EU Leadership or Losership?

Time to beat the impasse on climate talks

Published: 28 May 2009

The world, and most of all, its poor people, desperately needs a fair and safe climate deal to be agreed at the UN talks in Copenhagen in December. Climate change is already affecting the lives of people in the developing world. Increased floods and droughts; rising sea levels; changing patterns of rainfall; and falling crop yields are making it harder and harder for poor people to escape poverty.

When EU leaders meet for the European Summit on 18 and 19 June 2009, there will be just 172 days until Copenhagen. The absence of European leadership to help catalyse the global negotiations now is causing frustration and concern for all those who know that a global deal on climate change is vital to poverty reduction, justice, and the future of the planet.

The EU can and must put climate back at the top of its agenda now, if there is to be any hope of a deal in December. At its June EU summit, the EU's leaders must face up to the political challenge of the climate change talks and grasp the moment. At the June summit, the EU must:

  • Put forward a clear, specific figure on the adaptation and mitigation finance that developed countries should provide to developing countries as part of a deal at Copenhagen (i.e. a figure contingent on a deal). This would likely have to be of the order of at least €110bn annually.
  • Commit to providing Europe’s ‘fair share’ of this figure – Oxfam estimates this to be about one-third, based on responsibility and capability, conditional upon others also providing their fair share;
  • Commit to making its adaptation and mitigation finance offer genuinely additional to ODA targets and existing funding;
  • Put forward a clear, specific figure on the adaptation, forestry, and mitigation finance that developed countries should provide to developing countries as part of a deal at Copenhagen;
  • Specify the mechanisms it supports for raising funds, which could include a more binding commitment to ETS auction revenues;
  • Make substantial adaptation funds immediately available for use pre-2012; Least Developed Countries are currently calling for $2bn to be provided for urgent adaptation needs. This would show the EU recognises the impacts climate change has already had and the richer countries' responsibility for this, and build up much needed trust with developing countries;
  • Set out a clear position on governance of climate change finance, which must include support for a reformed system, and which moves away from donor-recipient mindsets and has the UN, and equal representation for developing countries, at its heart.
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