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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Speaking points by Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at the press conference preceeding the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris

Brussels, 25 November 2015

Good afternoon and thank you for coming,

The countdown to the Paris climate conference has begun. We have the chance to turn a new page in the history of the fight against climate change.

Let me start by offering France the full support of the EU as it hosts this crucial climate summit.

I hope that the overwhelming support for COP21 to continue in the face of the recent appalling events in Paris will only strengthen our resolve to succeed.

Let us not forget that climate change is a threat multiplier that impedes the global economy, fuels existing instabilities and hits the most vulnerable disproportionately.

The Paris conference offers a unique opportunity for global leaders to steer the world in a new direction.

To put us on a pathway to a better world. A safer world. A more sustainable world.

So today I want to focus on three main points:

1. How important is the Paris Agreement?

2. Where do we stand on the road to Paris?

3. What is the EU looking for in a successful deal?



1. What does the Paris conference mean for the world?

So, just how important is the Paris climate conference?

This is one of the most important events of the year, if not the most important. Reaching a global climate deal in Paris will send an important signal to the world.

That in these difficult times − when cities around the world are facing unprecedented threats to their national security − we have the strength and determination to see this vital deal though to a successful conclusion.

That what unites us is greater than what divides us on this issue.

We cannot miss the chance to take this historic step to curb global emissions.

In economic terms, the Paris deal will significantly accelerate the uptake of renewable energies and low carbon technologies globally.

In in doubt, take the International Energy Agency estimates as an example: the implementation of the contributions already put forward by different countries will mean 13.5 trillion dollars of investment in renewables and energy efficiency over the next 15 years.

Or another example: the new Chinese and Indian targets alone, when implemented, will mean a tripling of renewable energy production at global level.


2. Where are we on the road to Paris?

But perhaps even more important than reaching a deal is reaching the right deal that will get us to where we need to be.

Our priority is to make the draft text that came out of the last negotiating session in Bonn into the agreement and decisions that are fit for purpose and fit for the future.

There is still a lot of work ahead of us – the current text is too long and complex, with far too many options. So negotiators will need to engage quickly, constructively and flexibly on key issues.

Let me be very frank with you today: we will have a deal in Paris. Of that, I have no doubt. But my worry is that we may end up having a minimalistic agreement.

The EU wants to sing a good deal. An ambitious deal. Not just any deal for the sake of it.                                        

But the EU cannot do it alone. This is why I have spent all this year strengthening existing alliances and building on new ones.

From the Pacific, where I travelled in September, to Brazil and Latin America where I went earlier this month. From our Mediterranean neighbours, to the rest of Africa the Middle East.

Added to that, I have met with almost all G20 energy and climate ministers and represented the EU in the major gatherings of the year such the Major Economies Forum meetings, the Peterberg Dialogue, the informal ministerial consultations in Paris or the recent Pre-COP.

What is clear is that we need a robust deal that puts us firmly on track to our objective of limiting global warming to a 2C increase.

This means we must be ambitious and fair in every area – mitigation adaptation, finance,

Naturally there are differences between countries in terms of capacity and their ability to participate. But we can't cut a deal without other major economies and emitters on board.

The INDCs are a game changer and clear evidence of new direction of travel.

Under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which runs until 2020, only 38 countries, representing around 12% of global emissions have binding targets.

Today, 177 countries covering more than 95% of global emissions have put their INDCs on the table, including all G20 countries. From major oil producers to small Pacific Islands, ALL are contributing.

This is the Paris spirit. This is real progress.

But the Paris Agreement needs to respond to reality. The INDCS are clearly not yet enough.


3. What is success in Paris?

This brings me to my third point. What constitutes success in Paris?

One thing is clear. To be credible, the Paris Agreement must send a clear signal of governments' determination to reduce emissions sufficiently to keep temperature increase below the 2°C agreed limit by the end of the century.

And this clear signal requires three key elements:

1. A global vision for a long-term operational goal that will tell us how and when we need to increase the ambition to meet our target.

2. A regular review to raise the collective ambition. This is essential since we know that initial contributions will not be enough; and

3. A robust transparency and accountability system to ensure that all Parties and stakeholders can trust that what is promised will be delivered.

These elements will make Paris a success!

But achieving this in Paris won't be easy, that I can assure you.

Judging from the last G20 leaders' summit, where negotiators struggled to agree on the 2 degrees objective or the regular review, I can say that we have lot of work ahead of us.

Beyond emissions reductions, the agreement must also help countries, especially those most vulnerable, adapt to climate change impacts.

The EU is fully prepared to continue its support to the most vulnerable countries. In 2014 alone, we delivered 14.5 billion euros to help developing countries fight climate change. A

At least 14 billion euros, an average of EUR 2 billion per year of public grants from the EU budget will support developing countries between 2014 and 2020.

This is more than double the average level in 2012-2013.

The EU will continue delivering its share of the USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries.

Last year developed countries mobilised 62 billion dollars, so while challenges remain, we are on track to meet our collective goal.

Finance will be critical to the global low-carbon transition.

Public financial institutions have an important role in unlocking more private finance, which will be key to scaling up investments in climate-smart development across the world.

Of course it's not just up to governments to take action.

That's why we recognise the critical role of businesses, cities and other organisations in the transition to a low-carbon world.

And I am very much looking forward to the Lima Paris Action Agenda – an initiative of the Peruvian and French COP Presidencies aimed at catalysing multi-stakeholder action.

We can expect new announcements and look forward to hearing about inspiring initiatives at a programme of events that has been organised around the themes of the Action Agenda.

More than 100 side events will be held at the EU Pavilion at COP21, mirroring these daily themes.


Concluding remarks

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Paris presents an opportunity the world cannot afford to miss.

We must build on the growing momentum from all stakeholders - politicians, world faith leaders, business leaders and the public for the world to come together to agree an ambitious global climate deal in Paris.

In a Eurobarometer survey published today, 93% of Europeans said that fighting climate change will only be effective if all countries of the world act together.

As proud climate leader, the EU is ready for an ambitious deal in Paris.

Thank you for your attention.


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