[Blog] European Council: Climate talks on the table
London, 20 March 2014
As the European Council starts today in Brussels, the crisis in Ukraine will no doubt dominate talks between EU member states. Recent developments in the region are a serious cause for concern and require the urgent attention of EU leaders. But also on the agenda for this week’s summit is energy and climate change, an ongoing priority for European governments as we work towards a low-carbon economy and a competitive, secure and renewable energy system.
France, along with its fellow 27 member states, is fully committed to meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2020 – the 20-20-20 goals for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy consumption and energy efficiency. Combating climate change has been an official national priority for France since 2001, and since then we have made a number of ambitious commitments to meet both European and international targets. France already has one of the lowest levels of per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any of the developed countries. Furthermore, our ecological and energy transition is also now under way, a major project not just involving industry but also transforming French society as a whole.
However, the scale of the task before us remains huge and there is much more to be done. France is committed to remaining at the forefront of international efforts to tackle climate change. In just under two years’ time, from 30 November to 11 December 2015, we are hosting the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21). Our goal for COP21 is to establish an internationally binding agreement on post-2020 emission reduction targets, and one that is ambitious enough to ensure global warming is limited to below 2°C. By the end of the meeting, we hope to see all the nations of the world – including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – bound by a universal agreement on climate for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations.
As we look ahead to COP21, one of our objectives for this week’s European Council is the discussion of a new set of EU energy and climate goals for 2030. We are pushing for ambitious new emissions and renewable energy targets for 2030, and alongside our European partners we hope to lay the groundwork for the important international discussions that lie ahead.
Bernard Emié, French Ambassador to the UK