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European Law Monitor newsClimate change: Bali conference must launch negotiations and fix ´roadmap´ for new UN agreement

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). Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will participate in the high-level segment of the Bali conference from 12 to 14 December. This will be preceded on 8-9 December by a meeting of trade ministers on trade-related climate issues and on 10-11 December by a meeting of finance ministers on funding for low-carbon technologies.

"The scientific evidence of climate change highlighted by the IPCC is compelling and alarming," Commissioner Dimas said. "The only responsible reaction is to step up global efforts to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. That is why in Bali we must agree to launch negotiations on a global and comprehensive climate agreement and define a ´roadmap´ setting out its main components. The conference must also fix the end of 2009 as the deadline for completing the negotiations.

He added: "The goal of the future agreement must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 ºC above the pre-industrial temperature so we can prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change. The Bali meeting is a key opportunity to agree on this level of ambition to guide our negotiations over the next two years."

The EU´s position was agreed by the Council of environment ministers on 30 October. The EU proposes that a post-2012 climate agreement should contain eight key ´building blocks´:

* Limiting global warming to 2 ºC above the pre-industrial temperature. Respecting this limit will require global emissions to stop rising within the next 10 to 15 years and then be reduced to at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.
* Deeper mandatory absolute emissions reductions by developed countries. The EU is proposing that developed countries collectively reduce emissions 30% by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Pending agreement on this, the EU has made an independent commitment to reduce its own emissions by at least 20% by 2020. The Commission will propose a package of legislative measures to achieve this early in 2008.
* Fair and effective contributions by other countries, especially the rapidly emerging economies, that limit the emissions intensity of their economic growth;
* Strengthening and extending the global carbon market, including through innovative and enhanced flexible mechanisms. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has shown that the carbon market works.
* Increasing cooperation on research, development and deployment of the clean technologies needed to reduce emissions;
* Enhancing efforts to address adaptation to climate change. Cooperation to tackle the unavoidable impacts of climate change needs to be strengthened, particularly to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
* Addressing emissions from international aviation and shipping. The EU is already discussing the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS.
* Reducing emissions from deforestation, which is responsible for up to 20% of global CO2 emissions.

Discussions on post-2012 action on climate change were launched two years ago and the EU believes it is now imperative that this process be turned into concrete negotiations on a new global agreement.

One 'track' of these discussions has been an informal dialogue on long-term cooperative action among the 192 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This dialogue will formally end in Bali and the EU wants to see this followed up by a formal negotiating process covering all the building blocks of a future agreement. On a second, parallel track the 176 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are discussing new emission reduction targets for industrialised countries to succeed the 2008-2012 targets.

The 8-9 December meeting of trade ministers will be an important opportunity to address cross-cutting trade-related climate issues. The meeting of finance ministers on 10-11 December will focus attention on options for redirecting and scaling up global investment in low-carbon technologies. The EU is committed to doing more to mobilise the necessary finance, including through the expansion of the global carbon market and instruments such as the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF).

The Commission will also be promoting its initiative to build a Global Climate Change Alliance with the poorest developing countries, who will be the most affected by climate change but have the least capacity to cope with it (see IP/07/1352).


The Bali meeting comprises the13th conference of Parties (COP-13) to the UNFCCC and the 3rd Meeting of Parties (COP/MOP-3) to its Kyoto Protocol.

For the high-level segment the EU will be led by the 'Troika' comprising Portuguese Environment Minister Francisco Nunes Correia, Slovenian Environment Minister Janez Podobnik and Commissioner Dimas.

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