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Brussels, 13 December 2008

Climate change: Commission welcomes outcome of Poznań conference

The European Commission welcomes the results of the UN climate change conference which ended today in Poznań, Poland. The conference kept on track the international process to conclude a new global climate agreement at the end of next year in Copenhagen. It took a series of decisions including work programmes for 2009 which will accelerate the negotiations. Parties also reached a solution to make operational the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund for developing countries. The climate and energy package agreed at the Brussels summit on Friday attracted considerable attention at the conference.

“Poznań has proved a useful staging post on the way to the Copenhagen conference a year from now, when the world must conclude an ambitious new global climate agreement for the post-2012 period,” European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. “The growing consensus over the past 10 days, including on developing a shared vision for the new global agreement, is encouraging, but there is still a huge amount of work ahead of us to reach a satisfactory agreement in Copenhagen. I very much welcome the solution to the legal problems surrounding the Adaptation Fund which means developing countries can now start to receive funding.”

Commissioner Dimas added: “The agreement at the Brussels summit sets an example to the rest of the world that moving towards a low-carbon society is fully compatible with continued prosperity. We now have the measures to deliver on our commitment to cut emissions 20% by 2020. But this can be only a first step. The latest science is telling us that developed countries as a group must reduce their emissions 30% by 2020 to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous proportions. The EU is committed to a 30% cut if other developed countries commit to comparable reductions under the Copenhagen agreement. This is what we have been arguing for in Poznań and what we will continue to argue for all the way to Copenhagen. It is now time for our partners in the developed world to put forward ambitious emission targets and join us in leadership.”

Future global agreement

The conference agreed solid work programmes on future action which maps out negotiations for the year leading up to Copenhagen. They mean that a draft text of a new global agreement must be tabled by June. Developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol are required to put forward their targets for limiting or reducing emissions by the next negotiating session at the end of March. Four sessions are scheduled over the year but further meeting time could be added as needed.

Progress was made towards developing a shared vision of the future agreement through the organisation of a workshop and an informal ministerial round table on 11 December during the high-level segment of the conference.

Adaptation Fund

The Adaptation Fund has been created to finance adaptation projects in developing countries, which are acknowledged to be especially vulnerable to climate change. However its start-up has been held up by legal difficulties over practical application of the principle agreed last year that developing countries should have direct access to funding, which has raised concerns regarding oversight of how the funds are spent. The solution reached clears the way for developing countries to start receiving project funding to strengthen their resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change. The Fund is financed through a 2% levy on the sale of emission credits generated by emission-saving projects undertaken in developing countries under the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Clean Development Mechanism

The EU succeeded in getting agreement on a number of improvements to the CDM which can be implemented in the short term. They include measures to strengthen the CDM’s environmental integrity and the transparency of its decision-making and to improve the quality of work done by project verifiers.

Review of the Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was reviewed by the conference but no conclusions could be agreed. This meant that a number of further improvements to the CDM that had been agreed were not adopted.

Reducing emissions from deforestation

Deforestation in the tropics is responsible for almost 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions and it is widely recognised that this source must be addressed by the Copenhagen agreement. In Poznań, consensus was reached on a 2009 programme of work on methodological issues which are crucial for underpinning a future regime to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, a process known as REDD.

However, there was little progress on the substance of the future regime. This led to a group of developed and key tropical developing countries issuing a joint ministerial declaration committing themselves to early action on REDD. The declaration was endorsed by the European Commission (see IP/08/1965).

Technology Transfer

The Poznań Programme on Technology Transfer for developing countries was adopted, funded by €50 million of existing resources from the Global Environmental Facility.

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