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Climate Action Network-Europe on Tianjin negotiations


After Tianjin, EU has work ahead for an ambitious outcome in Cancun

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – [Brussels, Tianjin - 9 October 2010] – This week in Tianjin, China, government delegates attended the last full session of climate negotiations before the 16th Conference of Parties (COP-16) to the UNFCCC [1] in Cancun in December, providing further clarity on what is necessary for a balanced package of decisions in Cancun.

This week, the EU put forward a proposal containing their own vision of what constitutes a balanced package in Cancun. [2] The EU proposal was helpful and, considering the difficult mandates the EU negotiators have from their Ministers and capitals back home, it did play a constructive role in Tianjin. Now we expect Ministers at next week’s Environment Council meeting to adopt ambitious policy positions to allow the EU to play an even more constructive role in these negotiations.

“The negotiations are at a critical juncture and while we can see a renewed efforts being made, the EU is still not putting forward positions that will help do its job to bridge the big divides that still exist on important issues. Simply identifying the issues is not enough to inspire a result,” said Ulriikka Aarnio, Senior Policy Officer for CAN Europe. [3]

The EU’s stance on the Kyoto protocol in Tianjin provides a good example of the EU showing strong leadership and creating positive results. A number of developed countries joined the EU in Tianjin in signaling their strong support for continuing the Kyoto Protocol with a second commitment period, something of vital importance to developing countries and hence to the outcome in Cancun. Other examples of what the EU could still do before Cancun to move things forward include shifting to a -30% emissions reduction target, delivering on its fast-start finance commitments and proposing constructive ideas on the establishment of a fair global climate fund that deliver results for poor people, as well as innovative mechanisms to raise the new and additional finance to fill it.

One of the most negative developments this week in Tianjin was, paradoxically, an issue where negotiations moved closer to agreement, specifically regarding accounting rules for forests and land-use (i.e., LULUCF). The option currently receiving the most support by governments is one of the worst on the table. If accepted, it would allow countries to use accounting tricks to hide up to half a gigatonne of emissions annually without penalty, equivalent to the annual emissions of Spain.

Forestry rules will represent a key debate for EU Environment Ministers at the Environment Council meeting on 14 October. European NGOs have two very simple asks in this area, which the most supported proposal does not meet. The first is that the forestry sector must also do its part in the global effort to reduce emissions, rather than contributing to the problem, and the second is that emissions are counted in an honest and transparent manner.

“We expect Environment Ministers to decide this week on ambitious and helpful EU positions to bring to Cancun. Negotiations are still in a rather fragile ‘post-Copenhagen’ state without clear leadership and direction,” Aarnio asserted. “With a bit more pro-active behaviour, the EU could do a lot more to help guide these negotiations toward an ambitious outcome.”

For more information:

- Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager, vanessa@climnet.org
- Ulriikka Aarnio, CAN Europe Senior Policy Officer (in China), ulriikka@climnet.org, +32 494 525 761

[1] UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
[2] EU, “Elements of a possible balanced package for Cancun”, October 2010. http://climnet.org/resources/external-documents/doc_download/1709-eus-cancun-building-blocks-proposal-oct-2010.html
[3] Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is a coalition of over 130 citizens’ organisations in Europe working to stop the most dangerous effects of climate change. CAN-Europe is the European node of CAN International, a worldwide network of over 500 environmental and development organisations committed to limiting human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. In Tianjin CAN International released a document outlining global NGOs’ vision for the set of agreements needed to come out of Cancun.

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