Quick ratification of Paris agreement welcome, but EU now needs to translate words into action

Published: 4th October 2016

Today, the European Parliament’s has given its consent to ratify the Paris climate agreement at EU level. Reacting to this vote, Oxfam’s Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said:

“It is welcome news that the European Union is speeding up the ratification of the Paris climate agreement. The EU and its member states have now to make sure that all their policies respect the terms and the spirit of the Paris agreement. This is a credibility test for the commitment of governments to protect people and the planet from global warming.

“The Paris agreement sets the goal to limit global warming to less than 1.5° Celsius. But the EU’s current commitments don’t even limit the temperature increase below 2°, let alone 1.5°.

“Some policies, such as the EU bioenergy policy, put Europe on a collision course with the Paris agreement and its commitments on sustainable development. The global goal to end hunger for instance cannot be achieved if the EU continues its support for unsustainable bioenergy which not only leads to higher emissions, but also requires large chunks of land, threatening the livelihoods of people in developing countries.”

Notes to editors

  • The Paris climate agreement needs at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, to ratify it before going into effect. The UN tracks the countries that have ratified it here. As of Tuesday, 12:00 CEST, 62 parties have ratified, representing 51.89% of global emissions.
  • EU environment ministers agreed on a fast-track ratification for the EU on Friday. Following today’s special vote of the European Parliament, the Council if the EU – i.e. member states – can formally adopt the decision via an urgent written procedure. That way the EU, together with the seven member states that have completed the ratification process, can deposit the ratification instruments at the UN this week.
  • The following seven member states have completed their national ratification processes so far: Hungary, France, Slovakia, Austria, Malta, Portugal and Germany. These seven member states account for some 5% of global emissions.
  • The humanitarian crisis induced by a climate-supercharged el Niño is showing that climate change is a brutal reality for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. There is an urgent and rising need for financial support to adapt to climate extremes, but the international support for adaptation falls short of what is required.
  • Oxfam advocates for the EU to increase funding for international climate action, but not only by relying on limited development aid funds to do so. We believe that the revision of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) should include setting aside part of the revenues in an International Climate Action Fund as a way to raise the additional funds needed for an effective and fair fight against dangerous climate change.
  • The EU has also an opportunity to show support for those most in need in the discussions of a roadmap for the USD 100 billion commitment for climate finance to be agreed at COP22 in Morocco next month.

Contact information

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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