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Please welcome... the Paris Protocol and the Energy Union !

By Miriam Eisermann on 27 February 2015

Two major, strategic documents released by the EU Commission in one week! It’s time to take a closer look at what Vice-President Sefcovic and Commissioner Cañete have presented.

#Paris2015

The European Commission published the EU’s roadmap to Paris 2015 on February 25th. This "Communication on the Paris Protocol" outlines EU ambitions for the COP21 climate negotiations. World leaders gathering in Paris in December are meant to adopt an international binding climate agreement to limit climate change to 2°C.

What does the EU aim for?

  • Call for a 60% reduction of global emissions by 2050 compared to 2010, with monitoring and review of the targets;
  • Call for the creation of a strong momentum for climate action around some major contributors to global emissions such as G20 countries, especially China and the US;
  • Definition of mechanisms to assist developing countries in the decarbonisation process;
  • Outline of the European Union’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), which is in line with the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.

Although it calls for minimal levels of emission reduction, the roadmap reaffirms the leading role that the European Union has in terms of international climate policy.

Yet, Energy Cities believes that the Commission’s Paris Protocol missed the opportunity of integrating cities and communities in the COP21 framework. Just recently in Lima their potential had been acknowledged! Energy Cities will work on putting forward the role of cities in the global transition to a post-carbon society through its very own Roadmap to Paris. We will notably engage this issue during our Annual Conference in Aberdeen where climate-engaged mayors and other high-level politicians will discuss the needed new energy governance on 23 April.

#EnergyUnion

Simultaneously to the Paris Roadmap, the Commission released a communication on one of the biggest challenges of its term: the Energy Union. Vice-President Sefcovic announced the basis for the future framework of European energy policy, including regulation on gas contracts and large energy infrastructures. Overall, Energy Cities regrets that cities and communities are left out of the energy production and energy security dimensions of the Energy Union. This is a missed opportunity to send the strong signals that committed mayors are waiting for.

On a more positive note: Cities, communities and citizens are at the core of the energy efficiency and internal energy market priorities of the Energy Union. Energy Cities’ can but encourage the European Commission to go that way! The Commission notably puts forward the role of the Covenant of Mayors in energy efficiency action, recognising the role of cities. It also opens the door for financing local energy efficiency actions under the Juncker Plan, which is extremely positive as mayors need a direct access to financing.

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