Baltic and European news
Ministers fail to progress EU climate position
EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday endorsed the bulk of an EU position the European commission proposes ahead of international climate talks but weakened it in places.
The ministers invited EU heads of state meeting later in March to consider both contributory and market-based approaches to financing a new global climate treaty and helping developing countries pay to fight climate change, as well as a combination of these plus other options.
Under the contributory approach, developed countries would make annual financial commitments based on an agreed formula. In a market-based approach, they would have to auction a proportion of their emission budgets and set aside the revenues (EE 28/01/09 http://www.endseurope.com/20499).
Ministers deleted a reference in a draft resolution for the contributory approach to be based on a scale "which is compatible with that used to ensure the comparability of mitigation responsibilities".
This is not surprising because the criteria for comparing emission reduction efforts by developed countries are a contentious issue. In the end, ministers opted for four criteria that are effectively those proposed by the commission (EE 14/01/09 http://www.endseurope.com/20370), albeit written out in less specific language. For example, "emissions per unit of GDP" is replaced by "the GHG emission reduction potential".
Some countries, such as Italy and Poland, wanted no comparability criteria at all, on the grounds that the EU needs its hands to be as free as possible going into the negotiations, a council source said.
In other changes, ministers rejected a commission proposal to count aviation and shipping emissions towards national emission totals under a new global climate treaty if the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) fail to agree measures to reduce them.
They also removed a commission call for all OECD members to take on targets under a new climate treaty, instead asking countries at "levels of development and GDP per capita comparable to those of the group of developed countries" to consider taking on such targets.
Ministers deleted a request that all countries should draft adaptation strategies. They removed a clause that developing countries should adopt low-carbon development strategies to receive assistance to fight climate change.
Efforts to create an OECD-wide carbon market by 2015 are backed and much is made of sectoral approaches to engage developing countries in emission reduction efforts, despite warnings of political and technical difficulties by UN climate chief Yvo de Boer (EE 03/03/09 http://www.endseurope.com/20809).
In their resolution, ministers quote the commission's estimates that E175bn in additional net investment is needed by 2020 for mitigation and E23-54bn per year by 2030 for adaptation. Finance ministers meeting in Brussels on 10 March will pick up the financing debate where environment ministers left off.
Follow-up: EU council of ministers http://www.consilium.eu.int/en/summ.htm plus
ministerial resolution on international climate talks
and press releases from Greenpeace
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