European Union to reduce emissions by 20% following Copenhagen Accord

The European Union (EU) has formalised its support for the Copenhagen Accord on climate change and p

In a joint letter with the Spanish Presidency of the Council, the European Commission has formally notified the EU's willingness to be associated with the accord and submitted for information the EU's established greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020.
These consist of a unilateral commitment to reduce the EU's overall emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and a conditional offer to increase this cut to 30% provided that other major emitters agree to take on their share of a global reduction effort. Under the accord, notifications are to be submitted by January 31, 2010.

Jose Barroso, president of EU, said: "The EU is determined to move ahead rapidly with implementing the Copenhagen Accord in order to make progress towards the agreement that we need to hold global warming below 2 degree centigrade. The Accord provides a basis on which to build this future agreement and I therefore urge all countries to associate themselves with it and notify ambitious emission targets or actions for inclusion as we are doing."

Stavros Dimas, European environment commissioner, said: ''Swift action is needed to make operational key elements of the Accord such as fast-start financing for developing countries, the fight against deforestation and the development and transfer of low carbon technologies."

The Copenhagen Accord was the main outcome of the UN climate change conference held in Copenhagen from 7 to 19 December 2009. The accord was negotiated on the final day of the conference by the leaders of some 28 developed and developing countries and the European Commission. These countries account for over 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The accord requires developed countries to submit their emission reduction targets, and for developing countries to submit their emissions mitigation actions by January 21.

In the letter from the commission and the Presidency of the Council, the EU reconfirms its commitment to a negotiating process to achieve the strategic objective of limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degree centigrade above the pre-industrial level.

The letter restates the EU's position that keeping below 2 degree centigrade requires global emissions to peak by 2020 at the latest, to be reduced to at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 and to continue to decline thereafter.

Heads of State and Government will assess the post-Copenhagen situation at the Informal European Council on February 11.

To this end, and in line with the findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, developed countries as a group should reduce their emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and developing countries should achieve a substantial deviation below the currently predicted emissions growth rate, in the order of 15-30% by 2020.