European Parliament’s COP19 resolution

Creative Commons: European Parliament, 2013

Publish date: October 30, 2013

As the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approaches, the European Parliament passes a resolution setting out the negotiating position the EU should adopt. Bellona’s presence will also be felt at the meeting of 192 countries in Warsaw, Poland on 11-22 November, especially to bring focus on the climate résumé of the host country.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) last week passed a resolution on the position the EU should take at COP19 in Warsaw. The resolution calls for the summit to achieve and set a clear timetable toward a global binding agreement to be struck in Paris in 2015. The main ambition is to see a new ‘Climate Pact’ to apply to all industrial as well as developing countries, including compliance and enforcement proceedings.

MEPs also called in the resolution for the setting of a carbon price on international aviation and maritime transport emissions, for policies to stop development of unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sand and for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies. In addition MEPs reiterated the ‘offer’ of the EU to increase its CO2 reduction target from 20% to 30% by 2020, should other major emitting countries also commit to such targets.

Finally, MEPs called for greater climate ambition from the industrial sector. The COP19 in Poland will be the first of its kind to incorporate industry stakeholders on a large scale. Polish Ministers will host an international coal and climate summit in Warsaw on 18-19 November and COP19 negotiations will see dedicated time especially to such stakeholders. The opportunities – and expectations – for a holistic and constructive summit are therefore high.     

Poland’s potential

Bellona has previously reported on the plans, being pushed by Polish government officials and COP19 hosts, to build coal power plants which have been found illegal by the EU. Bellona maintains that Poland has an immense potential to lead Europe toward a more sustainable economy, both with renewables and mitigating fossil fuel use through CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), as outlined in a CCS Roadmap for Poland.

A new report published jointly by renewable organisations, researchers and Greenpeace has now also found that Poland could at little additional cost halve its coal consumption as well as quadruple its renewable energy use by 2030. The report says Poland should be aiming for a 26.8%  renewable energy use by 2030, and 88% by 2050, which could by 2030 lead to a halving of 1990 level CO2 emissions from the energy sector, further reduced by 92% by 2050. Aiming for this instead of business-as-usual with coal plant plans and the like, could also see an additional 40,000 new jobs in Poland by 2030.

It is hoped that the hosting of COP19 could lead to a much needed widening of Poland’s rather narrow climate and energy objectives. Should Poland incorporate more sustainable longer-term policies, it would clearly benefit both the sustainability of the climate and Poland’s economy.