Reaching agreement on the EU’s energy and climate package before this year’s UN conference in Poland is crucial if the bloc is to retain its position as the “motor” of international action on climate change, argues French State Secretary for Ecology Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet in an interview with EURACTIV France.
“An agreement on the energy and climate package must be found quickly,” said Kosciusko-Morizet, warning that member states “still haven’t agreed on the practical details” of this.
World leaders are set to open discussions on a post-2012 climate change agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Pozna?, Poland in December 2008, ahead of the December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen where the deal will be finalised.
“Everyone knows the importance of reaching agreement for Pozna?, not just for Europe but for Europe’s credibility in the world and for future climate change negotiations,” said the state secretary, adding: “Europe is the motor here, and if we break the motor, the car won’t move.”
EU environment ministers met in Saint-Cloud last week (3-4 July) to outline their positions on the issue. Their objective was to “create a positive dynamic at the beginning of the French EU Presidency,” she said, highlighting “a shared sense of urgency” regarding the need to reach agreement by December. “It went very well,” she added.
Meanwhile, Hungary is leading a group of seven newer member states in demanding that the reference date to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 must be 1990 rather than 2005 as the Commission has suggested (EURACTIV 06/07/08).
Kosciusko-Morizet says the French EU Presidency is “sensitive to their arguments and the risk of putting the entire package in jeopardy”. But she insists that “at the moment, they are in the minority and their demands are strongly contested by other countries and the Commission itself”. What’s more, “changing the reference date would change the whole balance of the package,” she warned.
Finally, the state secretary stressed that nuclear would continue to play an important role in France’s future energy mix. “France has always been very clear on this point,” she said.
To read the interview in full on the EURACTIV France website, please click here (French only).