EU to seek binding climate change agreement after Copenhagen
European Union environment ministers met Saturday in Spain amid expectations that they would push for a binding global climate change treaty despite what are seen as the weak results of the Copenhagen climate conference in December, DPA reported.
"We want to be a strategic driving force again and to also seek new approaches," German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said in Seville, calling for "concrete steps" ahead of the next United Nations climate conference in Mexico between November and December.
The steps might include "tactical cooperation" in areas including technology, forest protection or finance, Roettgen said.
"Despite (the disappointment in) Copenhagen, we need to give an opportunity to Mexico," said Spanish climate change secretary of state Teresa Ribera, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
The EU should immediately start implementing the agreement reached in Copenhagen in an attempt to pave the way for a legally binding agreement in 2010, the European Commission said in a preliminary document issued before the informal meeting in Seville.
The broad and non-binding Copenhagen Accord requires countries to table emission reduction targets by January 31.
The EU is committed to cutting emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990, but maintained its offer to increase that target to 30 per cent if other countries made comparable commitments, the commission said.
Despite doubts about China's preparedness to make efforts and of the "insufficient" US emissions reduction offer, the incorporation of new countries into the Copenhagen Accord made it easier for the EU "to make the leap," Ribera said in an interview with the daily El Pais.
So far, however, the efforts from non-EU countries were "not sufficient," according to the commission document.
Since the pledging process was not guided by mid-term or long-term objectives, it was unlikely to deliver "the level of efforts that is necessary," the commission observed.
In a drive to strengthen the outcome of Copenhagen, the EU should start implementing it immediately, the commission recommended, stressing the importance of a Copenhagen plan for fast-start funding for the worth of 30 billion dollars in 2010-12.
The EU would work at bilateral and regional levels to "give the Copenhagen Accord life" and to turn it into a basis for a legally binding agreement, the commission said.
The Seville meeting was not due to take definitive decisions.