EU Paris Agreement Proposal Published Ahead of Schedule

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The European Commission has published the proposal for approval of the Paris Agreement today. The proposal has been printed a month earlier than initially scheduled, highlighting the political urgency to gain ratification of the milestone Agreement in Europe.

The EU executive’s proposal specifies that the EU will join the Agreement once it is ratified both by the EU institutions (namely the EU Council, with a consent of the European Parliament) and by the relevant institutions in each of the 28 EU countries.

Hungary is the only EU country to ratify the Agreement so far, and France is on track to endorse it by the end of this month. More countries have indicated that they would ratify the Paris Agreement this year, including Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Sweden.

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe said: “EU ratification can be a long and difficult process, however it is likely that it will be concluded in 2017. The accelerated ratification timeline sends a signal of commitment to meeting the Paris Agreement. Next to the swift ratification, the EU needs to make sure its policies are coherent with what was agreed in Paris and increase its climate targets in time, before the next political moment in 2018.”

A new report released by Climate Analytics yesterday confirms that the EU needs to overhaul its climate and energy policies to make sure they fit with the 1.5°C Paris goal. The analysis shows that for a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the EU’s climate target for 2030 should be raised from at least 40% to 75%, to reflect its fair share of efforts to tackle climate change.

The EU, responsible for around 10% of global emissions and the third biggest emitter in the world, is speeding up its ratification process under international pressure to bring the Paris Agreement into effect already in 2016. The Agreement will enter into force when at least 55 countries have ratified it, representing at least 55% of total greenhouse gas emissions. So far 17 countries have ratified the Agreement, and 25 more have indicated intention to ratify it by the end of this year. Together they cover around 52% of global emissions.

As the next step in the EU ratification process, EU Environment Ministers will discuss the Commission’s proposal during their meeting on 20 June.