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José Manuel Durão Barroso President of the European Commission Speech by President Barroso at the Leaders' Dialogue on Climate Change United Nations General Assembly New York, 20 September 2011

European Commission - SPEECH/11/591   20/09/2011

Other available languages: none

SPEECH/11/591

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Speech by President Barroso at the Leaders' High Level Dialogue on Climate Change

Leaders' High Level Dialogue on Climate Change

New York, 20 September 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

let me first thank Presidents Calderón and Zuma. The fact that two leaders from key emerging nations have taken this important initiative shows that climate change is a global threat requiring a joint global response.

Last year's Cancun Agreements were significant. In Durban, we now need to take another step forward.

More than 90 countries - both developing and developed nations - have set domestic emissions targets. That is very positive, but clearly, we need to do much more to stay under the agreed ceiling of a 2°C temperature rise.

I see three major elements that are key to making Durban a success:

One: Make Cancún real.

It is essential for all Parties to implement the Cancún Agreements, for instance the Technology Mechanism.

Two: Tackle the Cancun leftovers: There are five key gaps we have to fill in Durban:

  • The ambition gap – current reduction pledges are only 60% of what is needed. We need more countries signed up, and tougher targets.

  • The transparency gap – we need stronger rules on "MRV" (Measurement, Reporting and Verification). Everyone has to be sure that countries are delivering on their commitments. Transparency and common, clear accounting rules are key for that.

  • The cost-efficiency gap – all emitters, including developing countries in line with their capacities, need new market mechanisms to make mitigation as cost-efficient as possible.

  • The coverage gap – we need to act in additional sectors like agriculture or international air and maritime transport.

  • The finance gap - Instruments that catalyse investment are an essential part of a future global agreement. The important work of G20 Finance Ministers should feed into the Durban discussions.

Finally we need to preserve the environmental integrity of Kyoto, with new conditions on forestry accounting rules, and on the surplus of emission rights from the first Kyoto period.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My third main point is:

A balanced Durban package must include all major emitters and a clear roadmap and timeline towards a new, comprehensive, robust and legally binding framework. Only a comprehensive deal will work.

Some call for the establishment of a second Kyoto period. However, several major emitters have made clear that they do not intend to commit to this.

The EU is willing to consider a second commitment period – but only as part of a broader package. A package that improves Kyoto rules; that creates new market mechanisms; and in which other major emitters also commit to doing their fair share.

Let's be very clear on this: a second Kyoto period will not work if only the EU signs up. With just 11% of global emissions, the EU alone cannot solve the problem of global warming.

So, in reality, the question is not a second Kyoto commitment or not: the question is about creating a legal framework for all countries.

We need to find middle ground that converges the two tracks (Kyoto and the Convention) towards a single framework.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We do not have much time, but it is crucial that we maintain the momentum of Cancun.

Let Durban be a step towards a global, comprehensive and legally binding framework. We have two powerful allies: science and public opinion. So let's get the politics and diplomacy right.

It will take political will on all sides but it is possible. Thank you.


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