EU submits its Climate Action Plan ahead of Paris 2015 Agreement

The European Union (EU) today submitted its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The EU’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) comes well in advance of a new universal climate agreement which will be reached at the UN climate conference in Paris in December, this year.

The new agreement will come into effect in 2020 and will pave the way to keep a global temperature rise this century under 2 degrees C.

Governments have agreed to submit their INDCs in advance of Paris with many developed and bigger developing countries expected to do so in the first quarter of this year.

In February, in Geneva, countries under the UNFCCC also finalized the negotiating text for the Paris agreement. The next round of formal negotiations will take place at UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn, Germany, in June.

INDCs have been chosen as the vehicle for national contributions to the international Paris agreement. They include, for example, details of emission reductions the country will undertake and can include other action plans covering areas such as adaptation to climate change.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC has encouraged countries to come forward with their INDCs as soon as they are able, underlining their commitment and support towards a successful outcome in Paris. “Momentum towards Paris is building everywhere. I look forward to many more INDCs being submitted over the coming weeks and months,” she said.

Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in their contributions. This means that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

The negotiating text from Geneva also signals the ambition among many governments for a long-term goal to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the century.

Meanwhile, African civil society is advocating an agreement that will compel developed countries to communicate emission reduction targets as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that commensurate to keeping global average temperature well below 1.5°c and against principles of equity – historical responsibility, capacity, the right to sustainable development.

“We should not hold back from putting pressure on rich countries to change excessive production and consumption systems while protecting and compensating communities affected by their historical actions. Discussions around the new climate change agreement should be preceded by the rich countries honouring the promise they have already made as a signal of good faith,” said Augustine Njamnshi of the Pan African Climate Justice (PACJA).

The CSOs have told the 15th African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in Cairo, Egypt, that climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC have so far delivered no concrete results as growing impacts of climate change continue to stand in the way of African development aspirations.

They therefore want Developed Countries Parties (DCPs) to mobilize at least USD 1 trillion and monetize pledges to the financial entities of the financial mechanism of the Convention in order to meaningfully implement adaptation interventions and low carbon development strategies.

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