Europe’s environment ministers have called for the Paris agreement, concluded last December at COP21, to be ratified as quickly as possible, both at EU and member state level.
Sharon Dijksma, the Dutch environment minister who will sign the Paris agreement on behalf of the EU when the Netherlands takes over the rotating Council presidency in July, said the EU Environment Council hoped to send a “strong signal to begin the ratification procedure as quickly as possible”.
During a public debate in Luxembourg on Monday (20 June), Dijksma said the EU must “be party to the agreement as it comes into force”.
This will occur 30 days after the agreement has been ratified by at least 55 of the 195 UN countries representing at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
François Hollande added his signature on 8 June, making France the first G7 and G20 member to secure the adoption of the historic treaty. Hungary had ratified the Paris Agreement just a few days earlier.
The Paris agreement must be ratified separately by the EU and each individual member state. But this requirement is likely to cause the EU to miss the entry into force of the agreement, particularly if the major CO2 emitters, like the United States, China and India, complete the procedure before the begining of next year.
The European Parliament’s calendar has led some, including French Environment Minister and President of the COP 21 Ségolène Royal, to hope for a conclusion to the deal at EU level by this autumn.
“We all have our own procedures” for integrating the treaty, said Dijksma. She stressed that the procedure in her own country would require changes to the constitution, which may take some time. “The member states are really doing all they can to accelerate the procedure.”
Several member states indicated in Luxembourg that they were eagerly awaiting the Commission’s proposals on how efforts to tackle climate change should be shared out between EU member states. The proposals are expected by the end of July.
While the EU agreed as a bloc to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, the 28 countries still have to agree on how this objective should be reached. Discussions on this point promise to be tense.