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Procedure : 2011/2726(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0474/2011

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PV 13/09/2011 - 20
CRE 13/09/2011 - 20

Votes :

PV 14/09/2011 - 7.4
CRE 14/09/2011 - 7.4
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Explanations of votes

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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - Strasbourg
A comprehensive approach to non-CO2 climate-relevant anthropogenic emissions

European Parliament resolution of 14 September 2011 on a comprehensive approach to non-CO2 climate-relevant anthropogenic emissions

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer,

–  having regard to the EU climate and energy package of December 2008, and Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases,

–  having regard to Commission Communications such as COM(2010)0265 presenting an analysis of the options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage, COM(2010) 0086 on international climate policy post-Copenhagen: acting now to reinvigorate global action on climate change, and COM(2011)0112 presenting a roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions regarding climate change, and in particular those of 4 February 2009 on 2050: the future begins today – recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change(1), of 10 February 2010 on the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP15)(2) and of 25 November 2010 on the climate change conference in Cancun (COP16)(3),

–  having regard to Oral Question (O-000135/2011 – B7-0418/2011) by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety tabled pursuant to Rule 115 of its Rules of Procedure, and having regard to the statements by the Council and the Commission,

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the scientific evidence of climate change and its impacts is unequivocal, making fast, coordinated and ambitious action at European and international level an imperative in order to meet this global challenge,

B.  whereas the objective of limiting the overall global annual mean surface temperature increase to 2ºC (‘the 2ºC objective’) became an international one after the Cancun agreements in COP16,

C.  whereas the GHG emissions responsible for global warming are only partly covered by the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, i.e. carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), while some other halocarbons with strong warming potential are covered by the Montreal Protocol due to their ozone-depleting potential,

D.  whereas the GHGs differ in their warming influence (expressed as radiative forcing in Watts per square meter) on the global climate system due to their different radiative properties and lifetimes in the atmosphere; whereas according to the 2007 IPCC 4AR, these warming influences are 1.66W/m2 for CO2, 0.48W/m2 for CH4, 0.16W/m2 for N2O and 0.35W/m2 for the halocarbons,

E.  whereas pollutant gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), methane, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) form ozone in the initial 10–15 km above the ground (troposphere); whereas because of the large increase in methane, CO, VOCs, and NOx since the preindustrial era, tropospheric ozone has increased by about 30%, and its contribution to global warming is as much as 20% of that due to CO2 (0.36W/m2),

F.  whereas black carbon (or soot), which is an aerosol and is among the particle components emitted from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, causes global warming in two ways; in the atmosphere absorbs solar radiation, which heats the surrounding air, while its airborne deposition can darken snow and ice and accelerate melting (0.10W/m2),

G.  whereas failing to meet the 2ºC objective will have enormous environmental impacts and economic costs, among others, increasing the likelihood of reaching tipping points where temperature levels begin to force the release of CO2 and CH4 from sinks such as forests and permafrost, and limit the ability of nature to absorb carbon in the oceans,

H.  whereas the Montreal Protocol has made large contributions towards reducing global GHGs according to the UNEP/WMO Scientific Assessment Panel Report 2010; whereas in 2010, the decrease in annual ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) emissions under the Montreal Protocol is estimated to be about 10 Gigatonnes of avoided CO2-equivalent emissions per year, which is about five times larger than the annual emissions reduction target for the first commitment period (2008–2012) of the Kyoto Protocol,

I.  whereas the Commission is currently reviewing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases,

1.  Notes that European and international climate policies have focused primarily on long-term reductions in CO2 emissions, for example, through increased energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and other low-carbon strategies;

2.  Calls for a comprehensive European climate policy which can benefit from considering all sources of warming and all mitigation options; stresses that in addition to considering CO2 emission reductions, it should place emphasis on strategies that can produce the fastest climate response;

3.  Notes that fast-action regulatory strategies are available to phase down production and consumption of HFCs and to reduce emissions of black carbon and the gases leading to the formation of tropospheric ozone, and that these can begin within 2–3 years and be substantially implemented within 5–10 years, producing the desired climate response within decades or sooner, in particular for some HFCs at a public price as low as 5 to 10 cents per tonne, whereas the carbon price is currently over EUR 13 per tonne;

4.  Notes that domestic action on fluorinated gases in the shape of the F-Gas Regulation has fallen far short of expectations and that failure to address its shortcomings will weaken considerably the EU's UNFCCC negotiating position;

5.  Urges the Commission to come forward with a revision of F-gas regulations and make proposals for a rapid phase-down of the production and consumption of HFCs, accelerate the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in different products and applications, and recover and destroy stratospheric ozone-depleting GHGs in discarded products and equipment;

6.  Welcomes the European Union's commitment to support action on HFCs under the Montreal Protocol as a prime example of a non-market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at COP-17 in Durban;

7.  Notes that during the last meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, the Commission, as negotiator for the EU, supported the principle of the North American and Federated States of Micronesia's proposals to phase down HFCs and to destroy HFC-23 produced as a by-product, and that at the last conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Cancun the EU put forward a proposal for a decision that commits Parties to pursuing agreement on this issue under the Montreal Protocol without prejudice to the scope of the UNFCCC;

8.  Taking into account the recently identified misuse of HFC-23 credits through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), urges the Commission to explore ways to promote an immediate phase-down at international level through the successful Montreal Protocol rather than through the flexible mechanisms as part of the Kyoto Protocol;

9.  Urges immediate action towards the reduction of black carbon emissions as a fast-action method of halting glacial melting, giving priority to emissions that affect regions of snow and ice, including the Arctic, Greenland and the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers;

10.  Calls upon the EU to promote existing technologies that drastically reduce black carbon emissions; further urges the adoption of regulations banning slash-and-burn tactics in forests and enforcing stringent and regular vehicle emissions tests;

11.  Asks for rigorous global implementation of air pollution regulations and available technologies that can reduce NOx and CO emissions, which would reduce anthropogenic tropospheric ozone, a significant GHG;

12 Strongly urges the European Commission to inform the European Parliament of any actions it is taking in this direction and to make up for lost time by promptly introducing these policy options into the legislative process;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 67 E, 8.3.2010, p. 44.
(2) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p.25.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0442.

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