Réflexion avant l’ouverture de Bali (Marie-Sophie Bock-Digne)
Europe on the move against global warming
The UN climate change conference from 3 to 14 December in Bali, Indonesia must agree to launch negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious global climate change agreement for the period after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends.
This is the key objective of the Commission and EU member states following the alarming assessment of current and future climate change recently completed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The European Union is at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change and has played a key role in the development of the two major treaties addressing the issue, the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997.
The EU has been taking serious steps to address its own greenhouse gas emissions since the early 1990s.
In March 2000 the Commission launched the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP). The ECCP has led to the adoption of a wide range of new policies and measures.
Among these is the pioneering EU Emissions Trading Scheme, launched on 1 January 2005, which has become the cornerstone of EU efforts to reduce emissions cost-effectively.
Monitoring data and projections indicate that the 15 European Union members at the time of the EU’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 (EU-15) will reach their Kyoto Protocol target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This requires emissions in 2008-2012 to be 8% below 1990 levels.
However, Kyoto was only the first step.
Ambitious action to reduce global emissions is needed after 2012, when Kyoto’s targets expire, in order to limit global warming to 2°C.
In January 2007 the European Commission set out proposals and options for achieving this in its Communication « Limiting Global Climate Change to 2 degrees Celsius:
The way ahead for 2020 and beyond » The key targets in the Communication, as well as the broad thrust of the integrated energy and climate change strategy of which it forms part, were endorsed by EU leaders at their summit in Brussels on 8-9 March 2007.
The European Commission (1) established the ECCP in 2000 to help identify the most environmentally effective and most cost-effective policies and measures that can be taken at European level to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The immediate goal is to help ensure that the EU meets its target for reducing emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. This requires the 15 countries that were EU members before 2004 to cut their combined emissions of greenhouse gases to 8% below the 1990 level by 2012.
The ECCP builds on existing emissions-related activities at EU level, for instance in the field of renewable energy and energy demand management.
It also dovetails with the EU’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme (2002-2012),
which forms the strategic framework for EU environmental action and includes climate change among its four top priorities, as well as the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy.
The ECCP is a multi-stakeholder consultative process that has brought together all relevant players, such as the Commission, national experts, industry and the NGO community. Stakeholder involvement is an essential element of the ECCP because it enables the programme to draw on a broad spectrum of expertise and helps to build consensus, thereby facilitating the implementation of the resulting policies and measures.
The first ECCP examined an extensive range of policy sectors and instruments with potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Coordinated by an ECCP Steering Committee, 11 working groups were established covering the following areas:
• Flexible mechanisms: emissions trading
• Energy supply
• Energy demand
• Energy efficiency in end-use equipment and industrial processes
• Industry (sub-groups were established on fluorinated gases,
renewable raw materials and voluntary agreements)
• Sinks in agricultural soils
• Forest-related sinks
Each working group identified options and potential for reducing emissions based on cost-effectiveness. The impact on other policy areas was also taken into account, including
ancillary benefits, for instance in terms of energy security and air quality.
One of the most important and innovative initiatives is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which covers carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from some 11,500 heavy emitters in the power generation and manufacturing sectors.
Progress towards meeting the EU’s Kyoto commitment
The EU’s greenhouse gas emissions have been falling thanks to the combined
– impact of policies and measures resulting from the first ECCP,
– domestic action taken by Member States and the restructuring of European industry, particularly in central and eastern Europe.
By 2003, combined emissions from today’s 25 Member States (EU-25) were down 8 %
compared to their levels in the respective base years (mostly 1990).
Emissions from the 15 ‘old’ Member States (EU-15) had fallen by 1.7%, or 2.9% averaged over 1999-2003.
Latest projections show that additional domestic policies and measures planned by Member States but not yet implemented will take the reduction in EU-15 emissions to 6.8% below 1990 levels by 2010.
The EU is convinced that strong global action to combat climate change will continue to be needed after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol’s targets are due to have been met.
It therefore favours an early start to negotiations on an international climate regime
for the post-2012 period.
In a policy document published in early 2005 the Commission outlined the key elements
that a post-2012 regime will need to incorporate.
The Commission wants to see
– participation by all major emitters and economic sectors,
– greater innovation in emissions-saving technologies,
– continued use of cost-effective market-based instruments
– and the implementation of strategies for adapting to the level of climate change that is already unavoidable.
Many of the EU policies and measures now in place will be important for cutting greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012. It is already foreseen, for example, that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will continue in five-year periods after 2012.
But it is also clear that deeper emissions cuts will be needed after 2012 if the international community is to win the battle against climate change, and further EU policies and measures will be required to achieve these.
Consequently the Commission has initiated the Second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II).
The Second European Climate Change Programme (2005- )
ECCP II was launched in October 2005 at a major stakeholder conference in Brussels.
It will explore further cost-effective options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in synergy with the EU’s ‘Lisbon strategy’ for increasing economic growth and job creation.
New working groups have been established, covering
– carbon capture and geological storage,
– CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles,
– emissions from aviation,
– and adaptation to the effects of climate change.
The aviation group will focus on the technical aspects of bringing aircraft emissions
into the Emissions Trading Scheme, which the Commission considers the most promising way to tackle the rapid growth in emissions from this sector.
One working group will also assess the implementation of the ECCP I policies and measures in the Member States and their effects in terms of emission reductions.
This will feed into a broader ECCP I review process and give guidance to the Commission
and the Member States on any supplementary efforts that may be needed to meet the EU’s Kyoto commitment.
(1) The European Commission is the sole body that has the right of initiative
in proposing and drafting EU legislation, and it is responsible for ensuring
its correct implementation after adoption. Environmental legislation must be
adopted by the Council of Ministers, which represents the 25 EU Member States,
and the European Parliament, which is made up of 732 directly elected deputies
from all Member States.
Source : http://ec.europa.eu/