CLIMATE CHANGE

Whilst overshadowed by the US election result, negotiators to the Marrakech climate conference remained upbeat in their conclusions following the COPP 22 round. Almost 200 countries met in Morocco for the annual UN gathering, against the backdrop of the rapid ratification and entry into force of the landmark deal. With the Paris Agreement coming into force on the 4th November 2016, the COP22, the Marrakech climate conference (COP22), dubbed the Action and Implementation COP, was characterised  by a more practical approach to put words into action.

The European Commission has co-produced a new interactive tool consisting of 3 million satellite images collected over the past 32 years. The Global Surface Water Explorer is a new online interactive mapping tool that will be accessible to everyone and serve to improve European and global policies for example on climate change and water management. The maps, developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre and Google Earth Engine, highlight changes in the Earth's surface water over the past 32 years.

Speaking in Brussels before Christmas, Commissionr Miguel Arias Cañete, responsible for Climate Action, said that the current EU legislative targets would remain in place following the COP21 agreement in Paris.  He confirmed that it would be for the next European Commission to decide on whether to strengthen the 40% emissions reduction target for 2030 (agreed by EU leaders last year) after the first of the ‘five-year stock takes’ set up by COP21 had taken place.

COP21 succeeded in agreeing in Paris on Saturday a comprehensive agreement binding all 195 countries to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and work towards a 1.5°C goal.  Two weeks before the agreement was signed, reference to 1.5 degrees seemed a pipedream.  Nevertheless, almost 24 hours over the alotted time for the negotiations, on Saturday evening, the President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: "I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled

As 200 countries gather in Paris today for COP21 or the the 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) there is a growing sense of optimism that an agreement can be secured.  COP21 gets underway this morning under heavy security around the Bourget venue North of Paris. The objective will be to find a legally binding deal that will cap global warming at no more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The European Commission has announced an ocean energy action plan in European seas and oceans by 2020 and beyond. As part of the two-step action plan, the European Commission will set up an Ocean Energy Forum, a lead body to guide EU support for research and innovation in ocean energy.

MEPs in a vote last Wednesday backed a legally binding package of climate and energy targets for 2030. The resolution calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 40%, increasing renewable energy by at least 30% and improving energy efficiency by 40% and was adopted by 341 to 263 votes. The package put forward by MEPs differs from the Commission’s recently proposed energy and climate framework for 2030.

The European Parliament has approved the “backloading” of CO2 permits. The plan freezes the auctioning of a portion of CO2 permits to boost their price and encourage firms to invest in low-carbon innovation. The measures, amended by the Parliament in July set stricter conditions for the freeze and are intended to restore the incentive effect of the Emissions Trading System, which is designed to curb CO2 emissions.

The European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on new EU legislation aimed at curbing climate-damaging F-gases (fluorinated greenhouse gases). European Parliament rapporteur Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA) welcomed the agreement as a “vital addition to the EU’s arsenal of measures to tackle climate change”

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