the first element would be the adoption of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. This will enable a second commitment period to start on 1 January 2013 and allow for a smooth transition towards the implementation of a wider legally binding framework as from 2020.

It is encouraging that Australia has announced that it intends to join this second commitment period. I would encourage other developed countries, such as New Zealand, which have not yet done so, to do the same.

The second element of the Doha package will be the closure of the Convention track. At the Cancun and Durban conferences new institutions relating to financing, technology and adaptation were created. These must now become fully operational. We will also need to decide where to handle those issues which will not be resolved in Doha, such as the review, shared vision and the further evaluation of the new market-based mechanism.

Doha will provide the EU with the opportunity to demonstrate that it is on track to meet its fast-start finance pledge over the period 2010-2012 and enable us to work constructively on ways to increase financing between 2013 and 2020.

The third and final element is the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, where we need to make significant progress in Doha on two areas of work.

Firstly, we need to increase the level of mitigation ambition in the period before 2020. There are various ways in which this might be done. They include international cooperative partnership on energy efficiency, renewable energy, short-lived climate pollutants and hydrofluorocarbons. We hope that the forthcoming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will provide increased momentum in this area.

Secondly, further progress is needed towards reaching a global agreement by 2015. In Doha we must agree milestones for 2013 and the subsequent two years. The EU is open to a second commitment period in Durban. We are also pushing strongly for a high level of ambition and for a global agreement by 2015. This is why our role will be critical and why I am convinced that we can help ensure a successful outcome to the conference.

I know that we can count on the support and commitment of this Parliament. The Presidency looks forward to seeing some of you in Doha and we will be available to provide regular briefings on the spot as the negotiations progress.

 
  
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  Connie Hedegaard, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, honourable Members, Minister, let me first thank you for the draft resolution on Doha and the continued support from Parliament and a very strong dedication to try to give Europe a strong voice in these international negotiations. I would also like to thank Mr Groote for his remarks and his very strong support.

I am also looking forward to working with Parliament when we come to Doha. Some people tend to believe that while we have been so busy handling the economic crisis, maybe the climate crisis miraculously solved itself or just went away. For those people, there was some serious news today when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presented its new Emissions Gap Report and nobody should be surprised that it clearly shows that we are not coming closer to where we needed to be now.

We are distancing ourselves from it when we talk about it worldwide. The gap is widening. This is the context in which the Doha Conference will be held. That is of course also why we must do everything we can in Doha to secure the hard-won progress last year in Durban. The very carefully crafted package in Durban must be kept and we must move forward with the climate agenda.

Among other things this means that we must adopt a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as part of the transition to the new future regime. We must agree the next steps towards adopting a legally binding agreement applicable to all parties by 2015, including through a streamlined negotiation process so that all negotiations can take place under the Durban Platform. This means that the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) should be closed down and that when we leave Doha the focus will be on what should be the content in the 2015 agreement. Then of course – very importantly as well – we must address the mitigation gap and raising mitigation ambition also in the period up to 2020.

On the Kyoto Protocol, I think there can be no doubt that Europe is ready to sign up to that. We can do immediate application. There is not doubt about that. I know that some say that you can also ratify when you come to Doha, but some of you will recall why in Bali in 2007 the whole world agreed that we should agree the new future regime at the latest by 2009 because we all knew that it would take years to ratify whatever the outcome.

That is of course still the case: ratification processes take some time and I think that more and more parties outside Europe understand that we have legal democratic procedures that we have to follow but the reality is that, as of 1 January, we will apply a new second commitment period and follow the Kyoto rules and legislation.

Of course it is important for this Conference of the Parties (COP) in Doha not to be reduced to a Kyoto COP only. It must also deliver progress on the other elements of the package from Durban.

We are working hard to reach agreement on outstanding Kyoto issues including the length of the second commitment period, access to Kyoto market mechanisms as well as environmental integrity related to the carry-over of Assigned Amount Unit carbon credits (AAUs) from the first commitment period.

To make progress towards the 2015 agreement the EU has called for submissions and further informal sessions early next year in order to take forward key emerging themes.

A major challenge for next year will be to explore how all parties will take on legally binding mitigation commitments in a way which is fair and consistent with their responsibilities and capabilities while being consistent with the science and thereby with the 2° target. In that respect we need to encourage our partner countries to start preparing for domestic policies accordingly or the consequence will be that we have a nice 2° target that we will not manage to stay below.

It is clear that when we leave Doha there must be a very clear idea, a very clear plan of who will have to do what and when between now and 2015 in order to get the agreement done by 2015.

Let me also say that we are all afraid of this looking into ‘low ambition’ and for many good reasons, also many developing countries are very concerned about that. That is why we have tried to push the incoming Qatari Presidency very much to secure that we will get a ministerial round table in Doha where ministers will sit down and discuss how to add on to ambition, and there are numerous things we could do.

The Cyprus Minister already mentioned some of them. We could also have cooperation on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies; we could include new gases. There are a whole range of things which can be done – also in the shorter term – and that is what we will want to push for. Sustainable energy for all as a follow-up to Rio+20 is another example of things that would serve several purposes at the one time, including the climate purpose.

Can I say on climate financing there is no doubt that it is also very important when we come to Doha that we can prove in black and white – and we will present such a report proving this – that in Europe we have actually delivered on our fast-start climate financing pledges from Copenhagen. We have at this stage delivered a bit more than EUR 7.1 billion out of the EUR 7.2 billion pledged, and I know that the two remaining countries who have not yet come up with their bit for 2012 are working very hard to ensure that that can happen before Doha.

I also strongly hope that the EU will maintain its efforts next year and in the coming years. This could also be secured by further mainstreaming climate considerations into development policy, but we should not fool ourselves. We will very much be watched to see whether some of our Member States and the EU as such are ready now, in Doha, to send some very clear signals about what can be expected financially in the years after the fast-start financing.

As you know the Durban package was only possible because a group of countries drawn from all regional groupings and representing the ‘centre of gravity’, so to speak, came together last year in the spirit of ambition and compromise. In the year since Durban I have tried to continue to work with this Group. The Commission and the then Presidency, Denmark, convened a meeting in Brussels last May and we repeated that exercise with our good friends and allies among the developing countries in a session in New York. We are really trying to work together where we have shared interests in order to maximise pressure on those who need to move their position.

Finally, Mr President, not all climate conferences, not all climate COPs, are very spectacular and can deliver very grand decisions, but that does not mean that they are not important. In Durban last year we knew that when we would meet in Doha it would be immediately after an American election, it would be just after the appointment of a new Chinese leadership.

In that sense you can say that it is a preparatory COP where we are laying the building blocks for the future regime and trying to make progress on that. I really hope that is what we will achieve in Doha: handling the elements, creating the building blocks for the 2015 agreement which is incredibly important and in that sense that Doha will continue to deliver on future steps.

I think that in order to achieve that, it is as important as it was last year and in the previous years that we can speak with one voice in Europe and that we have this very good cooperation: Parliament, Presidency and Council and the European Commission. I think that last year we proved how much we can achieve when we all take part in the work in Doha. I look forward to your cooperation when we come to those two challenging weeks ahead of us.

 
  
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  Karl-Heinz Florenz, on behalf of the PPE Group. (DE) Mr President, I would like to underline that it was indeed a remarkable speech by President Schulz yesterday. It was a pleasure to listen to.

However, I do not believe that it was merely about giving support to the delegation in Doha. His speech also contained very clear warnings that in every aspect of climate policy, we need to think about maintaining the competitiveness of European industry and even expanding it again in some areas. For that reason, I thought it was a good speech.

President-in-Office of the Council, I have heard a great deal of praise for you personally today, which is very gratifying, but the Council itself was divided over Doha and we were on the brink of seeing Europe falling out over a single issue and returning home looking ridiculous. Thankfully, that has been averted, but Europe is not as united as we are claiming here, Commissioner. These are critical words, but they are intended to be helpful, for there are some Member States that are not on track and we need to set them on the right track.

These conferences are always held just before Christmas and in recent years and in keeping with the festive spirit – and I speak as someone who has been here for 20 years – the House has had the unfortunate tendency to put together what I can only describe as a wish list for these conferences. I am glad to say that we have now abandoned this ridiculous practice. Instead, we will be presenting moderate proposals with the aim of encouraging other people to move forward with us and vote in favour of rules. We have already agreed the principles: we have done that in Doha, and it was a hard enough job, but now we must follow up these principles with action, and in that respect, we still have a long way to go. This conference is not going to be easy. However, we should view it as a success that we are progressing step by step in the right direction, and that undoubtedly includes climate diplomacy as well. Europe’s entire energy industry has an energy output of 40 million tonnes. The burning of the forests in South America produces three times that amount. Even if we impose a zero emissions target on our industry, we still will not save the planet.

In other words, diplomacy has a role to play. Lady Ashton needs to move forward on this issue and the Council must act quickly. Then we can rightly claim to have done something that will benefit our children. If we simply carry on as before and merely talk about principles, we are not worth the money that we are earning here.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MIGUEL ANGEL MARTÍNEZ MARTÍNEZ
Vice-President

 
  
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  Dan Jørgensen, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, a few days ago the World Bank published a new report: not Greenpeace, not Friends of the Earth, but the World Bank. It concluded that science tells us that if we do not fundamentally change the way we consume and produce energy now, then we risk having a temperature increase of 4°C within 60 years. Four degrees! If that happens, the consequences will be severe. In some places they will be devastating. The poorest countries and regions of this world will see effects such as desertification, a rise in sea levels, mass migration and, in some places, perhaps even conflict and war.

This means that the ambition to have a legally binding agreement in 2015, coming into force in 2020, is too late. It is not sufficiently ambitious. I know what you will say, Commissioner Hedegaard: that you agree with me, but that is what is possible. Well, we cannot negotiate with nature, so if that is what is possible then we simply have to acknowledge that it is not the way forward. We need to do something different.

What can we as the European Union do? We cannot force other countries to follow us. We cannot force other countries to decrease their CO2 emissions because we do not have the hard power to do that, but we have something different, namely soft power. We have the power to inspire and to lead. If we go further than the rest – if we show that we can be competitive at the same time as doing the right things to save the climate – then maybe that is the best thing to do. That is why our group argues that we should be more ambitious, so that in 2020 we will reduce our emissions by 30 % instead of 20 %, and in 2030 we will need an equally ambitious target. I hope you will take our advice, Commissioner, and argue the same case in the Council.

 
  
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  Corinne Lepage, on behalf of the ALDE Group. (FR) Mr President, Minister, Commissioner, this Doha Conference is taking place at a difficult time – there is no point denying that – and we are actually facing a triple challenge.

I agree entirely with what Mr Jørgensen said about the urgency of the situation, and we all know that he is right. I think that when future generations judge us, our place in history and what our generation did, it will be mainly on climate change that we will be judged.

We all know how difficult things are and, having followed three climate conferences, I have been able to see this for myself. Nevertheless, we have a historic responsibility, which means we have to take precise, concrete action.

We can no longer be satisfied with commitments for the future, financing that is innovative but ill-defined, quite simply because we are doing ourselves no favours. In addition to the issue of climate change, there is also the political issue of Europe.

I completely agree, Commissioner, with what you said a moment ago about Europe having to speak with one voice. At a time when we are the subject of so much criticism around the world, I think that we can not only take the initiative but also demonstrate how to reconcile the economic dimension, economic development, the interests of our businesses and new industrial sectors with a tireless fight against climate change to ensure the survival of future generations and humanity.

I think that we have a real responsibility in that regard because if there is one region in the world that has the capacity to demonstrate that, it is Europe. Nowhere else could because for the southern countries, development aspects come before climate issues, and for the United States, the economy takes priority over the climate.

We are the only ones on the planet today who can really respond to this challenge. In my view, we all realise that and that is why we have to be ambitious, demanding of others, but also and perhaps above all, demanding of ourselves.

 
  
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  Satu Hassi, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (FI) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the EU’s Council of Ministers to detach itself from the paralysing unanimity requirement in the climate negotiations and switch to a normal qualified majority in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon.

In the eyes of the rest of the world, our self-congratulatory speeches about how ambitious we are appear to be risible when we have not even been able to make a decision on so-called hot-air recovery in terms of emissions rights. It is time to wake up climate policy. Mr Jørgensen has already referred to the new report from the World Bank, which warns that we are heading for warming by four degrees, which would mean a rise in the sea level of up to a metre during this century, as well as dry areas becoming even drier, rainy areas becoming even rainier, and disproportionate suffering for hundreds of millions and even billions of people.

It is self-deception to claim that meeting our 20 % reduction target is a success when just last year our reduction was at 17.5 %. Tightening up the emissions target to a reduction of at least 30 % whilst at the same time encouraging the rest of the world to step up to the mark is the decent thing to do, and our global obligation, just as Ms Lepage said.

We keep repeating that warming must be restricted and kept below two degrees, even though we know very well that our current emissions target does not meet this climate objective. It is high time for us to switch to actions in our emissions-limit objectives that correspond to limiting global warming to two degrees.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, Doha must deliver meaningful progress on the Durban package. We must carefully balance the risks of climate change with the economic prosperity of the EU.

While I believe that the transition to a low-carbon economy offers opportunities for growth and investment, I am also mindful that the EU-15 countries, where emissions are not falling, are those Member States which are suffering the most from the Euro crisis, for example Portugal and Spain.

While the British Government supports a 30 % reduction target for CO2 emissions, I do not believe there is an appetite for this amongst Member States. I therefore hope the Commission will proceed cautiously and pragmatically at Doha.

