MEPs urge new global climate deal by 2008

The European parliament agreed on Wednesday a resolution calling on the EU to push for agreement by 2008 on a global climate change framework for the period after 2012. Adopted on Wednesday, the resolution suggests a series of priorities for EU negotiators at international climate talks in Montreal later this month.

MEPs rejected an amendment calling for a formal mandate as well as a timetable for negotiating future climate commitments. Before the vote, UK environment minister Margaret Beckett representing the EU presidency said: "We can't just march in to Montreal and dictate how [other countries] should go about their business." Ms Beckett said that the talks would be a success if the EU managed to "get a dialogue and a process going".

Also speaking in the debate, EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said that "the time has not yet come to set concrete targets." He added: "The EU has an open mind on developing countries. It's clear we can't expect the same mandatory requirements."

The resolution also proposes priorities for EU action, including a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020. EU governments, and the parliament's own environment committee, have instead backed a vaguer 15-30% emissions cut by all industrialised countries.

MEPs backed a call for average new car CO2 emissions to be brought down to 80-100 g/km in the medium term. They called on the European commission to make proposals for EU-wide ecotaxes, and for member states to agree the first of these by 2009.

EU industry group Unice criticised the call for a unilateral greenhouse gas reduction, arguing that it would seriously damage the European economy, "with little or no environmental impact". It called for a global cooperation framework involving all countries.

Republished with permission of Environment Daily



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