Environment ministers fear the Paris Agreement will come into force without the EU

The international community must act soon to keep global warming below +2°C by the end of the century. [David Stanley/Flickr]

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.

Stop planning how to implement Paris Agreement – just start doing it

Private companies want to play a major role in climate action, but they need clear signals that governments are serious about their commitments, writes Nannette Lindenberg.

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.”

The EU needs to raise its climate ambition to secure investment in the future

The European Union must wake up to a new post-Paris Agreement reality. It needs an ambitious climate action plan to regain its credibility as a “climate leader” and send the right signals to investors, argues Hans-Josef Fell.

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.

Coal lobby chief: COP21 means 'we will be hated like slave traders'

EXCLUSIVE / The coal industry’s European lobbying association has said that the landmark deal to cap global warming at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris means the sector “will be hated and vilified, in the same way that slave traders were once hated and vilified”.

Subscribe to our newsletters