MEPs call for strong EU line ahead of Durban climate talks

European Parliament MEPs said the EU must come up with a clear strategy for the UN summit on climate change in Durban at the end of the year. In a discussion 7 November, Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said, “Durban is an important opportunity to progress, but it’s not the end of the road”.

During the debate, Environment Committee chair Jo Leinen, who also chairs the EP delegation to the UN COP 17 Summit in Durban, wondered what the EU will propose to the summit, while committee vice-chair Karl-Heinz Florenz said the EU’s past intentions were good but didn’t go far enough. He asked if the EU has a practical strategy for climate change.

The EU has to be in a position to define a clear road-map and a time line, Hedegaard said, but the EU alone doesn’t have the answer for climate change, it’s urgent to find a common ambitious global solution. “Green and growth” go together as key priorities for the Commission, she added.

Vote in EP November

In a resolution, adopted by the committee on 26 October, to be voted in plenary in November, the EP says the EU should give “public and unequivocal” support to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets out legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in order to avoid any gap after the current phase expires at the end of 2012.It also calls on the EU to go beyond its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020 and says new measures are needed to curb aviation and marine emissions (which are excluded from the Kyoto protocol). MEPs want aviation to be included in the EU emissions trading system from 1 January 2012.

Durban meeting

The EP will send a delegation to the COP 17 Durban climate talks, which take place from 28 November to 9 December in South Africa.

COP 17 is the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. All governments that are party to the Convention are represented at the COP where they review and promote the implementation of the Convention.

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