EU calls for clean energy focus at UN climate talks

Technical, not political, talks on efficiency and renewables should form basis of pre-2020 climate ambition, says EU

Pic: European Parliament/Flickr

Pic: European Parliament/Flickr

By Sophie Yeo

Technical discussions on topics such as energy efficiency and renewables should form the basis of global efforts to tackle climate change more ambitiously between now and 2020, the EU has said.

In a submission to the UN’s climate body ahead of the next round of talks in June, the EU said that technical discussions among experts were the best way to boost climate ambition over the next six years, rather than political discussions among policymakers.

This approach was trialled at the last round of talks in March, where experts discussed areas of with high mitigation potential in Technical Expert Meetings.

The EU said that they found these meetings to be “an extremely useful and constructive way of working” and demonstrated that there is “substantial mitigation potential in renewable energy and energy efficiency, that much of this can be realised at low and even negative cost, and that there is considerable scope for cooperative action.”

They added that these meetings should not be considered “one off events” but as the “start of a multi stakeholder initiative to scale up action” and that further meetings should form the core of the UN’s work at the next round of meetings in June in Bonn.

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Increasing ambition on reducing emissions is part of the overall UN discussions on how to tackle climate change.

The EU says they see particular potential for energy efficiency, renewables, reducing deforestation and HFCs. The 28-state bloc has an official target of reducing emissions 20% by 2020, which it is currently on track to surpass.

But the result of all mitigation pledges that countries have taken across the world still put the planet on course for dangerous levels of climate change.

A recent report from UNEP on this ‘mitigation gap’ found that current annual emissions are already 14% above the average estimate of emissions levels in 2020 consistent with a likely chance of staying below 2C.

In order that policymakers can take advantage of the results of the advice of the technical experts, the EU has recommended that the main outcomes from the last round of talks be captured in a “Summary for Policymakers” that can guide further discussions in June.

They wrote: “The outcomes of the technical process need to feed into political processes if we are to achieve results.”

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