Press Statement: Labour MEP hails EU role in historic climate change deal

December 12, 2015

Seb Dance MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on the Environment, today warmly welcomed the historic deal reached in Paris to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, and hailed the pivotal role played by the EU.

Mr Dance MEP, part of the European Parliament's delegation in Paris, said:

"I warmly welcome this momentous agreement. This deal has exceeded expectations of what was achievable, striking a level of ambition that should help protect future generations from the worst excesses of climate change. Many long-held barriers have now been overcome and the Paris Agreement can be seen as the first major step towards a sustainable future.

"The EU has played a pivotal role, standing firm on red lines and forming coalitions across the world that have helped to deliver this deal. Such solidarity on tackling climate change could not have been achieved without the cohesion that the EU, at its best, can offer. 

"Being part of the EU has given us a considerable level of extra clout and shows we can achieve much more together, than on our own."

Today’s historic and ground-breaking international accord was signed between more than 190 countries in Paris. The measures agreed are aimed at limiting warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The EU played a leading role in securing the deal, gathering together a group - "The High Ambition Coalition" - of developed and developing countries. The coalition had been formed over many months but was finally revealed in the second week of negotiations. 

The EU's presence comprised the Commission, Member-States and representatives from the European Parliament.

The EU's crucial role, which effectively afforded each Member-State two seats around the table, is highlighted by the lead taken on several key aspects of the deal:

  • The EU’s political clout was pivotal in forming the "High Ambition Coalition" that started with EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, and grew to include the US, Canada and Brazil; all united in calling for an ambitious warming target of no more than 1.5°C
  • The EU ensured that a review process takes place every five years from 2018-19; with new commitments prepared in 2021.
  • The EU announced that there would be a doubling of grants for climate finance from the EU budget up to 2020, reaching about €2 billion per year. This was pivotal in securing support from developing countries, where opposition to action on emissions has long been a sticking point.
  • The EU ensured that language referring to the 'just transition', human rights and the rights of indigenous people was kept in despite the opposition from many
  • The EU battled hardest and longest to keep in shipping and aviation, laying the groundwork for future agreements on inclusion

Ends.

For further information please contact Emily Iona Stewart at emilyiona.stewart@europarl.europa.eu or on +32 477 92 81 06.

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