European Parliament calls for ‘new climate diplomacy’

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The European Union (EU) should create a "new climate diplomacy," and its future budget must provide enough funding to protect against, and adapt to, climate change, members of European Parliament (MEPs) said in a resolution approved on Wednesday.

The EU's commitment to combating climate change must not falter, and it must unilaterally set a CO2 reduction target greater than 20 percent for 2020, despite the Copenhagen summit's disappointing outcome, they urged.

The Copenhagen accord failed either to set global mid- or long- term CO2 reduction targets, or to state when global emissions would need to peak, MEPs noted, adding that the delay in reaching an international agreement is no justification for postponing further EU policies to achieve the already legally binding reduction commitments.

"The Commission should table a proposal for the EU to raise its ambition unilaterally to set a reduction target greater than 20 percent." MEPs noted that initiatives taken within the EU to promote and encourage the green economy, energy security and reduced energy dependency will make it increasingly easy to meet a 30 percent reduction target.

The EU should also ensure that the future agreement takes the full climate impact of aviation into account and that reduction targets for the aviation and maritime sectors are the same as other industry sectors, they added.

According to the MEPs, the EU has "failed to play a leading role in the fight against climate change." They are disappointed with the Member States' lack of unity and urge the EU to speak with one voice in future international climate negotiations.

There is a need to create a new climate diplomacy, parliament said. "The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the Commissioner on Climate Action should lead this strategy, working especially with the more progressive developing and emerging countries."

Climate policies should be included in every strategic partnership and bi- and multilateral co-operation agreements in order to establish a more coherent external climate protection strategy, it added.

The forthcoming EU budget review needs to provide sufficient resources for measures for protection against, and adaptation to, climate change, both within EU and in developing countries, MEPs said, insisting that it should also consider introducing new and innovative financial mechanisms to support international climate action.

The EU and Member States should enforce the principle of " climate justice" with a view to 2050 and beyond and therefore advocate an "equity clause" in future international climate negotiations, MEPs said.

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