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Procedure : 2008/2510(RSP)
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PV 30/01/2008 - 20
CRE 30/01/2008 - 20

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PV 31/01/2008 - 8.9
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Thursday, 31 January 2008 - Brussels
Outcome of the Bali Conference on Climate Change

European Parliament resolution of 31 January 2008 on the outcome of the Bali Conference on Climate Change (COP 13 and COP/MOP 3)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Third Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 3), held in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 15 December 2007,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in Valencia, Spain, on 17 November 2007,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions regarding climate change, and in particular that 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)(1),

–   having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the IPCC AR4 affirms that the accelerating pace of climate change is the result of human activity and is already causing severe global effects,

B.   whereas the Bali Action Plan endorses the findings of the IPCC AR4 that global warming is unequivocal, and that delay in reducing emissions significantly constrains opportunities to achieve lower stabilisation levels and increases the risk of more severe climate-change impacts,

C.   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 may not be sufficient to avoid significant negative effects of climate change,

D.   whereas climate change is a long-term problem and whereas short-term measures alone will not suffice to bring about positive effects on climate; whereas for the climate system it is crucial to ensure that global emissions will peak within the next 10-15 years,

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

F.   whereas a broad international agreement on long-term targets for emission reductions is absolutely essential in order to provide investment certainty for low GHG-emitting technologies as well as energy efficiency and sustainable forestry, and to avoid investments in energy infrastructure which are incompatible with the emissions targets,

1.  Welcomes the decision taken by the Parties at the Bali Conference to launch, within the framework of the UNFCCC, a formal negotiation process for an international climate agreement for the period after 2012 with a view to achieving an agreement and adopting a decision at the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to be held in Copenhagen in 2009;

2.  Expresses its satisfaction that the Bali Action Plan contains a clear timetable, sets the deadline of 2009 for the conclusion of the agreement and indicates the key issues which will be addressed during the negotiations, and believes that it thus provides a good basis for the negotiating process;

3.  Reiterates that such an agreement should build on key principles and mechanisms of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities, and that it should be based on the elements identified in paragraph 2 of its above-mentioned resolution of 15 November 2007;

4.  Considers the overcoming of the rigid distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I countries to be one of the most significant achievements of the Bali Action Plan;

5.  Stresses the constructive and leading role played by the EU at the Bali Conference, which greatly facilitated the breakthrough in the negotiations; supports the continuation of such an active role in the forthcoming negotiations and insists that Parliament must be very closely involved in these negotiations;

6.  Welcomes the recognition by the Parties that IPCC AR4 represents the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of climate change to date, providing an integrated scientific, technical and socio-economic perspective on relevant issues, as well as the encouragement to draw on this information in the development of national policies on climate change;

7.  Regrets that it was not possible to make unambiguous references to science in relation to the necessary reductions of GHG emissions in the Bali Action Plan; welcomes, however, the recognition of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that reductions of GHG emissions in the range of 25-40% compared to 1990 by industrialised countries as a group are required by 2020;

8.  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 GHG emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and by 60-80% by 2050 compared to 1990;

9.  Welcomes the constructive approach to the negotiations taken by a majority of the developing countries and their commitment to engage in nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner;

10.  Stresses that sustainable economic development is a right for all developing countries; emphasises that the European Union and other industrialised countries must assist the developing countries in the development of sustainable technologies;

11.  Recalls that the credibility and effectiveness of the global efforts cannot be achieved without deeper, measurable, reportable and verifiable commitments by all the parties involved;

12.  Considers that finding an equitable solution is fundamental to the success of international climate policy;

13.  Considers that, as an innovation in comparison to the Kyoto Protocol, the different situation of developing countries should be reflected in the commitments entered into, and that emerging countries should accept limits on their emissions in accordance with their stage of development, the sectoral composition of their economies, their emission reduction potential and their technical and financial capacities;

14.  Considers that there is room for innovation, in relation to the existing Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, in the forms of commitment and the targets set for developing and emerging countries, so as to make such commitments compatible with each country's needs and capabilities, provided that these are measurable, reportable and verifiable;

15.  Welcomes the decision to undertake a programme of work on methodological issues relating to a range of policy approaches and positive incentives that aim at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, taking account in a balanced manner of the multiple functions and benefits of forests for biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and local livelihoods; also welcomes the fact that the Parties are encouraged to support capacity building, to provide technical assistance and to make efforts, including pilot projects, to address the drivers of deforestation and the need to support the sustainable utilisation of natural resources;

16.  Welcomes the decision concerning the management of the Adaptation Fund in an effective and transparent manner, which ensures that it will become operational at an early stage of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;

17.  Welcomes the decision to launch a strategic programme to scale up the level of investment for the development, transfer and deployment of both the mitigation and adaptation technologies to developing countries, as well as the allocation to the Expert Group on Technology Transfer of the task of assessing the gaps in and barriers to the use of, and access to, financial resources;

18.  Is of the opinion that research into, and the development and demonstration of, more efficient and less costly energy technologies should be a high priority; calls for close collaboration between governments, industry, the research community and civil society;

19.  Considers that the next Conference/Meeting of the Parties in Poznan should focus on developing countries, and therefore insists that serious efforts be made to achieve real progress regarding incentives, including market-based instruments, to avoid deforestation and encourage sustainable forestry, the financing of adaptation and improvements in the transfer and deployment of clean technologies in developing countries;

