Press Conference, Extraordinary Environment Council
Firstly, I would like to thank László and the Slovak Presidency for convening this extraordinary meeting of the Environment Council.
This is indeed an extraordinary day.
A historic day.
A day when we put to bed any doubts that the whole EU is fully committed to joining the Paris Agreement.
Today we are again showing global leadership on climate action, just like we did in Paris by helping craft this landmark deal.
We have come a very long way in a short time since then.
It is just nine months since we adopted the Paris Agreement and less than 6 months since we signed it.
But this short period showed that Paris is a real game changer in global climate politics.
Our partners are coming on board faster than anyone would have imagined. And Europe must show we can deliver too.
That is why today we had to take a giant leap forward towards ratifying Paris and ultimately bring it closer to entry into force.
Our reputation was on the line because remember:
- They said Europe is too complicated to agree quickly.
- They said we had too many hoops to jump through.
- They said we were all talk.
- They even started to question whether our heart was really in it.
Today we clearly showed that we mean business.
Today's agreement shows unity and solidarity as Member States take a European approach, just as we did in Paris.
This is what Europe is all about.
In difficult times, we get our act together, and we make the difference.
I now count on the European Parliament to conclude the process next week.
So far, 61 countries, covering almost 48% of global emissionshave ratified the Agreement.
We have already passed the key threshold for the required number of countries and are close to the second trigger for entry into force.
So we need to be ready to join the Agreement as soon as possible.
We started this procedure back in June when I presented the proposal for the European Union to ratify the Agreement.
I congratulate the Slovak Presidency and our Member States on reaching this momentous agreement today.
I also thank the European Parliament for their continued support and look forward to a swift conclusion to this process.
Ratification is a crucial step towards implementing the Paris Agreement.
But let's be clear, ratification is not the end goal. It's only the first step.
All countries will have to put the agreement into practice on the ground, where it matters.
And the good news is that Europe is ahead of the curve. We didn't even wait until the deal was struck to begin our work.
We have already brought forward the key policy proposals needed to deliver on our pledge to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.
- Last year we presented a proposal to reform the EU ETS to ensure the energy sector and energy intensive industries deliver the emissions cuts needed.
- This summer, we complemented this with proposals for accelerating the low-carbon transition in the other key sectors of the European economy.
- And by the end of the year we will have brought forward half a dozen proposals to help meet our 2030 targets. As part of that we will get serious on making Europe more energy-efficient and on cementing our place as world leader in renewables.
And we won't stop there. We are pressing hard for action on all fronts.
- We are pushing for ambitious action at the on-going negotiations in Montreal for a Global Market-Based Mechanism to tackle CO₂ emissions from international aviation and achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards.
- And next month, I will go to Kigali to push for a successful conclusion to negotiations to bring climate warming HFCs under the scope of the Montreal Protocol.
We are reaching a critical period for decisive action. And when the going gets tough, Europe gets going.
The challenge now is for all countries to turn their Paris pledges into proper policies.
I am proud to show that, with today's landmark agreement, Europe has once again showed that actions speak louder than words.
Let's get to work.