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IP/09/ 1867

Brussels, 2 December 2009

Copenhagen conference must produce global, ambitious and comprehensive agreement to avert dangerous climate change

The European Commission today underlined the crucial importance of reaching a global, ambitious and comprehensive climate agreement at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen on 7-18 December. The European Union will be working to achieve maximum progress towards finalisation of an ambitious and legally binding global climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013. The conference must settle the key political elements of the treaty and set up a process and mid-2010 deadline for completing the full text. The Copenhagen agreement must also incorporate a 'fast start' deal allowing for immediate implementation or preparation of certain actions, including financial assistance to least developed countries. Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will both participate in the conference, as will some 90 other world leaders.

President Barroso said: "In Copenhagen world leaders must take the bold decisions needed to stop climate change from reaching the dangerous and potentially catastrophic levels projected by the scientific community. We must seize this chance to keep global warming below 2°C before it is too late. But Copenhagen is also an historic opportunity to draw the roadmap to a global low-carbon society, and in so doing unleash a wave of innovation that can revitalise our economies through the creation of new, sustainable growth sectors and "green collar" jobs. The European Union has set the pace with our unilateral commitment to cut emissions 20% by 2020 and our climate financing proposals for developing countries. We will be ready to scale up our emission reduction to 30% provided our partners in both the developed and the developing world take on their fair share of the global effort."

Commissioner Dimas added: "I very much welcome that several major partners including the US and China have recently put concrete emission targets or actions on the table. The scientific evidence tells us that to keep global warming below 2°C, industrialised countries must cut their emissions to 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 while developing countries need to hold their emissions growth at some 15-30% below projected levels in 2020. However, the aggregate offers from developed countries still fall well short of the level of ambition needed, so I urge those countries with weak targets to improve them. Moreover a number of provisions in the current negotiating texts would have the effect of reducing developed countries' targets in practice. These provisions must be tightened up in Copenhagen. Ensuring the environmental integrity of the future treaty is of paramount importance to the EU."

International negotiations

International negotiations were launched at the end of 2007 to draw up a United Nations agreement on tackling climate change for the period after 2012, when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires. For the European Union, these negotiations must result in a comprehensive, ambitious, fair, science-based and legally binding global treaty.

Given the slow progress made in the negotiations to date, and a lack of consensus about the shape of the eventual agreement, it is now unlikely that the treaty can be finalised in Copenhagen as originally planned.

The EU's goal at the conference is therefore to make as much progress as possible towards a full treaty and to reach an ambitious and comprehensive political agreement covering all its key elements as well as a ‘fast start’ deal (see MEMO/09/534 ).

Copenhagen programme

For just over the first week of the conference, until 15 December, the negotiations will take place at official level. These will be followed, from 16 December until the end of the conference on 18 December, by a high-level segment. This will initially involve ministers and Commissioner Dimas, but from 17 December world leaders are invited to join them. More than 90 have already accepted, including President Barroso.

Commissioner Dimas will arrive in Copenhagen on 12 December to participate in an informal international ministerial meeting the next day hosted by Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister who will also chair the UN conference. Ms Hedegaard has been designated Commissioner for climate action in the next European Commission.

EU representation

The Swedish EU Presidency and the European Commission will be jointly responsible for negotiating on behalf of the EU in Copenhagen.

The EU ‘Troika’, comprising Sweden, the Commission and Spain (as the next EU Presidency), will hold daily press briefings at 1400. These will be streamed live and on demand on the website of the UN climate change convention at .

Further information:

The Copenhagen climate conference: key EU objectives: MEMO/09/534

EU press pack for Copenhagen:

Climate Action website :

DG Environment Copenhagen page:

Material for audiovisual media is available at

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