BRUSSELS--The U.N. climate summit that begins in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 26
should adopt a decision identifying the “mitigation gap” between current
greenhouse gas emissions and safe levels, which must be closed if global warming
is to be kept to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial
levels, according to a European Parliament resolution approved Nov. 22.
The gap should then be continuously monitored while measures are developed to
help close it, such as the phaseout of fossil fuel subsidies, the resolution
said. European Parliament lawmakers adopted the resolution by a 485-109 vote at
a plenary sitting in Strasbourg, France.
The resolution said a “mitigation gap” decision should be part of an effort
by countries to do far more than has been pledged in the short term to cut their
emissions, because “the effects of climate change are more rapid and more
pronounced than previously predicted.”
The International Energy Agency considers an increase of 2 C to be a
threshold beyond which catastrophic climate events will become more likely.
The “pledge and review” system for emissions reductions that was introduced
at the 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen should be reconsidered because it
“will not bring about the fundamental changes needed in order to fight climate
change in the long run,” the resolution said.
The main outcome of the Copenhagen summit was the Copenhagen Accord, to which
countries’ emissions reduction pledges are appended, and which stated that
implementation of the pledges would be assessed by 2015.
The resolution expressed the European Parliament’s position ahead of the 18th
Conference of the Parties (COP-18) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate
Change, which will take place in Doha Nov. 26-Dec. 7.
The European Union will be represented at the summit by negotiators from the
European Commission and Cyprus, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU
Council, the EU body that represents the governments of member states.
Beyond calling for identification and monitoring of the mitigation gap, the
European Parliament’s resolution largely repeated resolutions adopted before
previous U.N. summits. For example, it backed a reform of the U.N. Clean
Development Mechanism and called on the European Union to raise its own
emissions reduction target to 30 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
A 30 percent target would be “in the EU’s own interest” because it would
create green jobs and reduce fossil fuel imports, the resolution said.
The resolution also endorsed the strategy adopted at the 2011 COP-17 meeting
in South Africa that the Kyoto Protocol should continue beyond 2012 for an
interim period until a new global deal is concluded and renewed emissions
reduction obligations can come into force by 2020.
Karl-Heinz Florenz, a German center-right lawmaker and prominent member of
the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, said that “so far, Kyoto 2 is
no more than an empty casing. We need to fill it with concrete pledges, set a
robust framework and must strive to get other partners to sign up to it.” A
number of countries have said they will not participate in a second commitment
The EU Council stated its position for the Doha conference in October. It
reaffirmed that the bloc would back a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period,
would push for a broader international deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol to be
agreed on by 2015 so that it can go into force by 2020, and would seek to make
progress on measures approved in Durban.
By Stephen Gardner
The European Parliament resolution on the Doha climate conference is
available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=phey-92bnqq
starting on Page 116.