Negotiations over the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol are also going to be tricky. I hope, too, the Commission will come up with a workable compromise on this issue that can satisfy the majority of the Member States.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi, on behalf of the EFD Group. (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the resolution is based on a perfectly acceptable principle, which I myself have expressed more than once, underlining both the threat posed by climate change and the fact that it needs to be dealt with at an international level, but by all parties. It is wrong, however, to ask the European Union to take steps unilaterally to cut emissions by 50 % over the levels of the 1990s by 2050.

It should be evident that if we continue to depress European industry, we encourage relocation of large enterprises to third countries. Unlike the members of the committee, I consider the Durban Package to be insufficient because no binding global agreement was reached on reduction of emissions. It is sheer madness to think of embarking on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol unilaterally, in the absence of the United States, the Russian Federation, Japan and Canada, with uncertainty regarding Australia and New Zealand, and knowing that the great polluters such as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia continue to lack emissions reduction targets.

 
  
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  Sabine Wils, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. (DE) Mr President, the most recent climate conferences have not produced any substantive improvements. The survival of the small island states and the least developed countries is still at risk from climate change. In Doha, the Green Climate Fund agreed in 2010 must be established, and a decision is also needed on the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

According to the World Bank, the global South needs USD 100 billion annually from 2014 to support adaptation to the impacts of climate change. It is clear that the industrialised countries must take responsibility for providing this funding. As long as the industrialised and emerging countries are at odds with each other and deploy blockading tactics, Doha will not produce any positive outcomes for the global climate. Climate protection must start at the national level and, in our case, at the European level as well.

The EU must increase its greenhouse reduction target for 2020 to 40 % against the 1990 baseline and make a firm and binding commitment to increase the share of renewables to 45 % by 2030.

 
  
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  Richard Seeber (PPE). (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, President-in-Office of the Council, I would like to thank our fellow Members who drafted this resolution. In my view, the discussions in the Committee on the Environment on this topic were extremely fruitful and the resolution before us is a very good reflection of the views of this House.

I welcome the fact that Europe is taking on a lead role in this context. Connie Hedegaard is a particularly fervent champion of these goals in the international arena. However, we must also remind our Member States that a joint approach is very important if we want to achieve these ambitious targets. However, I must also remind everyone that protecting the climate is a task for the international community as a whole, and we must be mindful of the realities: nowadays, Europe produces only around 10 % of global emissions. There is no disputing that we have an historic responsibility: during early industrialisation here in Europe and, of course, in America as well, we undoubtedly contributed significantly to the problems we face today. This lead role is therefore justified, but as already stated, we must also ensure that Europe remains attractive as a place to do business. It is a fact that our companies produce the lowest CO2 emissions. Driving our industries out of Europe would therefore be extremely damaging to the climate.

Commissioner, with regard to the issue of aviation, I would ask you to make vigorous efforts to ensure that this international agreement actually comes into being. You told the Committee that you would stop the clock. That is a good thing. We said that we would accept that for one year, but it must also be clear that we need some movement after that; otherwise, our European rules will come into effect. Some people have described this as ‘giving in’; however we describe it, it should not result in the exclusion of this key industry from our shared commitments.

 
  
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  Marita Ulvskog (S&D). (SV) Mr President, at the climate summit in Cancun the target was for a global temperature increase of 1.5°C, which was described as the limit for what the Earth can tolerate without very dramatic consequences.

In Durban, this was changed to a target of 2°C, and at the start of this week the prognosis was issued that current climate policy is leading us towards 4°C of warming, which is a very frightening figure. The question that very many people are asking me is this: is it already too late?

What measures and decisions can interrupt such a strong negative trend? Is it possible at all?

We must try to answer these questions. What we must also do in Doha is ensure that the EU can appear to agree, as many people here have already pointed out, but also work out how we will get China and the US back to the common negotiating table in earnest.

It may be hoped that the new governments and leaders in the US and China are prepared to take new steps, but in actual fact it depends on us. We did well last time, but we have to do even better. We must contribute to a concrete result and help people continue to have hope.

 
  
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  Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE). (FR) Mr President, Minister, ladies and gentlemen, if the world warmed by 4°C we would see a torrent of disasters, including extreme heat waves, a reduction in food stocks and a rise in sea level, affecting hundreds of millions of people. Those words are not taken from the Doha briefing brochure of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance but, as you know, from the World Bank report, which also states that the fight against global warming is an economic opportunity.

