A historic agreement to tackle climate change was agreed at the COP21 conference in Paris on Saturday. The European Parliament was present at the summit with a delegation made up of 15 MEPs. We asked delegation head Giovanni La Via, an Italian member of the EPP group, what the next steps will be and how Parliament will be involved.
What was the delegation's role at the climate conference?
We met representatives from developing and developed countries, indigenous people, NGOs and parties involved in the process. We listened to their views on the possible agreement in order to support the other European institutions in reaching an agreement.
You already attended several other climate change summits. How was COP21 different from previous climate change conferences?
This COP was different for many reasons, but the most important thing is that we have achieved an ambitious agreement. During the previous COPs, we discussed many times the issues of mitigation, adaptation and finance. This time we were able to reach an ambitious agreement, but also to discuss all these points. The final deal will be useful for the next generations.
How will the agreement affect Parliaments work?
Now that an agreement has been reached, we are ready to start with new legislation in line with the final deal. We have to do our best to achieve the targets we have proposed for the European Union. We are ready to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we have to create specific legislation in this field. We have to increase our energy efficiency and to make a bigger effort on renewable energies. One of the main issues we have to discuss in the European Parliament is how to achieve the target of having 30% of total energy production come from renewables.
What are the next steps?
This is the start of a long process. Over the next year all COP partipants have to look at how they will implement the agreement. We will have to discuss the results of the negotiations with the member states, but also within the Parliament.
We, as the European Parliament, have to ratify the agreement and I hope that a large majority will vote in favour of the final deal, which includes one of the main points Parliament has asked for. This agreement sets out a clear course for climate policy over the next century.
SOURCE: European Parliament, December 14th 2015: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20151210STO06887/La-Via-...