20.  Calls for significant and predictable financial instruments to be developed within the framework of the EU's policies in order to help developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to reduce GHG emissions as well as deforestation and forest degradation; recalls the need for closer critical monitoring of the real impact of existing and future climate-related financial instruments on developing countries; considers that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) should be reformed in order to deliver its full potential during the 2008-2012 commitment period;

21.  Stresses that a "greening" of the EU's development policy and aid is necessary and urgent, and should be implemented without contradicting the EU's environment and climate-change policies; regrets the very slow progress in this area and calls on the EU's leadership to make climate-change mitigation and adaptation key priorities within EU development cooperation policies;

22.  Stresses that, in order to maintain the credibility of the Bali Action Plan, industrialised countries must, as a matter of urgency, enter into climate partnerships with major emerging economies such as China and India with a view to promoting close cooperation on energy policy reform, capacity building, support to investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon technology;

23.  Regrets that it was not possible to include a clear reference to the need to agree on binding emission cuts in aviation and maritime transport; notes that the Bali mandate does not exclude binding measures for aviation and maritime transport; reiterates its call for aviation and maritime transport emissions to be included in international GHG reduction commitments for the post-2012 period under the auspices of the UNFCCC, as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have not proved efficient in dealing with the issue;

24.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that all major sectors involved in international trade are engaged in all worldwide climate commitments and benchmarks, in order to guarantee that the global target for climate change is achieved and to prevent the global distortion of competition;

25.  Calls for an urgent review of EU biofuels policy, with particular emphasis on the life-cycle sustainability of each biofuel in terms of GHG reductions; underlines that developing and implementing biofuel strategies as an energy option should take fully into account for, and safeguard against, any associated negative environmental, social and economic impact; calls on the Commission, therefore, to propose robust standards and clear criteria for biofuel production;

26.  Underlines that Parliament is looking forward to the report by the Commission and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy on the consequences of climate change for international security, as requested by the Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 21-22 June 2007; stresses that special emphasis must be placed on key areas such as mitigation, adaptation and the mainstreaming of climate change in all policies, as climate change could be a major cause of destabilisation of the poorest countries;

27.  Conscious of the magnitude of the challenge for the upcoming negotiations, insists that climate policy must become a key priority and component in all of the EU's external relations with third countries, regional conventions and economic organisations; furthermore, calls on the four Presidencies (Slovenia, France, the Czech Republic and Sweden) in 2008 and 2009 to keep Parliament informed of their objectives regarding climate policy, and to report regularly, together with the Commission, on progress made in the negotiations;

28.  Urges the Commission to explore, as long as a level playing-field does not exist, possibilities for industry to enhance its economic opportunities by developing an innovative "climate-friendly" industry; calls, therefore, for consideration to be given in the WTO to introducing temporary measures that favour the manufacture and export of climate-friendly products and innovative technology;

29.  Calls for all of its relevant standing and temporary committees and delegations to work closely together on climate change, so as to guarantee a coherent and coordinated approach in all its policies, namely, environmental, industrial, energy and transport, agriculture, research and development and, in particular, trade and investment policy, as well as other initiatives with regard to climate-change targets; calls for climate-change issues to be regularly raised at interparliamentary delegation level and in the context of the Transatlantic Legislative Dialogue;

30.  Recognises that the credibility of EU negotiations relies on the success of Europe's domestic reduction efforts and on the development and transfer of low-carbon technologies to other countries; calls, therefore, for the adoption at all levels – local, national and European – of policies and measures which will ensure that the EU achieves domestic reductions in GHG emissions of at least of 30% from their 1990 level by 2020, provided that other industrialised countries commit themselves to similar GHG emission reductions and that more economically advanced developing countries make a contribution commensurate with their responsibilities and respective capacities; 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; calls for the adoption of policies and measures that will support the spending of more funds at both national and EU level on R&D and innovation in GHG reduction;

31.  Calls on the EU to use its power and influence, as a major actor in the international arena and as a partner of the developing world, in order to introduce coherent climate-change objectives at international level;

32.  Emphasises the historical responsibility of mainly industrialised countries as foremost producers of GHG emissions, and therefore calls on them to make a greater commitment to avoiding and limiting the natural disasters and social unrest which are bound to follow unless global warming is limited;

33.  Notes the initiative taken by the US administration to convene a further five meetings of the world's major emitters; calls on the Commission and the Member States concerned to make their participation conditional on concrete proposals from the hosts for short-term emission reduction targets which are consistent with the aims and objectives of the UNFCCC; calls for the world's major emitters to coordinate their efforts with those of the UNFCCC;

34.  Notes that the above-mentioned Conference/Meeting of the Parties to be held in Poznan will take place simultaneously with the European Council; calls on the Council to reschedule the European Council in order to enable Heads of State and Heads of Government to attend the COP/MOP and to ensure that the COP/MOP receives the full attention of governments;

35.  Is convinced that, if the above objectives are to be attained, it will be necessary to involve the media, whose role will be vital in creating the necessary mass awareness of the climate changes to come in the short and medium term;

36.  Believes, in line with what was discussed at the Bali Conference with parliamentary representatives from all over the world, that Parliament can and should play an important role as coordinator of a permanent interparliamentary forum on climate change; calls, therefore, on its own relevant bodies to consider this possibility;

37.  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 to the UNFCCC and to observers associated with it.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0537.

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