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Are we ready for the 2015 Conference in Paris? – EU and Member States preparedness for COP21

Written by Dessislava Yougova
climate change word cloud on blackboard

© Marek / Fotolia

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The objective is to reach a new international agreement on the climate, ‘a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force’, applicable to all parties of the Convention and aiming to keep global warming below 2°C.

A draft text of the agreement , considered as ‘balanced and complete’ by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and ‘manageable’ by the French Climate Change Ambassador Laurence Tubiana (see the press release ), is already available. This is the latest version, established in Bonn in October. The UNFCCC secretariat recently published a synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the 119 intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) communicated by 147 Parties by 1 October 2015.

The EU position was clearly announced in September 2015 (see the Council conclusions ) and the European Parliament voted an own-initiative resolution in October 2015. However, even if there has been some hard work carried out since the failure of the negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, enthusiasm in Europe is shadowed by the consequences of the economic crisis. Uncertainty and fear regarding the EU industrial context sow doubts about the EU, and its Member States’ preparedness for the ambitious targets submitted to COP21. This also raises, once again, the question of the EU’s role in the future international process to combat global warming

EPRS publications about COP 21:

EU approach to the Paris climate conference : At a glance, October 2015

The European Council and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (COP 21): European Council in Action : Briefing, October 2015

Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges on the road to Paris : In-depth analysis, March 2015

EU achievements

European Union , in: The Global Climate Legislation Study , Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE, 2015
This is a part from a study which reviews climate change legislation and policies in 98 countries and in the European Union.

Trends and projections in Europe 2015: Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets , EEA, October 2015, 104 p.
According to this annual report the EU is well on track to meet its climate and energy targets set for 2020 but the progress of Member States towards their individual climate and energy objectives for 2020 is nuanced and differs significantly between Member States.

Approximated EU GHG inventory: proxy GHG estimates for 2014 , EEA, October 2015, 139 p.
According to this report the GHG emissions in the EU continued to decrease in 2014. Compared to preliminary 2013 emissions, the fall in emissions between 2013 and 2014 is estimated to be -185.4 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents (Mt CO2‑eq.) or -4.1% for the EU plus Iceland. For EU plus Iceland, total GHG emissions in 2014 are estimated to be -24.4% below 1990 emissions.

EU INDCs assessment , Climate Action Tracker, July 2015
This brief analyses the EU Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC submitted on 6 March 2015. EU INDC formally puts forward a binding, economy-wide target of at least 40% domestic greenhouse gas emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2030. This target is rated as Medium. See also the policy brief (March 2015, 9 p.)

De 2020 à 2030, de Copenhague à Paris: l’âge de raison de la politique climatique européenne?, Carole Mathieu, Ifri, décembre 2014, 10 p.
Cette analyse replace les objectifs de l’UE pour 2030 dans le contexte des négociations climatiques en mettant en relation la politique climatique européenne et la competitivité industrielle à travers la notion de flexibilité de la mise en oeuvre des ambitions climatiques.

Progress towards 2008 – 2012 Kyoto targets in Europe , EEA, October 2014, p. 62
This is an assessment of the latest progress made by the EU and the European countries in achieving their GHG targets during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, from 2008 until 2012.

Adaptation in Europe: Addressing risks and opportunities from climate change in the context of socio-economic developments , EEA, May 2013, 136 p.
According to this report “examples of implemented actions show that adaptation of both natural and human systems is already taking place across Europe”. At EU level, key mechanisms such as cohesion funds, agriculture funds, infrastructure funds, and funds from the LIFE+ programme are also instruments for implementing adaptation policy. The report points out the need of improving assessment methods regarding the costs and benefits of adaptation actions.

International context

Climate change mitigation: Policies and progress , OECD, October 2015, 118 p.
This report reviews progress on climate change mitigation policies in 34 OECD countries and 10 partner economies, as well as in the European Union. It regards the mitigation targets and goals, the carbon pricing instruments such as taxation, emissions trading systems, support for fossil fuels, and some key domestic policy actions in the energy and other sectors.

Intended nationally determined contributions: what are the implications for greenhouse gas emissions in 2030?, Rodney Boyd, Joe Cranston Turner, Bob Ward, CCCEP / Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, October 2015, 42 p.
According to this report, based on an analysis of INDCs submitted by 23 October by 154 countries, the current  pledges about future emissions “would not reduce emissions enough to give a 50-66 per cent chance of limiting the rise in global average temperature to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels”.

2015 Global Climate Legislation Study: Summary for policy-makers , Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE 2015, 45 p.
This is a summary of the climate change legislation in 99 Countries.

