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European Commission - Press release

Durban must deliver a roadmap for climate action by all major economies

Brussels, 24 November 2011 - The United Nations climate change conference starting on 28 November in Durban, South Africa, must agree on a roadmap and deadline for finalising an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding global framework for climate action by all major economies. Agreement on this roadmap is one of the reassurances the European Union requires for entering into a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Durban also needs to make operational the decisions taken last year in Cancún, Mexico, and tackle major issues not resolved there. It should result in a balanced package of decisions acceptable to all Parties.

The EU will report in Durban on its good progress in delivering on the €7.2 billion in "fast start" climate finance it has pledged to developing countries over the period 2010-12. Two-thirds of the total – €4.68 billion – has been mobilised to date.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "The EU is ready for a global treaty in Durban. But the reality is that other economies like the US and China are not. Let's be clear: The EU supports the Kyoto Protocol. But a second Kyoto period with only the EU, representing 11% of global emissions, is clearly not enough for the climate. This cannot constitute success in Durban. The key question is: when will others follow? Today's mutually interdependent world means global climate action from all. What is at stake at Durban is to go beyond Kyoto. So the EU could go for a second Kyoto period if we get reassurances from the other major emitters that they will follow. In Copenhagen leaders pledged to stay below 2 ° C. Now the time has come to show that they mean it''

Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, said: "The EU is open to a second Kyoto commitment period providing our conditions are met. In addition to agreement on a roadmap, Kyoto's environmental integrity should be enhanced and new market-based mechanisms established to help emerging economies cut emissions at least cost. Durban must also reach decisions that make operational last year's Cancun agreements and address a number of important gaps in them."

Please note that a video is embedded in the online version of this press release

Framework for future action

A key decision for the Durban ministerial conference is what should follow the Kyoto Protocol's "first commitment period" - the period in which developed countries (except the US, which has not ratified the Protocol) must meet their emission targets – covering 2008 to 2012.

The EU considers that an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding global climate framework which engages all major economies is urgently needed in order to keep global warming below 2°C compared with the temperature in pre-industrial times. This framework should be based on clear rules and preserve the essential elements of the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto is no longer sufficient on its own as it requires only developed countries to limit their emissions. Moreover, the US, Japan, Russia and Canada have said they will not join a second commitment period, so Kyoto is unlikely to cover more than 16% of global emissions after 2012.

As part of a transition to the wider international climate regime that is needed, the EU is open to a second Kyoto period on condition that agreement is reached on:

  • The roadmap and deadline for a comprehensive and legally binding global climate framework that should enter into force no later than 2020;

  • Strengthening Kyoto's environmental integrity through a robust accounting framework for forest management and through a solution to the issue of the surplus of emission budgets ("AAUs") from the first commitment period. This solution must be non discriminatory and preserves incentives for overachievement of emission targets;

  • Establishing one or more new market-based mechanisms in order to boost the development of a robust international carbon market.

Cancún follow-up

To accelerate climate action on the ground in the shorter term, Durban must also make operational the decisions taken at last year's conference in Cancún and address key issues that were left unresolved.

In particular guidelines to make operational an enhanced system of transparency must be adopted so that it will be clear whether countries are delivering on their emission pledges up to 2020. The EU also wants to see decisions taken that bring into operation the Green Climate Fund for financing climate action in developing countries and new institutions in the areas of technology and adaptation to climate change.

Cancún acknowledged that current emission pledges are collectively inadequate to keep warming below 2°C, so Durban must identify options to address this "ambition gap" and launch a process for discussing these over the coming year. In addition the conference must launch a work programme on agriculture and take action on emissions from international aviation and shipping. Action on aviation and shipping could play a significant role in raising future climate finance for developing countries.

EU press briefings in Durban

The EU delegation will hold regular press briefings which will be streamed both live and "on demand" at . Exact times of briefings can be checked at:

Further information:


DG CLIMA web page on Durban:

Contacts :

Isaac Valero Ladron (+32 2 296 49 71)

Stephanie Rhomberg (+32 2 298 72 78)

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