France welcomes EU progress on climate deal

European Union – Climate/European Council of Environment Ministers – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition

Paris, 13 October 2017

Nicolas Hulot, Ministre d’Etat, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, welcomes the results of the European Council of Environment Ministers, which enabled progress to be made on implementing the Paris climate agreement.

Prior to COP21 in December 2015, the European Union pledged, through its heads of state and government, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Since then, on the basis of proposals by the European Commission, the member states have been working to translate this commitment into European Union law.

The goal of the Environment Council of 13 October 2017 was to reach an agreement on sharing this effort among the European Union countries, in relation to greenhouse gas emissions not covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

France – which signalled a new ambition for combating climate change in its climate plan in July 2017 – supported proposals to increase the European Union’s level of ambition in all the discussions, including at the Council.

The final compromise, adopted at the Environment Council, enabled binding targets to be determined for each member state in sectors not covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

France has adopted a 37% emissions reduction target, in line with the commitments our country made in the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act. It is one of the most ambitious targets among the various EU member states.

For Nicolas Hulot, “this compromise is good news: it demonstrates our determination to incorporate the commitments made at COP21 into European Union law. Europe is thus confirming its determination to implement the Paris Agreement, while some of our partners attack climate policies”.

The discussions will now continue with the European Parliament, with a view to a final agreement that will have to be adopted swiftly. Nicolas Hulot explains: “France is aware that the European Union still has more to do, because the targets we adopted collectively in Paris are not sufficient to make us capable of keeping global warming below 2ºC. We’re going to work tirelessly to persuade our partners that we must now aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, which may be a tremendous opportunity for Europe in terms of health, employment and industrial policies. In the face of a compromise which some might regard as insufficient, we’re going to prove that ambition is the solution.”

During the Environment Council, Nicolas Hulot also asked the European Commission to work quickly on proposals to better protect European citizens from chemical pollution and endocrine disruptors, and to reform agencies specializing in chemical substances. For Nicolas Hulot, “Europe has a duty to protect its citizens; it’s central to the plan for a united and mutually-supportive Europe which the French President and I promote.” The proposal was supported by seven member states, including Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Italy./.

Published on 20/10/2017

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