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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 4 June 2014

EU to set out major contribution to more ambitious global climate action at Bonn conference

The European Union will set out its contribution to raising the ambition of international climate action up to 2020 during UN climate change negotiations taking place from 4 to 15 June in Bonn, Germany. Though mainly at official level, the conference will include ministerial discussions on 5 and 6 June.

The 10-day meeting is an opportunity to make further progress towards a post-2020 global climate agreement which is to be finalised next year, as well as towards measures to step up international climate action before 2020. Such measures are needed to bridge a wide gap between countries’ current pledges to limit greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions needed to keep global warming below 2°C compared to the pre-industrial temperature.

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “Although we are already looking beyond the current decade it is also crucial to step up action before 2020. The EU will substantially over-achieve its pre-2020 Kyoto Protocol emission targets. This is thanks largely to over a decade of determined policy action by the EU and Member States. We are making a significant contribution to closing the 'ambition gap' between what the world needs to do and what countries intend to do by the end of this decade. The EU will now adopt its contribution to the post-2020 international climate deal by October. And we ask other major economies to come forward with concrete ways to step up their ambition.”

Yannis Maniatis, Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Greece, which currently holds the presidency of the EU Council, added: “This meeting needs to make solid progress towards agreeing on the information that countries should provide when they propose their contribution towards reducing emissions under the post-2020 agreement. Agreement on such information is essential to ensure that contributions are transparent and can be fully understood. Bonn must also prepare the ground for a decision on ways to step up pre-2020 global emission reductions. The EU wants decisions taken on both of these issues at the Lima climate conference in December.”

The ministerial-level roundtable on 5 June will focus on how to raise the ambition of climate action by developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol during the Protocol's second commitment period, which runs from 2013 to 2020. The 6 June ministerial dialogue will discuss the future global climate agreement as well as how to raise the ambition of pre-2020 action by all countries.

In the ministerial meetings the EU will share its experience of meeting and over-achieving its emission targets and set out its ideas on the design of the future global agreement.

Potential EU over-achievement of 5.5 billion tonnes by 2020

The EU has successfully broken the link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. While emissions were cut by 19% between 1990 and 2012, the EU economy grew by more than 44%. This reduced emissions per unit of GDP by almost half, making the EU one of the most energy-efficient economies in the world.

At the Kyoto Protocol roundtable the Union will show that, as a result, it over-achieved its official target in the Protocol’s first commitment period (2008-2012) by an estimated 4.2 billion tonnes (gigatonnes - Gt) of CO2-equivalent. The potential over-achievement in the second period is a further 1.3 Gt, with total greenhouse gas emissions from the EU and Iceland1 in 2020 projected to be around 24.5% below levels in the chosen base year (1990 in most cases).

The combined over-achievements from the first and second commitment periods would amount to an overall emissions saving by 2020 of 5.5 Gt in addition to what the EU and Iceland were required to do. This is equivalent to well over one year’s emissions: in 2012, emissions from the EU and Iceland totalled 4.55 Gt.

On top of this major contribution to bridging the ‘ambition gap’, the EU will make clear that its offer to increase its official greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020 from 20% to 30% if other major economies take comparable action remains on the table.

A priority for the EU in Bonn will be to make progress towards a decision at the Lima UN climate conference in December on concrete ways to step up the ambition of global climate action before 2020.

Information needed to clarify emission contributions

In discussions on the post-2020 climate agreement, an important focus of the Bonn meeting will be to advance work towards a consensus on the information that countries should provide when putting forward their proposed contributions to cutting emissions under the future agreement, so that contributions can be understood and reviewed.

The intention is to reach a decision on this information in Lima. All countries have agreed to put forward their contributions well before the December 2015 Paris conference at which the post-2020 agreement is due to be adopted, and by the first quarter of 2015 where possible.

EU press briefings

The EU will hold three press briefings in Bonn: on 4 June at 1400 CEST; on 6 June at 1430 CEST with Commissioner Hedegaard and Minister Maniatis; and on 15 June at 1400 CEST. The briefings will be web-streamed live and on demand at


For the press:

Isaac Valero Ladron (+32 2 296 49 71)

Mirna Bratoz (+32 2 298 72 78)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

1 :

The EU’s emission reduction commitment for the second Kyoto period will be fulfilled jointly with Iceland. The commitment calls for the combined greenhouse gas emissions of EU Member States and Iceland in 2013-2020 to average 20% below levels in the chosen base year (1990 in most cases). The EU’s offer of a 30% reduction if other major economies make comparable efforts forms part of the commitment and remains on the table.

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