The European Union must follow Scotland’s leading climate law and make much stronger commitments to fighting climate change to increase the chance of achieving a just and effective global climate agreement.

Pledges made so far by developed countries fall far short of what science says is needed for the world to stand a decent chance of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.

The negotiating positions of rich countries, including Europe, also fail to promote ‘climate justice’ by seeking to impose higher obligations on poor countries, without even committing additional financial support for such action.

Europe has made an inadequate 20% emission reduction target for 2020. Even its promise to increase this to a 30% target dependant on other parties’ commitments falls short of what is needed, especially as it includes huge amounts of offsetting which does not deliver real cuts in emissions.

European governments have failed to decide what financial contribution they will make to support developing countries to mitigate their emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Europe must up step up to global leadership, and agree to at least 40% emissions reductions by 2020. Expert analysis shows that cuts of 40% are feasible and affordable – not just in Scotland, but across Europe. Across Europe politicians have acknowledged our historical moral responsibility for climate change: now Europeans must to put our money where our mouths are. Europe’s governments must make a clear commitment about how much new money they are willing to pay to developing countries to help them to tackle climate change.”

“Rich countries are responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today and must immediately commit to steep and legally binding reductions of their emissions. These reductions must take place without offsetting and without other false solutions such as agrofuels, nuclear energy or so-called ‘clean coal’,” said Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria.

Friends of the Earth Europe demands that in Copenhagen the EU must:

-commit to at least 40% domestic emission reductions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, without offsetting. The so-called “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) should be abolished as it deters the structural changes necessary in Europe to green the economy and deliver emission reductions. The majority of CDM projects do not deliver real emission cuts and many have devastating social and environmental consequences in the global South.

-deliver its fair share of the finances needed by developing countries for mitigation, technology and adaptation. This needs to be new, public money additional to existing development aid. The money must be administered by the UNFCCC in a central fund. Any funding outside of the UN, including the World Bank’s climate investment funds, and any financial transfers made as part of offsetting schemes should not count as fulfilment of developed country commitments.

-commit to a legally binding UN agreement and a continuation of the Kyoto Protocols which obliges developed countries to make further commitments on cutting emissions and provide finance and technology to developing countries. Attempts to derail the Kyoto Protocol must be stopped.

-keep forests out of carbon markets. Existing forests should be protected by halting deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion of forests into plantations. Any agreement on deforestation should be a rights-based approach and should not include carbon markets or plantations.

-ensure that the next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has a strong compliance regime that ensures that emissions in industrialised countries go down year by year. Too many parties, including a series of EU member states, have so far failed to deliver their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The urgency of climate change requires emission cuts to be delivered within short timeframes.

For a calendar of planned Friends of the Earth activities in Copenhagen and a list of FoEI spokespeople, please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
T: 0131 243 2719

Notes to editors

A new study published by Friends of the Earth Europe and Stockholm Environment Institute on December 1 proves for the first time that Europe could achieve at least 40% domestic emissions reductions by 2020 without resorting to measures like agrofuels, nuclear power or carbon capture and storage.

The full report ‘Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge: Domestic Actions and International Obligations to Protect the Planet’ is available at: www.foeeurope.org and www.sei-international.org/climateshareeurope

Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk