On 2 March 2016, the European Commission published the Communication "The Road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement and accompanying the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change".
This Communication represents an an assessment of the implications for the European Union of the new global climate agreement adopted in Paris in December 2015 looking at the next steps in the process and how the Paris Agreement will be implemented in the EU.
Key elements of the assessment:
The Paris Agreement: The Paris Agreement is the first multilateral agreement on climate change covering almost all of the world's emissions. It is a success for the world and a confirmation of the EU's path to a low carbon economy. The EU's negotiation strategy was decisive in reaching the Agreement.
Signature and ratification: The early ratification and entry into force of the Paris Agreement will give the legal certainty that the Agreement begins operating quickly. Therefore, the Paris Agreement should be signed and ratified as soon as possible. Today's assessment accompanies a proposal for a Council decision on the signing of the Paris Agreement on behalf of the European Union.
Periodic reviews: The EU will need to be ready to participate in the review processes under the Paris Agreement designed to ensure the achievement of the goal of keeping climate change well below 2°C and pursuing efforts towards 1.5°C.To develop an understanding of the implications of a 1.5°C goal, and as the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was inconclusive on this aspect the IPCC has been requested to prepare a special report in 2018. The EU will provide input to the scientific work being carried out internationally for that purpose. Further, by 2020, all countries should communicate their mid-century, long-term decarbonisation strategies. To facilitate the preparation of the EU's strategy, the Commission will prepare an in-depth analysis of the economic and social transformations in order to feed the political debate in the European Parliament, Council and with stakeholders.
2030 climate and energy legislation: In October 2014 the European Council agreed on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the EU setting an ambitious economy-wide domestic target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2030. The Paris Agreement vindicates the EU's approach. Implementing the 2030 energy and climate framework as agreed by the European Council is a priority in follow up to the Paris Agreement. The forthcoming legislative proposals should be fast-tracked by the European Parliament and the Council.
Energy transition: The EU needs to consolidate the enabling environment for the transition to a low carbon economy through a wide range of interacting policies and instruments reflected under the Energy Union Strategy, one of the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission.
Global diplomacy and global action: The EU will need to step up its international climate diplomacy to maintain the political momentum and support other countries in the implementation of the Agreement and their climate plans. In this respect, the EU remains committed to scaling up the mobilisation of international climate finance.
The immediate next steps are the signature and ratification of the Paris Agreement. The Agreement will open for signatures on 22 April 2016 in New York, and enter into force when at least 55 Parties representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified.
The Commission will present during the next 12 months the key remaining legislative proposals to implement the 2030 framework. This includes proposals for an Effort-Sharing Decision for sectors not covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme and on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), legislation to set up a reliable and transparent climate and energy governance mechanism for the post-2020 period, and the necessary policy proposals to adapt the EU's regulatory framework in order to put energy efficiency first and to foster EU's role as a world leader in the field of renewable energy.
Copy of the Communication: