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Procedure : 2007/2650(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0432/2007

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Debates :

PV 14/11/2007 - 9
CRE 14/11/2007 - 9

Votes :

PV 15/11/2007 - 5.9
CRE 15/11/2007 - 5.9
Explanations of votes

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 15 November 2007 - Strasbourg
Bali Conference on Climate Change

European Parliament resolution of 15 November 2007 on limiting global climate change to 2 degrees Celsius – the way ahead for the Bali Conference on Climate Change and beyond (COP 13 and COP/MOP 3)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission entitled 'Limiting Global Climate Change to 2 Degrees Celsius - The way ahead for 2020 and beyond' (COM(2007)0002),

–   having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC and the procedures for its implementation,

–   having regard to the United Nations Security Council's debate of 17 April 2007 on the impact of climate change on peace and security,

–   having regard to the forthcoming thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UNFCCC and the third Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 3) to be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 14 December 2007,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions regarding climate change, and in particular those of 16 November 2005 on winning the battle against global climate change(1), of 18 January 2006 on climate change(2), dealing with the outcome of the Montreal Conference (COP 11-COP/MOP 1), of 4 July 2006 on reducing the climate change impact of aviation(3), and of 14 February 2007 on climate change(4),

–   having regard to Oral Questions B6-0379/2007 and B6-0380/2007 by the Temporary Committee on Climate Change tabled pursuant to Rule 108 of its Rules of Procedure and to the statements by the Council and the Commission,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8-9 March 2007,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas climate change is a major challenge for our societies in the 21st century, with significant negative global environmental, economic, social and geopolitical effects, and might also threaten international peace and security,

B.   whereas its adverse consequences are distributed unequally, and in addition to being an environmental catastrophe, climate change also raises human rights and global equity issues,

C.   whereas one cannot deny the right of the poor to a decent life,

D.   whereas the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) affirms that the accelerating pace of climate change is the result of human activity and is already causing severe global effects,

E.   whereas many areas in the world have already been affected by the effects of an increase in global average temperatures, and whereas the latest scientific evidence suggests that the EU's agreed long-term goal of limiting warming to +2°C compared to pre-industrial levels might not be sufficient to avoid significant negative effects of climate change,

F.   whereas population groups have already been displaced by the adverse effects of climate change, such as in Tuvalu, Bangladesh an the Sahel region of Africa,

G.   whereas the abovementioned IPCC 4th Assessment Report states that the global mean temperature has risen by 0,74 °C over the last 100 years and will continue to increase by about 0,7 °C due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions already emitted; whereas the report also estimates a further increase in the global mean temperature of between 1,8 and 4 °C during this century, depending on the development of society,

H.   whereas this year, according to the latest satellite data of the European Space Agency (ESA), summer melting of ice at the North Pole assumed such proportions as to permit ships to travel through the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific for the first time, and whereas this is a further indication of rapid climate change in the Arctic,

I.   whereas climate change is a long-term problem and whereas short-term measures alone will not suffice to bring about positive effects on climate,

J.   whereas industrialised countries have a major responsibility for the accumulation of GHG emissions in the atmosphere; whereas the poorest countries and populations will be hit hardest by a more unstable climate,

K.   whereas the 25 biggest polluter countries account for 83% of global GHG emissions, and the emissions per capita in developed countries are many times higher than those of developing countries,

L.   whereas the economic, social and health costs of inaction were estimated in the Stern Review to correspond to 5-20% of global GDP per year; whereas according to the UNFCCC and the European Commission the cost of sound climate policy would reduce annual global GDP growth by only a fraction of the expected growth, at between 0,12 and 0,19%, without taking into account the ancillary environmental and health benefits or improvements in energy security,

M.   whereas both the IPCC and Stern reports confirm that developing countries are particularly threatened by climate change because of their higher exposure and vulnerability; whereas human-induced climate change will result in harmful impacts on farming and hydrological systems, forests, fisheries, health and economic infrastructure and whereas such impacts will exacerbate poverty and pose a serious threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,

N.   whereas the World Bank estimates that USD 10-40 billion will be required annually in order to 'climate proof' development in the poorest countries and whereas contributions to dedicated adaptation funds so far are only projected to amount to between USD 150 and USD 300 million per year,

O.   whereas binding emission reduction targets need to be mapped out to provide necessary incentives for rapid investment in the further development and deployment of energy-saving, resource-efficient, renewable and low-emission technologies,

P.   whereas a broad international agreement on long-term targets for emission reductions is absolutely essential to provide investment certainty for low GHG-emitting technologies as well as energy efficiency, and to avoid investments in incompatible energy infrastructure,

1.  Urges the EU to confirm its leading role and to strive for concrete cooperation at the forthcoming Bali Climate Conference and beyond, and for that meeting to agree the necessary negotiating mandate to establish a realistic framework for an international post-2012 climate agreement which is consistent with the objective of limiting climate change to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels; considers that the EU can assert its leading role by sending a number of heads of governments to Bali, which would at the same time make it clear that climate change is a many-sided problem which should be debated not only by environment ministers

2.  Considers that a future regime should build on key principles and mechanisms of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities; deems that the Bali mandate should be based on the following elements:

   a long-term goal of limiting average global temperature increase to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, which means reducing global GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to the 1990 level,
   binding targets for all industrialised countries,
   broader participation in reduction efforts, in particular by emerging economies through fair and proportionate targets,
   a global 'cap and trade' system,
   strengthened financial mechanisms for adaptation, with special attention to water resources,
   effective incentives, including market-based instruments if appropriate, to avoid deforestation and land-use emissions, including promoting sustainable agricultural practices,
   financial and other instruments for clean development and technology transfer and deployment,
   agreement by 2009 at the latest;

3.  Emphasises that targets for a sustainable use of resources and emission cuts must be based on the long-term goal; considers that, in the light of current knowledge, it is imperative that global emissions should peak within the next ten years, that the CO2-eq concentration in the atmosphere be maintained below 450 ppm, and that GHG emissions continue to decline to a level which can be sustained by the absorption capacity of natural sinks;

4.  Calls for due account to be taken of the warnings of the scientific community to the effect that the already difficult task of limiting global warming to 2°C does not in itself constitute a safety standard, since it still entails extremely serious effects and consequences;

5.  Recalls that industrialised countries, including those that have not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol, must play a leading role in tackling climate change at world level and commit themselves to reducing their emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050 compared to 1990; believes that the future regime should foresee a pathway up to 2050 in line with the long-term goal, with compliance at five-year intervals with intermediate targets, where binding targets should be set and reviewed on the basis of the latest scientific knowledge;

6.  Welcomes in this connection the EU target adopted at the abovementioned European Council of 8-9 March 2007 of a 30% reduction of GHG emissions from their 1990 level by 2020 provided that other developed countries commit themselves to similar emission reductions and that more economically advanced developing countries make a contribution commensurate with their responsibilities and respective capacities, and acknowledges the obligation accepted by the EU – irrespective of the conclusion of a global agreement for the period after 2012 – to reduce GHG emissions by at least 20% from their 1990 level by 2020;

7.  Emphasises that an appreciable reduction in CO2 can only be achieved on an international scale by including major emitters in the industrialised countries, and also by securing the participation of newly industrialised countries;

8.  Considers that emerging countries should accept limits on their emissions in accordance with their development stage, their per capita emissions, their emission reduction potential and their technical and financial capacities;

9.  Considers that the EU and other industrialised countries should assist developing countries in the deployment of sustainable and efficient technologies by means of co-financing, including Official Development Assistance (ODA), and capacity-building measures in order for the more economically advanced among them to be able to begin emission or carbon intensity reductions as soon as their development permits, at the latest by 2020;

10.  Recalls that the IPCC in its recent report for policy makers acknowledges the role of nuclear energy as an option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; believes that, where reasonable, energy needs should be met from all available carbon-free sources or low-emission technologies, including nuclear energy;

11.  Emphasises the importance of respecting and adhering to the principles of sound environmental policy in all EU projects of development aid to third countries;

12.  Considers that it is also necessary to encourage solutions making it possible to attain the objective of reducing GHG emissions by 30% by 2020;

13.  Is concerned about the pace of tropical deforestation accounting for some 20% of global GHG emissions and the negative impact on the global absorption capacity of natural sinks and biodiversity as well as on the livelihoods of poor communities, and calls, therefore, for more intensive incorporation of such incentives in the allocation of development aid by donors in Europe and worldwide;

14.  Considers that it will be vital to create a strategic partnership with the countries most concerned by tropical deforestation; strongly believes that performance-based incentives for avoidance of deforestation need to be part of the future climate regime;

15.  Considers that such incentives would need to be in reference to country specific baselines (taking into account early action) and be accompanied by ecological criteria, rules on sustainability and guarantees of good governance; maintains that the temporary nature of sink credits means countries must carry liability for their permanence when they are used for compliance with binding targets;

16.  Considers that the main UN policies on bio-diversity, desertification and climate change and the related international ongoing Conferences of Parties need effective coordination in order to achieve common goals; stresses the need, therefore, to avoid any contradiction in implementing the proposed mitigation and adaptation measures in order to ensure coordination and efficiency among them;

