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The Road to Copenhagen 2009 – The European Union and Climate Change Action




With the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, the EU Centre has come up with a background brief giving an overview of the European Union’s (EU) climate change policy, as well as the position of the EU in working towards a post-Kyoto climate change agreement. The EU has been a leader in global climate change policy making since the 1990s, and was the principal force in advocating the most stringent measures to mitigate climate change in the preparations leading up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.  As the Kyoto Protocol’s targets are set to expire in 2012, international negotiations have been taking place since the end of 2007 to prepare for the new agreement aimed to be finalized in Copenhagen this December. The EU position with regards to the new agreement is proposed based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, includes areas previously uncovered by the Kyoto Protocol, and considers the sustainability of the current actions proposed. The EU also recognises the importance of financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and has emphasized that the public contribution of each developed country should be fair and comparable and should be negotiated as part of the deal at Copenhagen. The outcome of the Copenhagen Summit is uncertain as a global deal not only depends on the efforts by the EU but will necessitate commitment from the US and other major developing economies as well.