The Communication sets out the EU's vision for a transparent and dynamic, legally binding United Nations climate change agreement that sets the world on a pathway to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels. International negotiations are under way and are set to be finalised at the UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015.
The Communication translates the decisions taken at the European Summit in October 2014 into the EU's proposed emissions reduction target (the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, or INDC) for the new agreement.
The key points of the Communication are as follows:
- It translates the decision taken by EU leaders at the European Summit in October 2014 into the EU's proposed emissions reduction target for the new global climate change agreement. The target is set out in accordance with the requirements for information agreed in Lima. The EU will be ready to submit its contribution to the UNFCCC Secretariat by the end of March 2015.
- It calls on all countries to submit their proposed emissions reduction targets for the period after 2020 until 2025/2030, well in advance of the Paris conference. China, the US and other G20 countries, in particular, should be in a position to do so by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
- The Communication outlines the EU's vision for a transparent and dynamic, legally binding agreement, containing fair and ambitious commitments from all Parties, based on evolving geopolitical circumstances. Collectively, these commitments should – in line with science – put the world on track to reduce global emissions by at least 60% below 2010 levels in 2050.
- It proposes that the 2015 agreement should preferably take the form of a Protocol under the UNFCCC and enter into force as soon as it is ratified by countries totalling 40 Gt CO2 equivalents. This is equivalent to approximately 80% of 2010 global emissions. The EU, China and the US should show political leadership by joining the Protocol as early as possible.
- Under the new Protocol, in addition to emissions reduction commitments, all countries should be encouraged to participate in climate finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.
- In order for countries to achieve climate resilient sustainable development, the Protocol should reinforce commitments for Parties to undertake adaptation actions, to cooperate, and promote the effective and efficient use of strategies to reduce emissions and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
- The Communication underlines the need for the Protocol to require greenhouse gas emissions reductions from all sectors, including aviation and shipping, as well as fluorinated gases. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Montreal Protocol, respectively, should act in these areas by the end of 2016.
- It highlights how other EU policies, such as trade, scientific research, technology development and innovation, as well as economic and development cooperation can support and strengthen the EU's international climate policy.
- The Communication is complemented by a Climate Diplomacy Action Plan, which is intended to scale-up EU outreach and build alliances with ambitious country partners outside the EU in the run up to the Paris conference.