17.  Regards an international framework agreement and a certification system for biofuels as necessary, with the aim of preventing adverse effects on the environment and excessively high CO2 emissions, stemming, for example, from deforestation and the burning of peat bogs; in this connection, considers research, development and promotion of second-generation biofuels to be necessary;

18.  Emphasises the moral obligation on industrialised countries to provide increased financial and capacity-building support for risk reduction and adaptation to climate change in low-income vulnerable countries in a predictable and coherent manner; calls, in particular, for the strengthening of existing funds under the UNFCCC such as the Adaptation Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the GEF's Strategic Priority on Adaptation (SPA);

19.  Reconfirms its support for the continuing use of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a means of promoting climate-friendly technologies; emphasises that conditions should be created as soon as possible for the continuation and further development of the CDM beyond 2012; highlights the need to improve effectiveness through stricter sustainability criteria, improved governance, simplified administrative procedures and the possible movement towards sectoral CDM; emphasises however that, as an offset mechanism, it is only a temporary solution and the goal should remain to establish a global carbon cap based on a fair and proportionate allocation of quotas; maintains the principle agreed under the Kyoto Protocol that the use of flexible mechanisms must be supplemental to domestic reductions;

20.  Calls on the Commission, when revising the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), in order to improve the CDM, to initiate a change of course in the assessment of emission credits for afforestation and reforestation projects and sustainable forest management projects;

21.  21, Reiterates its call for aviation and maritime transport emissions to be included in international GHG reduction commitments for the post-2012;

22.  Regrets that the ICAO has not been prepared to find any kind of legal instrument to limit greenhouse gas emissions from aviation even though this task was already given to the ICAO more than 10 years ago;

23.  Is concerned that a growing proportion of the earth's resources are used for livestock raising; recalls the report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of November 2006 entitled 'Livestock's Long Shadow', which estimates that the meat industry and livestock raising account for 18% of the world's total GHG emissions; stresses the need for an international post-2012 climate agreement to include a framework for sustainable livestock production;

24.  Proposes reviewing the extent to which rubbish dumps, which emit up to 60 million tons of methane per year worldwide, can be decommissioned and used to produce energy in order to reduce the greenhouse effect and dangers to human beings;

25.  Recognises the possibilities that combating climate change brings by forcing technological development and the creation of more sustainable societies; considers that policies to decarbonise the economy will offer significant business opportunities in many technology areas, such as energy efficiency, renewables, sharing technology, carbon capture and storage (CCS) etc.; calls for further efforts by Member States to boost such investment and provide fiscal incentives to encourage research into clean technologies;

26.  Considers that the market entry of clean technologies is hampered by barriers, such as subsidies for fossil fuels, import tariffs and lack of a knowledge base; calls for conclusive efforts under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol to remove such barriers and to put in place positive incentives for investments in sustainable technologies and greater use of entrepreneurial incentive models, in particular exceptionally strong and comprehensive partnership between industrialised countries and emerging economies;

27.  Maintains that reducing global emissions must not lead to other threats such as nuclear proliferation or terrorism; believes, therefore, that nuclear power should remain excluded from the CDM and Joint Implementation (JI) or other mechanisms aimed at rewarding emission reductions in developing countries;

28.  Recognises that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) licensing fees in the area of clean technologies may constitute a barrier to the transfer of such technology to developing countries; stresses that a post-2012 agreement must entail a framework for IPR partnerships between industrialised and developing countries, providing alternative means of compensation for IPR holders, in order to ensure respect for property rights while at the same time facilitating technology flows;

29.  Recognises that price differences resulting from divergent national commitments in relation to climate change may become a source of distortion of competition, including for small and medium-sized enterprises; calls on the Commission to seriously address this issue, namely through the development of instruments conducive to a higher level of coherence between environmental objectives and World Trade Organization's rules; recognises that binding international benchmarks and commitments covering all sectors that are vulnerable to competition would be preferable to the possible adoption of border adjustment measures to offset distortions among trading partners;

30.  Supports, in the absence of an effective global carbon 'cap and trade' system, sectoral targets for energy-intensive industries in countries without binding emission reduction commitments as a supplement to binding emission targets for industrialised countries in combination with commitments to transfer technology; considers that such targets and/or benchmarks are especially important for energy-intensive sectors that compete globally (steel, paper and cement) and could be a first step to offsetting distortions among trading partners;

31.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretariat of the UNFCCC, with the request that it be circulated to all non-EU contracting parties and observers to the Convention.

(1) OJ C 280E, 18.11.2006, p. 120.
(2) OJ C 287E, 24.11.2006, p. 182.
(3) OJ C 303E, 13.12.2006, p. 119.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0038.

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