EU climate chief: “We need to be more ambitious” | TBEN | 27.10.2021

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EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told TBEN he would have preferred all leaders to be present at COP26, the historic climate summit scheduled to take place in Glasgow from October 31. .

The presidents of Russia and China are among those who intend or are likely to send envoys to the conference instead of attending in person. Critics fear other leaders will fail to strike a meaningful deal for the planet without them.

“Of course, it would have been better if everyone had been present,” European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans told Marina Strauss of TBEN in Brussels.

“But what is more important than the presence of the leaders is their commitment to fight the climate crisis, their commitment to reduce their emissions,” he said. “And all of these leaders have made some relatively bold statements over the past two months. So let’s see what happens.”

“It’s the commitments that matter, not just the presence.”

Clarity on China’s climate plans

Timmermans, who will act as the European Union’s chief negotiator at COP26, is due to meet in London on Wednesday with China’s special envoy on climate change.

“I hope to get more clarity on China’s plans,” Timmermans said ahead of the meeting. “I hope we can exchange information on the three main topics of the discussion, namely the ambition to reduce emissions, climate finance and everything related to the rules of the game.

“So I hope we can clarify the situation in China – I will certainly clarify the situation in the EU, and I hope that together we can lay the groundwork for a positive outcome at the COP.”

Aerial view of the world's largest floating solar power plant, in Huainan City, east China's Anhui Province, June 7, 2017

China has announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2030, one of the fastest times in the world

More action on climate finance

Plans released by the UK government on Tuesday suggest that a commitment by developed countries to provide $ 100 billion (€ 86.2 billion) per year in climate finance to the poorest countries will not be met until 2023. The The original goal was to achieve this goal by 2020.

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“I wish it had happened sooner, but we’ll get there,” said Timmermans.

Pressed to know if Europe has let down developing countries, he defended the bloc’s record.

“I think the EU has not failed,” he said. “The EU is one of the biggest contributors to funding, even beyond the percentage we have in the global economy. The EU is therefore the ally of the developing world.

Rich countries ‘can’t ask for more’ without providing funding

However, Timmermans issued a stern warning: “I have to be very, very clear: if we are not able to provide this funding, we really cannot ask developing countries to do more.

“They have to be able to adapt and mitigate their emissions, but more importantly to adapt to these new conditions, and they cannot afford to pay for everything themselves. So we really need the 100 billion dollars. dollars to make sure we help the developing world do what is necessary for its people, ”he said.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has previously called on other countries to leave a “gaping hole” in climate finance for poorer states, and urged the United States to “step up”.

The world “not ambitious enough” on climate policies

A United Nations (UN) report released on Tuesday said countries’ existing commitments were not enough to avert catastrophic climate change and the “endless suffering” it would cause.

Without urgent action, global temperatures could rise 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.86 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century, the report warned.

“We are not ambitious enough,” said Timmermans. “So at the COP, we have to try to find a consensus that will bring us to a situation where we stay well below 2 degrees [Celsius]. “

“We have to do more. We have to be more ambitious.”

Countries' current emission reduction targets don't go far enough, UN warns

New report shows countries’ current climate change is insufficient

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