Commission welcomes North Korea’s ‘embrace’ of Paris climate agreement

Climate warrior Kim Jong-Un? [Prachatai/Flickr]

The European Commission has welcomed North Korea’s announcement it is ready to “embrace” the Paris Agreement to cap global warming.

The “Hermit Kingdom” is ruled with an iron fist by Kim Jong-Un. The Soviet-style dictatorship was one of the just ten countries, including war-torn Syria and Libya, not to sign up to the landmark deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last December.

195 nations agreed to limit global warming to below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, through a system of regular reporting on the progress on their climate pledges – their Intended Nationally Determine Contributions (INDCs).

Jos Delbeke, the European Union’s top civil servant for climate action, on Tuesday (24 May) said that North Korea had signalled it would be coming forward with an INDC.

The pariah state signed the Paris Agreement on 22 April, but it is yet to come forward with its pledge.

Speaking at a European Policy Centre event on energy efficiency and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Delbeke said Pyongyang had said it was “embracing the Paris Agreement”.

“We were all a little bit surprised,” Delbeke admitted, “but that is very welcome that North Korea is looking at its options for carbon reduction.”

One delegate at the Brussels event called out, “Perhaps they can stop firing rockets?”

A smiling Delbeke replied, “No comment.”

Reclusive rogue nation North Korea is also still to deposit its instrument of ratification. This is proof that the agreement has been legally prepared for at national level.

Given that Jong-Un wields supreme executive power at the barrel of gun, passing the necessary laws is not expected to be a problem.


Delebeke was speaking at the 23 May launch of a study into the role of ICT in reducing carbon emissions in the EU.

The research highlighted how ICT can help fight climate change and promoting growth and prosperity across the EU.

It found;

  • ICT has the potential to reduce 37% of the EU’s total emissions, equivalent to planting 500m hectares of trees or 65% of the landmass of Australia, in 2030;
  • Enabled by ICT would be close to 19 times greater than its own emissions;
  • ICT stands to generate new revenue of €678 billion and cost savings of €643 billion including savings of €442 billion through e-Learning or remote health solutions;
  • €236 billion in additional ICT revenues generated through new products and services and increased use of ICT and related services.

Despite the benefits of ICT, Delbeke warned that there were limits to what changes the European Commission could force to ensure its potential was fully exploited.

He pointed to the British and German outcry over eco-design rules for hoovers and kettles.  Energy efficiency rules needed to be made at the level of the appliance, he said.

“There is generally an irritation factor when too many detailed regulations are made that are intrusive to the lives of the citizen,” Delbeke said.

“The example of the kettle in a number of member states provided quite a bit of emotions,” he said.

The Commission has delayed new eco-design rules until after the British referendum on its membership of the EU.

World governments in December agreed a historic international agreement to fight global warming at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

Almost 200 nations agreed a deal to cap global warming at “well below” two degrees above pre-industrial levels, with a reference to a lower, long-term 1.5 degree target in the text.

COP21 celebrations, but governments must mind the emissions gap

World governments today (12 December) agreed a historic international agreement to fight global warming at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.


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