Climate negotiations / Geneva - the phase out of fossil fuel emissions & phase in of 100% renewable energy by 2050 should be the long-term goal of 2015 agreement
The clock is ticking for the negotiators who need to agree on an ambitious deal in Paris at the end of the year. Last Sunday, a new round of international climate negotiations started in Geneva, Switzerland, and will last until Friday 13th February. Negotiators have only six days to narrow down the 38-page text agreed in Lima into a shorter and clearer legal negotiating text. The 'Lima Call for Climate Action' decision agreed at the last COP certainly contains many open questions and most of the options are highly contradictory. All parties must now engage in a proactive and constructive way so that the world gets on track to limit global warming well below 2°C; yesterday, more than 20 scientific presentations showed that even a 2?C warming target is intolerable...
The 'Structured Expert Dialogue' (also known as SED) that aims to support the technical work and to ensure the scientific integrity of the review will produce a report on 20th March. Policymakers - and this is particularly true for our EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Canete - must not forget that a successful deal in Paris will not only be a diplomatic success that pleases all countries but first and foremost a deal that enables the world to avoid further disastrous climate change. If emissions continue at current level the carbon budget which is available for the planet to maintain climate change below 2?C (with 66% likelihood according to the fifth IPCC assessment report) is consumed in 27 years. This is not the moment to start kicking the buck down the line for more ambition later. The slower the reaction now the quicker the world needs to phase out all carbon emissions or face climate change out of control.
Finance, particularly for Loss and Damage which must be separate from adaptation finance as well as technology transfer, are some of the most pressing issues in these negotiations. Another important point will be the review mechanism. To ensure the implementation and efficiency of the future agreement, it is important that a regular and transparent review mechanism is put in place. NGOs together with the Greens demand that this process not only point to the gaps and problems but also equip countries with the means to bridge the gap between what the science says and what world leaders decide to put in place in their respective countries.
With 10 months to go before the COP21 there is clearly little time left to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions peak well before 2020 and to start the transition to a 100% renewable energy world. Outside of the negotiating rooms, a growing number of businessmen, citizens and local activists have committed to the transition. All over the world renewable energy sources are rapidly becoming cheaper, making the 100% renewable goal ever more attractive and the decline of fossil fuels an ever-clearer reality. We know that these options are the right ones: they are cheap and come with a long list of co-benefits as well as strong sustainable development objectives. So let's make sure these are the ones that will be pushed forward.