EU ministers set to call for ambitious Paris climate deal, say reports

Jessica Shankleman
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Draft text leaked as China and EU prepare for joint climate change declaration

China and the European Union are today expected to issue a joint call for the world to intensify efforts to tackle climate change, declaring it one of the greatest threats facing humanity.

A number of news outlets reported over the weekend that the two economic superpowers are planning to sign a pact that will create closer ties in using low emission technologies and developing carbon markets.

China is the world's largest emitter and is also preparing to announce its national emissions reduction pledge, known as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in the UN jargon, that it would abide by under a global climate change deal.

Last week, China's lead climate change negotiator hinted that the government was preparing to mobilise $6.6tr of investment over the coming years in clean energy technologies under the plan.

The EU-China pact echoes a similar agreement signed last year between China and the US. It will be signed after leaked documents revealed how European Union ministers are preparing to call for the world to set an ambitious and legally binding climate change deal at a major summit in Paris at the end of this year.

The European Union has said it will cut emissions by at least 40 per cent based on 1990 levels.

According to a Reuters, which has seen a draft of the text, environment ministers from the bloc's 28 member states are set to demand a legally binding deal backed up by five-year reviews through which countries ratchet up ambition on cutting emissions.

This is more ambitious than the once a decade reviews that some countries have asked for.

A final version of the document is likely to be released in September as the EU's joint position on the UN talks in Paris in December.

However, any call for a legally-binding treaty is likely to face opposition from some quarters, with some diplomats at the UN talks fearing a legal treaty could be effectively blocked by opposition from Republicans in the US Congress who would likely refuse to ratify such a deal.

In related news, a leaked draft paper from the European Commission has suggested Europe will get more than half of its power from renewable sources by 2030.

According to the Guardian, the text calls for countries to accelerate their revamp of electricity grids to accommodate greater amounts of renewables, such as wind farms and solar arrays. 

"Reaching the European Union 2030 energy and climate objectives means the share of renewables is likely to reach 50 per cent of installed electricity capacity," says the consultation paper, due to be published on 15 July. "This means that changes to the electricity system in favour of decarbonisation will have to come even faster."

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