However, it seems that the international negotiations are not making any headway and are waiting for 2015. We must obviously avoid what led to the Copenhagen failure: trying to reach an agreement right before the end of Copenhagen and not preparing it adequately beforehand. Doha is an extremely important meeting.

It seems that conservatism of all kinds is taking precedence over the urgency and the new economy, especially this new carbon-free economy, so the European Union needs to set an example. Here, once again, the Union seems to be dragging its feet: when it comes to aviation, climate change caused by agrofuels, the restriction on the coal market and ‘hot air’, the European Union’s most recent decisions have been bad decisions.

We know that you are ambitious, Commissioner. We need to be ambitious in Doha and we need to continue to try to convince your colleagues in the Commission and us in the European Parliament to ensure that Europe continues to lead the way.

 
  
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  Romana Jordan (PPE). (SL) Mr President, there are many who could question why we are even having this conference, since we are achieving nothing.

The media reports are truly sceptical, but I myself was surprised when I checked what indeed had happened from Bali to the present day. It is very important for me that a global agreement was achieved that the temperature should not exceed two degrees Celsius, but of course there are emission limits tied to this.

A green climate fund was set up, as well as an instrument for technology transfer, and of course negotiations are still ongoing in many areas.

Yet it is true that the most important agreement on how far countries will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and bind themselves legally to doing so has not yet been reached. It is also true that those commitments already communicated are still far from reaching the target that we are all aiming for.

For this reason we MEPs must be extremely determined in our talks with colleagues in Doha. We must tell them that we have to be more ambitious and that we need to take action now.

In this regard the crisis should of course not be an excuse. For if we act now, it will require about 1 % of gross domestic product, while if we do not act, it will require about 5 % of gross domestic product and we really cannot leave this burden to our children.

I must also point out another thing. Climate change is a global problem, and action must also be global. I believe that responses calling for a unilateral increase of ambitions in our resolution are redundant.

 
  
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  Kriton Arsenis (S&D). – Mr President, Parliament has full faith in the Commissioner. We know that she is a woman who not only tries to do her best but someone who does the best possible.

The target, as we see it, is not a success in Doha. The target is a success in the negotiations for an agreement in 2015. This is a country-by-country fight. We are fighting to win the hearts and minds of people and bureaucracies, each time in one more country and then in another and another.

Qatar has been one of the difficult partners in this negotiation. Now it holds in its hands the very future of these negotiations for an agreement in 2015 – for one whole year. May it be that, by the end of COP 18, Qatar becomes a pioneer in these negotiations. It has, as you also told us yesterday, the highest per capita income in the world. May it be a main and important contributor for climate action across the world.

Nevertheless, the message that comes from the Parliament is that you are not going to Doha empty-handed. A year ago we had the decision in Durban on LULUCF. As you might know, we, with the Council, are way ahead in negotiations for a decision on LULUCF legislation. This is a clear commitment from our side that we believe in these negotiations and that we are willing to do everything to make them a reality.

 
  
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  Bas Eickhout (Verts/ALE). (NL) Mr President, I would like to thank Commissioner Hedegaard and the President-in-Office, Mr Mavroyiannis, for their fine words once more about climate change and how serious the situation is. Here too, in Parliament, a great deal of concern has been expressed once again about how serious climate change is. However, while we know that this summit will not achieve the biggest steps, if we face reality we are forced to note what kind of problems the EU has already had in coming to a position. It is time, therefore, to be a bit more critical of Mr Mavroyiannis and Commissioner Hedegaard too.

When, for instance, is Europe finally going to agree on rules to ensure that the hot air from Kyoto I is not taken along to Kyoto II? When will the EU finally provide some clarity on that? Then there is the funding! Ms Hedegaard has said very clearly: ‘I am building up an alliance of the poorer countries, the African Union’. Money is very important to the African Union. They are already noticing the effects of climate change. When I read the conclusions of Ecofin, the Ministers of Finance, they do not contain anything concrete about what the EU is going to do about money after 2012. What promises will the EU make on this in Doha? I would like to hear something more specific, clearer statements, from the EU, about what they are going to put down in Doha. Otherwise it will just be empty words and the climate gains nothing from that.

 
  
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  Pilar del Castillo Vera (PPE). (ES) Mr President, I want to begin by congratulating the Commissioner, because she works tirelessly in this area – I can vouch for that – especially given that this topic that we are discussing is really very complicated. I would also add the following.

There is one area, Commissioner, in which we have demonstrated that we definitely can reduce emissions –indeed, we are seeing its positive impact on growth, competitiveness and, therefore, job creation – and in which Europe is a leader in the technological sphere and is carrying out many actions with specific objectives: that area is energy efficiency.

I have said it before and I will say it again now. I believe that Doha, like the last COP in Durban, is a great opportunity for Europe, and the European Union, to head up the development of a road map for energy efficiency, with different types of goals, with common actions, with deadlines, etc.

This really needs a precise structure and framework, and the European Union, more than anyone, has an undeniable opportunity to pioneer a road map for energy efficiency.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE). (HU) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we are in no easy situation, because – as the previous speakers pointed out – it will be very difficult to achieve a result in Doha. For me it was very convincing how Commissioner Hedegaard tackled the issue, as was the forcefulness with which she presented her views. I believe this is the only way to represent the European position. However, we must not hide the fact that we also disagree on a number of important issues. This was apparent in the Committee debate, but also in the preparatory phase in this House. We should not forget that most of the commitments undertaken in the period up to 2012 were introduced by the central and eastern European states, which thereby took the EU commitments on their shoulders. This same region is set to fare badly in the next period if the quotas cannot be carried over. I therefore think that we should bear in mind the proposals which were tabled by the Hungarian government at the Durban conference, and we should do everything possible to present a united front. As my colleague Mr Florenz said, otherwise there will be no unity, and we need to be able to carry across these quotas to the following period... (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D). (HU) Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the climate summit that begins next week in Doha is our last chance to get answers to one of the biggest global challenges facing humankind. I completely agree with Commissioner Hedegaard’s position, but it would be good to obtain our partners’ support too, notably that of the US, China and Russia and the other emerging economies. As Mr Bánki also said, it is especially important for the central European Member States that the Kyoto emissions system should remain in place, as otherwise we new Member States, including Hungary, stand to lose substantial sums of money. In Hungary’s case this money is badly needed for renewable energy, energy efficiency and the programme to refurbish old prefabricated housing stock. In other words, we have a significant interest in ensuring that this system continues and that we can access the funds that are rightfully ours.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, with all the crises going on in the world – the eurozone one, the fiscal cliff in the US, a nuclear Iran etc. – climate change has slipped somewhat down the political agenda. But Hurricane Sandy was a bit of a wake-up call, and I do now hope that President Obama in his second term will act decisively.

I have to say that the anthropogenic debate regarding climate change is not entirely settled in my mind, but nevertheless I do support the EU 2020 mitigation agenda, although I worry that the higher, 30 %, reduction target for emissions might put my country’s economy at a severe competitive disadvantage, and unless the other major players in the world, such as the US, Canada, Japan and the BRICs, all sign up at the 2015 Doha Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, we will have problems for the future.

The EU must speak with one voice – and that is not entirely settled either – but we cannot go it alone to stop this global threat to future generations by stabilising the temperature rise below 2°C – which must be our objective. Otherwise we face serious problems of desertification, rising ocean levels and mass migration as agriculture and global fishery stocks are depleted.

So I do wish the Commissioner every success in Doha.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, at this point in time when we are preparing for yet another conference on climate change, there are two issues that we should be discussing in more detail. The first is the carbon market. The European Union, in its rush to create yet another refuge for financial speculators and to commit to creating yet another mechanism for generating billions from fictitious financial assets, has opted for a market approach instead of a regulatory approach, which could and should have been used. This begs the question: when will the manifest perversity of market instruments be recognised? It is not by rushing to remove a few more licences from the market that the basic problem will be solved. The second issue is the liberalisation and deregulation of trade. The same European Union, which appears to be deeply concerned about climate change, is pursuing, on a global scale, the liberalisation and deregulation of trade. This is significantly increasing flows of energy and materials and, therefore, CO2 emissions associated with meeting the most basic human needs. When, too, will this irreconcilable contradiction be resolved?

 
  
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  Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Commissioner, I welcome Mr Groote’s report and I believe that you will be able to carry through on the commitment you have made here. You know better than I do the importance of preparatory work, and therefore also of diplomatic activity, with countries and governments who have either underestimated or are openly hostile to the questions to be dealt with at Doha.

However, I believe that in the light of the data presented in the World Bank document we have to introduce a new concept in addition to the larger and generally accepted question that underlies these discussions: we are faced with a veritable environmental emergency, since global climate temperature increase does not progress in a linear fashion and beyond a certain threshold even a single degree increase in temperature could have devastating effects.

The aims and the schedule established in the EU position are acceptable, but we must also contemplate a more immediate form of intervention reflecting an emergency situation.

 
  
 

(End of the catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Connie Hedegaard, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I will be brief. You will all know from what I said earlier that I agree very much with the sense of urgency, and I see we are getting much additional evidence that we did not actually need – although I hope it will help the world to try to act more speedily, for that is what we need.

Mr Jørgensen said we could not negotiate with nature. Unfortunately that is so, although I think it might be easier than the negotiations in Doha with 194 countries. There have been so many wake-up calls that the question is, do we really need any more? Personally I hope that what President Obama said last week at his first press conference after having been re-elected President, when he admitted – and he used the word ‘admit’ – that the US had not been doing enough on climate, means he will now change that. I hope that in Doha we will start to see signs of that being reflected when it comes to international negotiation.

Corinne Lepage asked about innovative financing. Here I would refer to this month’s Ecofin Council conclusions, of 13 November, when aviation and shipping revenues were mentioned, as were carbon markets: so there actually are some alternative sources of revenue. Last year in Durban, we established a new market mechanism and we hope now that it can come into action. I strongly agree that we need innovative sources to generate the kind of amounts we need.

To echo Mr Eickhout, what will the EU say about financing? I hope that when we come to Doha, on behalf of the Commission, I will have an adopted, agreed multiannual financial framework (MFF) so that I can point to the fact that there is substantial new money for climate action, for access to energy and for many of these things, with a particular focus on Africa – a point that was mentioned by Mr Eickhout. What I cannot guarantee is what will come from the various Member States but I know that, last year in Durban, some of them – Germany, for instance, Denmark and others, and I think the UK too – indicated they are now ready to come up with more financing for 2013. I was told I could make that point in Council. I think Mr Eickhout will not be surprised if I say I have tried to make that point pretty clearly many times, so I hope it will work out.

Finally, many of you have mentioned that Europe should show leadership: should lead by example through what we do ourselves. I must say that I am quite proud of the pile of proposals from the Commission that we have at this stage here in Parliament, and also on the table for the Council. To mention just a few, they include the back-loading proposal, the carbon market report with the structural options for the carbon market, the LULUCF (land use, land use change and forestry) proposal that Mr Arsenis mentioned, the Cars regulation and the F-Gas Regulation; and we had the proposal for a 20 % climate mainstreaming of the entire MFF.

I tell you, this is no small thing. It is a new way of thinking – if it actually gets through. The Energy Efficiency Directive has been adopted but it is now very much up to the Member States to actually implement it. We also have the Energy Taxation Directive. So there is no question of our not providing the initiatives, but we now need to get them through our various institutions so we can incorporate them into law.

In these final seconds I would also like to highlight the fact that, in the Commission’s work programme for next year, we have announced that we will prepare a 2030 initiative on both climate and energy, so I hope we can have some useful discussions about the target we will need for 2030.

My very last point is that I know some will say ‘Yes, but this is costly and we have an economic crisis’. But what the US has just experienced with Hurricane Sandy is merely one example of what we will see increasingly, and further proof that continuing with ‘business as usual’ carries a very high price tag. The droughts we saw in the US this summer, the flooding in many areas of the world: this is what it takes to convince people that, yes, the green transition does not come for free, but in the end it pays off, even economically and growth-wise, compared to simply continuing with ‘business as usual’. The more people realise that, the better off we will be in this discussion.

Doha is not going to be an easy conference but we actually managed to get very substantial things out of Durban despite all the predictions. I hope that Doha can deliver some new progress and keep us on track to construct the international agreement. Although it can never stand alone, we need it, and Doha will be the next stepping stone.

 
  
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  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President – Vice-President Martínez – you will allow me to take this opportunity to present to you my personal greetings and tell you of my emotion at the unique honour and pleasure of taking the floor under your chairmanship.

I am very much encouraged by this afternoon’s debate, which shows that both our institutions and, of course, the Commission very much share the same objective and are working along the same lines.

I have a brief comment on stepping up to 30 %, a subject raised by a number of speakers. The cornerstone of the EU contribution to the global goals is set out in the EU climate and energy legislative package. The EU has adopted an ambitious, independent target for mitigation to reduce emissions to 20 % below 1990 levels by 2020. By continuing to both fulfil its present commitment and affirm its willingness to move conditionally to a reduction of up to 30 %, the EU hopes that its example will help stimulate stronger commitments from other major economies.

Furthermore, the EU advocates a mid-term review in 2014, offering the possibility to review the level of ambition. It is noteworthy that this review will thus be able to take into account the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As on previous occasions, your support and outreach efforts to our partners worldwide in the run-up to the Doha Conference, as well as on the spot, are very much appreciated. May I just add that we have the privilege to have, in Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and her team, the perfect synthesis of vigilance, knowledge of the dossier, vision and full commitment to make us rise to the challenge, along with the Council negotiating team – to use our soft power and to lead by example, but without overlooking interdependence and the need for global and comprehensive effort. We very much look forward to working closely together with all of you in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

 
  
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  President. − To wind up the debate, one motion for a resolution has been tabled under Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. It has been signed by no less than six groups, which shows the very notable consensus on a subject as serious as this.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow at 12.00.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) There is an urgent need to fill the gap between the available scientific data and the current commitments of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. According to a United Nations study published this week, levels of greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise and are 14 % above the 2020 targets. A rise in temperature of 3-5°C is predicted in this century, if rapid action is not taken. All the governments meeting in Doha need to raise their level of ambition to ensure that a legally binding global agreement is achieved to limit the planet’s warming to 2°C. The costs of inaction are well-documented and will be even higher if reductions in emissions are postponed to subsequent decades. The crisis should not therefore reduce the level of ambition in Doha. The European Union must give new impetus to the international climate negotiations and invest in the transition to a green economy, demonstrating that emissions can be reduced without losing competitiveness and jobs.

 
  
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  András Gyürk (PPE), in writing. (HU) Many people felt the international climate negotiations were a failure because they did not manage to arrive at a binding agreement. Based on the negotiations so far it seems that we need to reconcile ourselves to the idea that small steps are a better way to achieve success than grand convergences. In the 2013-2020 commitment period one such forward-looking measure might be to establish an international financing structure that could provide an suitable basis for common funding to combat climate change. The setting up of the Green Climate Fund seems a promising initiative, but we must make sure that the big polluters mobilise their resources to support it in spite of the economic crisis. Alongside international efforts, an important aspect is to ensure that European Union climate policy does not disadvantage Member States that have managed to reduce their emissions by more than the levels stipulated in the international Convention. In recent years the countries of central and eastern Europe have more than fulfilled their Kyoto commitments and in accordance with the Convention will be able to carry over their surplus into the post-2012 commitment period. In the current difficult economic climate the EU proposal to limit the rights of countries to carry over their surplus units is unacceptable. In the interests of stimulating economic growth in Europe it is vital that countries with surplus units, which represent an important national asset, should be able to trade these beyond 2012 as the income from this trade could be used to invest in renewables and energy efficiency measures.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) Once again, it is time to vote on our resolution for the COP 18 climate summit. Every year we do this, our objective being to give the Commission a signal of the direction in which Parliament wants the Commission to steer the meeting. From year to year, however, as I read the resolutions, it feels as though time has stood still; we still repeat the same hopes that we have found to be unachievable about the EU being in charge and showing the way, as if someone were to follow our example. We are clinging onto Kyoto by force, as if Kyoto’s model strategy and its emissions limits were the only way of saving the climate. We do not want to acknowledge the facts, even to such an extent that some of my colleagues in the Greens want to vote against my two reviews, which merely state the facts: the Durban package in total covers approximately 15 % of the world’s emissions, and the US, Russia, Japan and Canada at least will not be participating in any possible second Kyoto commitment period. At the same time, I want to remind you that developing countries like China, India, Brazil and Indonesia still do not have any targets for reducing emissions in the coming period. If we want to take the fight against climate change seriously, we must consider the facts and understand that we badly need something more effective and comprehensive in its place. Ironically, those who play around the most with the catastrophic impact of climate change are themselves the first to deny the proven ineffectiveness of the action that is currently being taken, and state that they are unwilling to update their weapons. Therefore, it is finally time to embark on the negotiations from a new basis, with our objective being to find a real solution in which others are also prepared to accompany us. The current model is clearly not that.

 
  
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  Vladko Todorov Panayotov (ALDE), in writing. – Europe has taken the lead over the most ambitious line in the UNFCCC which it will defend in December in Doha. If the EU is a pioneer in pointing out climate change as a threat and understanding the urgency for climate mitigation, we also acknowledge the need for all parties to adopt ambitious and sufficient targets for the GHG reduction, and to convince the big polluters that we face an issue which needs to be addressed at international level through strong commitments. The EU’s Low Carbon Roadmap and the promotion of renewables and energy efficiency show an effective political will at EU level. Nevertheless, these are derisory if never implemented at international level. Durban put the foundation for an all-parties’ comprehensive, ambitious, international legally binding agreement to be reached by 2015 and implemented by 2020. But these commitments are still unclear and our current policies are clearly insufficient to meet the objective of limiting the surface temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. I am proud to be on the side of those who do not live in blindness but I know that the actions we undertake against climate change will be worthless without international awareness and equal participation in our efforts.

 
Posljednje ažuriranje: 4. ožujka 2013.Pravna napomena