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European Union welcomes achievements of COP18

The European Union welcomes the outcome of the Doha climate conference which lays the basis for more ambitious international action against climate change in the short term. The conference paved the way for a new global climate agreement to be finalised in 2015 and enables a second period of the Kyoto Protocol to start on 1 January 2013.

Climate Action European Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “In Doha, we have crossed the bridge from the old climate regime to the new system. We are now our way to the 2015 global deal. It was not an easy and comfortable ride. It was not a very fast ride either. But we have managed to cross the bridge. Very intense negotiations lie ahead of us. What we need now is more ambition and more speed.”

As requested by the EU, the conference agreed a workplan for 2013 and beyond under the Durban Platform. The Platform has a dual mandate: to draw up a new global climate agreement with all countries, to be adopted in 2015, and to identify ways to achieve more ambitious global emission reductions for 2020 in order to close the gap between current emission pledges and what is needed to hold global warming below 2°C. The work plan agreed in Doha sets out a schedule of events and suggests themes to be addressed under both workstreams. The intention of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene a summit of world leaders on climate change in 2014 will give added political momentum to this work.

Doha addressed a key concern of developing countries by agreeing to establish institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism, to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in particularly vulnerable developing countries. The arrangements will be established at the UN climate conference to be held at the end of next year in Warsaw.

The balanced Doha outcome enabled the EU to confirm its commitment to participate in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol starting on 1 January 2013. The conference adopted a ratifiable amendment setting out the rules governing the second period. It will run for eight years, thus ensuring no gap occurs between its end and the entry into force of the new global agreement in 2020. The EU will apply the amendment from 1 January 2013 even though formal ratification by the European institutions and Member States is likely to take over a year.

Speaking on his return from the Doha talks, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “This round of international climate change talks was a modest step forward. We always knew they would be very tough after the breakthrough at the same conference in Durban last year. We can be pleased that we have maintained the momentum towards a new legally binding agreement for 2020 after the Kyoto Protocol has expired.

“However, we still need countries to do more and be more ambitious about reducing their emissions if we are going to avoid irreversible climate change and prevent devastating global warming. The UK, as part of the EU, will be working very hard over the next year to ensure next year’s talks yield even more progress and that we play our part in lowering global emissions”.