EU-US Summit Dominated by Climate Change

climate-summit-at-the-white-house3 November 2009: Climate change featured in several outcomes of the first EU-US Summit since the Obama Administration took office.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, representing the EU Presidency, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana met with US President Barack Obama in the White House on 3 November 2009, to discuss climate change and other topics.

In the resulting EU-US Summit Declaration, they commit to promote an ambitious and comprehensive international climate change agreement in Copenhagen, aiming at a global goal of 50% global emissions reductions by 2050 and reflecting the respective mid-term mitigation efforts of all major economies, including developed and emerging ones. The EU and US also undertake to mobilize “substantial financial resources” to support adaptation by “the most vulnerable” and enhanced mitigation actions by developing countries. They further commit to strengthen efforts to develop strong and well-functioning carbon markets, which were considered “essential” to engage emerging and developing countries in ambitious emissions reduction actions.

In an Annex to the Declaration, containing a Statement on Development Dialogue and Cooperation, the EU and the US re-launch the High-level Consultative Group on Development with a view to holding annual meetings at ministerial level to advance and guide their respective cooperation policies. The EU and the US commit to promote enhanced cooperation in developing countries of mutual interest to ensure effective and efficient actions to combat climate change, concentrating efforts on the development aspects of climate change and focusing on adaptation. In addition, they undertake to work together to assist developing countries in developing and implementing effective low-carbon strategies and taking ambitious actions to mitigate the effects of climate change, in light of the outcomes of the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Another Annex to the Declaration concerns the establishment of new energy cooperation between the EU and the US. It provides for the creation of an EU-US Energy Council at ministerial level, to deepen the dialogue on strategic energy issues of mutual interest, foster cooperation on energy policies and further strengthen research collaboration on sustainable and clean energy technologies. It is stipulated that cooperation will focus on environmental and energy technology research and the deployment of environmentally-friendly technology. The Energy Council is tasked with: studying diversification of energy sources, such as through increased use of liquefied natural gas, solar power, wind power and biofuels, and the use of nuclear power; discussing effective promotion of global energy security on the basis of transparent, stable and non-discriminatory global energy markets and diversified energy sources; and fostering energy policy cooperation, bilaterally and with third countries, aimed at improving energy security, enhancing energy efficiency, and deepening research, development, demonstration and deployment of sustainable and clean energy technologies. The Energy Council is expected to hold its first meeting on 4 November 2009. [EU Presidency press release] [EU-US Summit Declaration]