Czech Presidency welcomes Commission’s Communication on climate change

The Communication from the Commission provides concrete proposals how to reach an agreement at the Copenhagen summit. It addresses three key challenges of the new international agreement – targets and actions, financing low carbon development and building an effective global carbon market.

Mr. Martin Bursík, the EU Environment Council President stressed the fact that the Communication from the European Commission Towards a comprehensive climate change in Copenhagen published on January 28th, will be an excellent  basis for a debate at the EU Environment Council to be held on March 2nd in Brussels. The conclusions of the EU Environment Council will be then taken as the key basis for negotiations of the European Council scheduled for the second half of March and will serve as the mandate for international negotiations on a new Glogal Climate Agreement at which the Czech EU Presidency will represent the EU.

"The March European Council will have to adopt conclusions on key principles of the EU's position on global climate change negotiations. The time of inactivity is over now, not only Europe, but we all must really take immediate action," highlighted the EU Environment Council President.

Communication from the Commission on Climate Change

GHG reduction targets

To stay below the 2ºC threshold, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced to less than 50% of 1990 levels by 2050. In addition, global GHG emissions will have to peak before 2020.

Hence, the new international agreement will need to set in particular binding emission reduction commitments (targets) for developed countries, with the reduction ranges of 25 to 40% by 2020 and 80 to 95% by 2050. The countries‘ overall target must be distributed among individual countries in a manner that is fair. Account needs to be taken of relative wealth of individual economies, emissions per unit of GDP, the already achieved emission reductions and population trends. The EU as a whole should commit to a 30% reduction in its emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020.

However, a significant contribution from developing countries is also necessary. Developing countries , as a group, will need to limit the growth of their GHG emissions to 15 – 30% below business as usual by 2020. By 2020, gross tropical deforestation in developing countries needs to be reduced by at least 50 % compared to current levels and by 2030 global tropical forest cover loss needs to be completely halted. All developing countries should also commit to adopting national climate protection strategies by the end of 2011.

The international agreement should also set reduction targets for emitting sectors, in particular the international air transport and it should also cover the regulation of emissions of fluorinated gases that are rapidly increasing.


The agreement on emission reductions will need to be underpinned by a complex interplay of different sources of funding, both private and public ones, at the international and bilateral level. Investments to reduce global emissions need to increase gradually. This involves not only costs but also investments that will be conducive to cost-efficient energy savings, creation of new jobs and higher long-term competitiveness.

The Communication proposes the use of new sources of funding, for instance international auctions of a part of the quotas for developed countries. Contributions to climate protection funds should be based on the polluter-pays principle and each country’s economic capability. All countries will need to contribute, except for the least developed ones. The costs of timely adaptation should be partly covered by the Adaptation Fund. For priority areas in urgent need for financing a new global financial mechanism has been proposed. Energy-related R&D investments should be doubled by 2012 and increased to four times its current level by 2020.

Global carbon market

All OECD countries should put in place national emission allowance trading schemes by 2013, the integration of comparable systems should be carried out by 2015 and all major polluters should be integrated by 2020. The reform of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will be an important item on the agenda of the Copenhagen negotiations. In particular it needs to be ensured that in the future only projects that demonstrably lead to emission reductions, which otherwise would not be achieved, are credited. Also the rules for using credits under various trading schemes need to be coordinated in order to facilitate their future integration.