How close are INDCs to 2 and 1.5°C pathways? , Climate Action Tracker, September 2015, 9 p.
According to this analysis “INDCs announced by 1 September 2015 lead to global emissions far above the levels needed by 2025 and 2030 to put the world on track to hold warming below 2°C, or to below 1.5°C, in 2100”.
See also: Countries having submitted INDCs : UNEP website and INDCs as communicated by Parties : Official documents on UNFCCC website

Climate commitments of subnational actors and business: A quantitative assessment of their emission reduction impact , UNEP, June 2015, 52 p.
‘Non-state climate initiatives’ is the name given to the set of climate initiatives that are driven by other actors than national governments: cities, regions, companies, NGOs, etc. This report presents a quantitative assessment of the total GHG emissions mitigation impact in 2020 of current important non-state climate action.

Emissions gap report: A UNEP synthesis report , November 2014, 88 p.
This fifth “emissions gap” report provides an update of the estimations and calculates an emissions gap relative to expected emission levels in 2030. The report provides also an assessment of the carbon budget that is consistent with the 2°C target.

Country profiles

European countries , in: The Global Climate Legislation Study , Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE 2015; see also all countries profiles
It contains detailed country information with a list of laws for each of the 99 countries covered and a set of country fact sheets with key indicators.

Climate and energy profiles , EEA, 2014
These profiles summarise key data on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the EU member countries.

National adaptation policy processes in European countries , EEA, 2014, 136 p.
This report provides a description of the Europe‑wide state of play for adaptation activities as well as findings on national adaptation policy processes across Europe.

Study of adaptation at regional level in the EU , Milieu, December 2013, 80 p.
This study analyses the role and the relevance of the regional level to climate change adaptation in EU Member States. It concludes that regions can play an important role and in some cases, they are the most appropriate level of governance to address climate change.

EU Member states adaptation strategies , European climate adaptation platform
It contains information about adaptation strategy in each Member State.

Climate policy, economics and competitiveness

Pathways to deep decarbonization: 2015 synthesis report , IDDRI, September 2015, 20 p.
The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is “a collaborative initiative to understand and show how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy and how the world can meet the internationally agreed target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C)”. The report finds that limiting global warming to under two degrees is both technically and economically feasible but this will require a deep transformation of energy systems in all economic sectors. It outlines the conditions, technologies and costs as well as the changes needed to physical infrastructure such as power plants, buildings and vehicles in order to achieve global net GHG emissions near to zero by the second half of the century.
See also the executive summary of the 2014 report and article in BusinessGreen

Weathering the next storm: A closer look at business resilience , Janet Peace, Katy Maher, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), September 2015, 70 p.
This report analyses various approaches of management that private sector is using to address climate risks, as well as the challenges faced by different companies in managing and reporting risks.

The New Climate Economy report: Seizing the global opportunity , The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, July 2015, 76 p.
This report outlines ten key areas of opportunity for stronger climate action with significant economic benefits at the same time. It estimates that “these could achieve at least 59% and potentially as much as 96% of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to keep global warming under the 2°C”.
See the executive summary

Reframing climate and competitiveness: is there a need for cooperation on national climate change policies? , Thomas Spencer [et al.], IDDRI, 2015, 43 p.
This is a background paper for the 31st OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development in Paris, on 2 and 3 February 2015. It overviews the climate policy in the context of economic globalisation especially in relation with energy-intensive trade-exposed industries, as well as the role of UNFCCC for better transparency and cooperation. The aim could be to provide for more effective national policies from the perspective of the public and private sectors.

Costs, competitiveness and climate policy: distortions across Europe , David Buchan, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, April 2014, 20 p.
According to this paper “inside its 28-country energy market the European Union is permitting serious distortions” caused by leaving cost compensation of clean energy policies costs to individual member states. It also makes suggestions in order to remove the distortions and to moderate the increase in energy policy costs.

Competitiveness impacts of energy, climate change and environmental policies , London School of Economics
List of publications that explore the impact of energy and climate policies on various dimensions of competitiveness, including impacts on production costs, output, profits, trade, employment and investment location. This is a part of the FP7 Entracte project analysing the impact of the EU ETS on the competitiveness of European businesses.

Competitiveness and climate, what should Europe’s priorities be? , Grégoire Postel-Vinay, in: European Issue, n° 303, Fondation Robert Schuman, February 2014, 10 p.
This paper discusses issues focusing on governance, international negotiations, the Union’s energy autonomy, the impact of the revision of competition rules, R&D and technical progress, energy insecurity, specific national factors, tariffs and production and their effect on infrastructures and the security of supply.

Addressing industrial competitiveness concerns in the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Package , Oliver Sartor, Michel Colombier, Thomas Spencer, IDDRI, January 2014, 13 p.
This paper provides a discussion of competitiveness for energy-intensive trade-exposed sectors in the context of the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Package. It analyses the state of energy-intensive manufacturing in the EU and what the impact of EU climate and energy policies on costs and competitiveness for energy-intensive sectors would be. In this context, the paper overviews also the state of climate and energy policies in non-EU countries.

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