International negotiations are under way to draft a global agreement governing action against climate change in the period after 2012, when key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol will expire.
This agreement is due to be concluded at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Reaching a deal that is global, comprehensive and ambitious is a top priority for the EU, which has long been in the vanguard of international action to combat climate change.
The EU's objective is to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels of more than 2°C above the pre-industrial temperature, or around 1.2°C above today's level (see brochure). Scientific evidence shows that this requires global emissions of greenhouse gases to peak before 2020 and then be cut by at least 50% of their 1990 levels by 2050.
These objectives can be achieved only through a global effort. Industrialised nations must take the lead by making deep emission cuts, but action by developing nations (except the least developed countries) is also needed to limit the rapid growth in their emissions.
The European Commission has adopted a succession of policy papers ("Communications") as a basis for the EU to define its policy regarding the future global climate regime. These papers have also served to stimulate international debate.
The policy papers are presented below, starting with the most recent.
Communication 'Stepping up international climate finance: A European blueprint for the Copenhagen deal.'
This policy paper, adopted on 10 September 2009, presents a blueprint for scaling up international finance to help developing countries combat climate change. It recognises that the financing issue is central to prospects for reaching an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen.
- Communication 'Stepping up international climate finance: A European blueprint for the Copenhagen deal'
- Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication
- Press release
- Questions and Answers on the Communication
- Introductory remarks by Commissioner Stavros Dimas
- Citizens' summary
The Communication on finance complements and builds on the Communication 'Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen' adopted in January 2009.
Communication: 'Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen' (January 2009)
This policy paper sets out concrete proposals to achieve an ambitious and comprehensive global agreement in Copenhagen. It focuses on three key challenges:
- Targets by developed countries and appropriate actions by developing countries;
- The need to address the financing of actions by developing countries (both to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change);
- The need to build an effective global carbon market.
Communication "Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen" and translations (January 2009)
- Translation in Mandarin Chinese (January 2009)
Staff working document - Additional background information (January 2009)
Press release: Commission sets out proposals for global pact on climate change at Copenhagen. Read more (IP/09/141)
Questions and answers on a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen (January 2009). Read more (MEMO/09/34)
On-line consultation "Towards a comprehensive and ambitious post-2012 climate change agreement" (August - October 2008)
Contributions: Academia, public authorities, NGOs, the private sector, others (zip files)
Stakeholder conference "Towards a comprehensive and ambitious post-2012 climate change agreement in Copenhagen" (15 October 2008, Brussels)
'Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen' builds on two earlier Communications:
- "Limiting Global Climate Change to 2° Celsius: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond" (January 2007) and
- "Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change" (February 2005).
Source: European Commission