Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Climate change: EU Council’s decision on the energy package and Poznan Conference

Source: EU News, Issue 8, November/December 2008

While delegates from all over the world were debating at the 14th Conference of parties of the UNFCCC adopted a roadmap for the negotiations that should lead to a post Kyoto agreement in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, the European Heads of States reached a compromise on the EU “Energy package” in Brussels.
The proposal to share post-2012 greenhouse gas reductions between EU countries, known as ‘Effort Sharing’, is one of the key elements of EU action against climate change. It sets the reduction targets for sectors not covered by emissions trading, such as agriculture, transport and households representing 55% of EU emissions.
The Council adopted a target of 20 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and confirmed the EU's commitment to increasing this reduction to 30 % within the framework of an ambitious and comprehensive global agreement in Copenhagen … on condition that the other developed countries undertake to achieve comparable emission reductions and that the economically more advanced developing countries make a contribution commensurate with their respective responsibilities and capabilities.

The second key decision taken by the EU Council relates to the emission permit trading system (ETS) proposed by the Commission and reflects the strong lobby of EU industry. The Directive will lay down quantitative criteria making it possible to establish by 2009 a list of the sectors and subsectors exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage (due to competitive advantage for production in countries where no emission permits have to be purchased). Installations in sectors or sub-sectors which are exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage will be allocated 100 % of allowances free of charge. For other sectors, the auctioning rate to be reached in 2020 is set at 70 %, with a view to reaching 100% in 2027, bearing in mind that the initial level in 2013 is set at 20 %. The proportion to be auctioned in the energy sector will, as a general rule, be 100 % by 2013. Derogations of limited scope in size and duration will however be granted when justified by specific situations.
Moreover, there is no binding commitment with regard to the utilisation of auctioning revenues; Member States will determine the use of revenues generated and the Council takes note of their willingness to use at least half of this amount for actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“In the context of an international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009, and for those who wish so, part of this amount will be used to enable and finance actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change in developing countries that will have ratified this agreement, in particular in least developed countries. Further steps are to be taken at the Spring 2009 European Council in this regard."
Note that the report of Avril Doyle to be voted in European Parliament this week is much stronger on that point with the following amendment: At least 50% of the revenues generated from the auctioning of allowances shall be used in a dedicated international fund (a quarter for REDD, a quarter for mitigation and a half for adaptation measures in developing countries).

The European Parliament will adopt its reports on the EU energy package at its next plenary session (15 to 18 December) and both institutions hope that this will close the process of co-decision. Agreement between Council and Parliament has already been reached on CO2 emissions from cars (Sacconi report), monitoring and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from fuels (Corbey report) and on the Renewables Directive (Turmes report) which foresees that the share of renewable energy will reach 20% by 2020. Agreement has still to be reached on two key reports: Doyle report on ETS and Satu Hassi report on effort sharing.

The High Representative on CFSP, Javier Solana recently presented his recommendations and a joint report with the European Commission on security implications of climate change. The report lists the security and political instability risks in different regions of the globe and suggest to tackle these risks through proper analysis and monitoring at regional level, supporting early warning mechanisms and intensifying dialogue between and with third countries and regional and multilateral organisations.

The CIDSE-Caritas campaign for climate justice was launched on Sunday 7th December in Poznan with a Holy Mass dedicated to the campaign and to environmental justice, organized with Caritas Poland and with the participation of the Bishop Chairman of Caritas Bangladesh, and the Indian partner organization Laya. Through this campaign both networks will push for the new global climate change deal to be agreed in Copenhagen in December 2009 to be effective, equitable and socially just. By now, 90 Catholic Bishops from the south and the north have signed a statement in support of the campaign. In addition to the launch of the public campaign, policy staff from CIDSE were in Poznan to follow the negotiations. They met with a number of EU Member State delegations, with the delegation of the European Parliament, and with the Commission, sharing CIDSE's new policy paper Development and Climate Justice.

The Poznan conference was also the occasion for APRODEV members to launch their joint campaign, “Countdown to Co2penhagen, time to make a difference” with the possibility for supporters to sign a national or an international pledge on internet. The campaign was highly visible in Poznan with demonstrators wearing big clock suits and a high-level climate justice panel debate organised on the spot. Note as well that a joint letter of Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden and Chair of the EKD Council was addressed to Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the European Summit (available on request). See also on the APRODEV lobbying points for Poznan.
EU Council conclusions on the Energy package available here.
Outcome of the COP14 in Poznan available here.
See also CAN-Europe website and EC website on climate change.

See also Euforic's newsfeeds on the climate change, CIDSE and APRODEV