Speech to Informal Council of EU Environment Ministers by Jos Dings, executive director, Transport & EnvironmentAmsterdam, 14 April 2016Thank you Madam President for the invitation and for organising this very timely and relevant event.I represent Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based environmental group specialising in sustainable transport, with 50 member organisations in 27 countries across this beautiful continent.
In this letter, the members of the Coalition for Higher Ambition – businesses, cities, trade unions and civil society groups – write to the heads of states and governments ahead of the signing ceremony of the Paris agreement on Friday, 22 April. The coalition urges the EU to adjust 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reductions targets to the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. It also highlights the need for strong economy-wide EU targets (including international aviation and shipping).
The European Parliament today called on EU governments to align the 2030 EU climate target with the Paris Agreement and introduce EU measures to cut emissions from aviation and shipping. In a letter sent to Europe’s ministers of transport and environment, the heads of seven political groups of the Parliament's environment committee also demanded greater climate ambition at both ICAO and IMO, the UN bodies charged with regulating emissions from aircraft and ships respectively, and at EU level.
A coalition of 26 European NGOs has called on European Ministers for Transport and Environment to, at their informal joint meeting next week, support effective measures at international and European level to rein in emissions from international shipping and aviation. Emissions from these sectors are growing rapidly, with aviation responsible for almost 5% of global warming and shipping responsible for 3% of CO2 emissions. Unless action is taken, their growth will undermine the Paris Agreement's objectives. Action must be taken at ICAO and IMO level, and at EU level where the sectors must contribute to the target of reducing emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
Last year was the one in which it became plain for everyone to see that transport had turned from being the grey sheep to the black sheep in Europe and the world’s efforts to improve the environment.
The absence of any reference to international aviation and shipping emissions in the Paris Agreement casts doubts over who is responsible for reining in their skyrocketing emissions, green NGOs Seas At Risk, Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment have said. While the Agreement endorses a target of 1.5°C, this cannot be achieved unless these two sectors urgently rein in their emissions.
The Paris ‘Conference of the Parties’ 21, the most important climate conference since the failed Copenhagen one of six years ago, is nearing an outcome. The dramatic 13 November events in the city has surely added grit to France’s determination to succeed, and has forged some unusual alliances. There is some hope that the spirit of togetherness – not just against terrorism but also to tackle that other global threat which the COP is about – will help in forging a transformative deal.
The dropping of international aviation and shipping emissions from the draft Paris climate agreement published this afternoon has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C, green NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment (T&E) have said. As their emissions uniquely fall outside national reduction targets, they require an explicit reference in the agreement.