Posts Tagged 'Stern Review'

Copenhagen Must Produce a Strong Global Climate Agreement

By:  Artur Runge-Metzger, Director for Climate Change and Air, DG Environment, European Commission

As the Climate Conference in Copenhagen approaches, the EU is not lowering its ambition. We remain committed to a comprehensive agreement, and we want the conference to be a milestone that brokers a global deal. A legally binding treaty to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which we have worked towards for more than two years, remains our fundamental objective.

The EU has the legislation in place to show how such ambitions can work in practice, and has also set out a solid financial package to encourage the developing world to take the necessary steps. We are now waiting for others to follow our lead.

There is no doubting the need for a strong Copenhagen agreement. Deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to prevent climate change from reaching potentially catastrophic proportions. To keep global warming below the danger threshold of 2°C, worldwide emissions must peak by 2020 at the latest and then be at least halved from 1990 levels by 2050.

On the ground this means emission cuts of 25 to 40% are needed from developed countries, while emissions growth in developing countries must be kept at 15 to 30% below business as usual levels by 2020.

Europe has legislation in place to cut emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and is committed to scaling up this reduction to 30% provided other major emitters agree to do their fair share too. No other region has such an ambitious target and the measures in place to achieve it. Instruments like the Emissions Trading System will cut emissions from heavy industry, and numerous other measures are now in place for Europe’s homes, offices and cars.

Our message to developed and developing countries alike is that shifting to a low-carbon economy is not just a challenge but also an opportunity. The Stern Review and other studies of the economics of climate change have made clear how early action will bring benefits in the longer term. It will also provide a vital boost to clean, new technologies, invigorating our economies and putting them on a path to sustainability.

Copenhagen might not deliver a full treaty, but it can deliver the necessary framework, with solid commitments and realistic deadlines for an ambitious, legally binding treaty to keep within the 2°C ceiling. The big players in the developed world are all on board, including the US, while the big emerging economies are developing climate and energy legislation at domestic level. The challenge now is to find a way to incorporate all these positive domestic developments into an international framework.

Climate change is already a painful reality in some of the world’s poorest countries. Funds are needed to start adapting immediately. The EU is committed to contributing its fair share both of ‘fast-start’ funding for the next three years and of the €22-50 billion in international public finance that we estimate developing countries will need annually by 2020.

This is one of many reasons the EU cannot leave Copenhagen without an ambitious deal. It’s too late to play a waiting game.



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