The UN climate conference in Cancun (COP16) concluded today with agreements, which will enable the UNFCCC negotiations to continue working towards a binding climate deal in South Africa next year. The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament described the outcome as progress but underlined the need for a speed-up of global climate diplomacy. Commenting on the outcome from Cancun, Green MEP Satu Hassi said:
"Today's agreement is clearly better than had seemed possible earlier in the week but clearly still falls far short of what is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change. The decisions acknowledge some of what needs to be done to prevent an increase of global temperature of 2°C or more. However, it is also clear that there remains a major gap between the pledged climate action of UNFCCC parties and the 2°C goal. The snail's pace at which the UN climate talks are progressing is extremely concerning given the urgency with which climate action is needed.
"Clearly, the negotiations are languishing dangerously but we should be under no illusion: the responsibility for this piecemeal progress lies squarely with the politicians and not the process. This is particularly true of those countries who are serial offenders in blocking progress (like the US but also some emerging economies)."
Green MEP and European Parliament draftsman on increasing the EU emissions reduction target Bas Eickhout added:
"Europe needs to move forward with the vast majority of other parties, which do want to take collective action to fight climate change under the UN umbrella. EU governments must also now stop hiding behind the UN negotiations in order to delay more ambitious domestic climate policies. The EU must step up its emissions reduction target to at least 30% by 2020 also in order to maintain leadership in green innovation on which our future prosperity and jobs will depend.
"The decisions reached today on important issues like how to tackle deforestation (REDD+), technology transfer, a climate fund and adaptation are naturally to be welcomed but it is all moving too slow. The negotiating train remains on the tracks but, without an urgent increase in the speed of the talks, it risks arriving at the station far too late."