EU to Push for Carbon Neutrality by 2100 in Global Climate Deal

  • Bloc's 28 governments agree on stance for Paris talks
  • EU will seek 2050 global target of 50% emission cut vs 1990

European Union member states agreed to push for a goal of making the world carbon-neutral by the end of the century as a part of a new United Nations global climate deal.

The UN accord, which almost 200 nations across the globe aim to conclude in December in Paris, would wrest commitments for the first time from both developed and developing countries. Environment ministers from the EU’s 28 nations want the agreement to include a 2050 target of reducing global emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels, in line with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, a UN-organized body of thousands of scientists.

“What we got today is an ambitious EU mandate for a global agreement with all parties,” Luxembourg Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg said. “This mandate is balanced, it’s a compromise, but it shows clearly the pathway to our long-term vision of a global sustainable climate-resilient society.”

National Pledges

The global accord should be legally binding and should include a mechanism to revise national pledges every five years, according to the EU position. The ministers agreed to include in the mandate a provision to prevent a situation where new or updated commitments fall behind previous levels.

Commitments from nations across the globe come in what the UN calls intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs. They are supposed to contain voluntary measures for each country to cut emissions, pare back fossil-fuel use, accelerate renewable energy and adapt to rising seas.

The EU contribution is to reduce emissions domestically by at least 40 percent by the end of the next decade compared with 1990 levels. The target, approved by the bloc’s leaders last October, was not discussed at Friday’s gathering, according to Dieschbourg, whose country holds the six-month rotating EU presidency through December.

The global agreement must also address climate aid, actions to adapt to climate change and a loss-and-damage mechanism that would help developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, said EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

“In Paris, Europe will be a deal-breaker, not just a deal-taker,” he said.

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