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The European power industry has strongly welcomed the outcome of the international climate change negotiations and the deal reached on Saturday, after two full weeks of intense negotiations. The COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in Paris, reached a global agreement to tackle climate change, an outcome which represents a major landmark in addressing this global challenge. In the Paris Agreement, adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), world leaders agreed to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2°C, in order to avoid dangerous climate change. “The Paris Agreement confirms the irreversible transition to a low carbon, safer and healthier world”, declared UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, following the adoption of the agreement.
Among the key measures in the Paris Agreement, global leaders have agreed:
- to peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century;
- to keep global temperature increase "well below" 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C;
- to review progress (upwards) every five years - a robust transparency and accountability system will track progress towards the long-term goal;
- $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
“We are delighted that the Paris Conference has delivered a truly international climate agreement and believe that this provides the necessary signal to governments, businesses and the general public of the universal commitment to fighting climate change,” said EURELECTRIC Secretary General, Hans ten Berge. “We expect the Paris Agreement to lead to a robust global climate change regime which considers national commitments in a dynamic way, reflecting the fact that national ambitions should be further strengthened as climate policies and technological advances create new and innovative opportunities for low carbon development.”
In the run-up to the Paris Conference, EURELECTRIC published a position paper in which it proposed 5 key recommendations for a successful outcome of the international negotiations. The paper voiced the industry’s call for the Conference to deliver an agreement for an ambitious and rules based climate change regime, which paves the way for a stable and predictable framework for policy and action. The European electricity sector strongly believes that decarbonisation is essential to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the global economy and is committed to leading this transition.
“We are happy to see that the Paris Agreement is fully in line with what we envisioned as a successful outcome of these negotiations”, said Hans ten Berge. “In particular, we strongly welcome the inclusion of positive provisions recognising the important role of markets in achieving the global low carbon transition. We believe that market based mechanisms, such as carbon markets, are the most effective tool for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating investments in low carbon technologies and energy efficiency.”
In a significant outcome for the supporters of carbon trading and the use of markets, the Paris Agreement includes several provisions that will allow Parties to cooperate in meeting their mitigation commitments as well as provisions for the establishment of a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development. The Agreement also states that these cooperative mechanisms will be supported by the adoption of robust accounting rules.