At the upcoming Informal Environment Council on 10-11 April in Bulgaria, EU Ministers of Environment are expected to flesh out the bloc’s contribution to the UN Talanoa Dialogue - a Fijian word meaning an inclusive dialogue.
The Talanoa Dialogue is an important international conversation which aims to help countries increase their climate pledges to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Setting expectations for the meeting, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“The Talanoa Dialogue is a golden opportunity to close the huge gap between the goals of the Paris Agreement and what is happening in reality. EU Ministers need to show that they are taking this process seriously. They all need to recognize that the EU’s current climate targets are inadequate and agree on a process to revise and increase them by 2020. The urgency has never been greater, but neither have the benefits for people and the economy.”
What is the Talanoa Dialogue?
As part of the Paris Agreement, countries decided to pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Yet the contributions proposed at the Paris talks, including the EU’s pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030, would only keep global warming to around 3°C at best, far above the Paris objectives.
The Talanoa Dialogue, running throughout 2018, aims to build trust and boost ambition, and thus create the necessary dynamic which will help countries revise and increase their current commitments by 2020. The Dialogue is a core part of the five-year review cycles agreed in Paris to ramp up ambition over time. As agreed in Paris, by 2020 all countries are required to review and resubmit their contributions to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
How can the EU contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue?
The EU can become a global leader of this process, but its credibility will depend on whether it is willing to increase its own inadequate climate targets. Environment Ministers preparing the EU’s contribution to the dialogue this week need to outline a process to put in place more ambitious targets by 2020.
A recent study by the Oeko Institute clearly shows that for the EU to contribute its fair share to keeping global temperature rise to 2°C, it would have to set itself an emission reduction target of 55% for 2030. To limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, we should be looking at a target in the range of -65%.
Does the EU have the political will to increase its climate targets?
It is encouraging to see that more and more decision makers understand that we need bolder commitments. On 2 March, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called upon the EU to increase its climate target from at least 40 to 55% emission cuts by 2030. On 29 March, France and Germany published a joint statement calling upon the EU to quickly review whether the target should be raised.
On 22 March, Europe’s Heads of State and Government called upon the European Commission to urgently put forward a draft of a new EU long-term climate strategy in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The new strategy will have to clearly lay out pathways for how the bloc will contribute to efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, which will undoubtedly indicate a need to revise the EU’s current climate commitments.
The European Parliament calls for the strategy to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, within the framework of the currently negotiated Governance Regulation.
What are the benefits of increasing climate targets?
A higher climate target for 2030 will help the EU speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and other sources of carbon emissions to 100% renewables by 2050 at the latest. This transition brings numerous benefits, not only for the climate, but also for health, employment and our wallets, as the price of green energy drops.
Going for a higher climate target would help restore Europe’s global climate leadership. In the last few years the pace of emission cuts has been slower in Europe than in other countries. In 2017, the EU ETS emissions rose for the first time in seven years. In addition, investments in renewable energy have been shrinking in Europe, while they are on the rise globally. With the current level of ambition, Europe risks missing the ongoing energy revolution and lagging behind other leading economies for decades.
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, email@example.com, +32 473 170 887
Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 494 525 738
 Informal Environment Council, 10-11 April 2018: https://eu2018bg.bg/en/events/67
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 140 member organisations in more than 30 European countries - representing over 44 million citizens - CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.