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European Commission Releases Strategy on Global Action after Copenhagen

9 March 2010: The European Commission (EC) has released a strategy to help maintain the momentum on global action to tackle climate change after the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. The strategy is contained in a Commission Communication titled "International climate change policy post-Copenhagen: Acting now to reinvigorate global action on climate change."

The strategy supports the swift implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, particularly the fast-start funding. According to the Communication, the EU should continue to advocate for a robust and legally binding global agreement that involves all countries, integrating the Copenhagen Accord into the UN negotiations. The Commission suggests focusing first on the adoption of a balanced set of concrete, action-oriented decisions at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010, and then continue work leading to the adoption of a legally binding agreement in South Africa in 2011, at COP 17.

The Commission notes that the Kyoto Protocol will remain the central building block of the UN process but recommends addressing the question of its limited coverage of big emitters and its serious weaknesses, such as banking of surplus emission budgets from the 2008-2012 period into future commitment periods and accounting rules for land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions from developed countries. In this respect, the Commission commits to assess the merits and drawbacks of alternative legal forms, including of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

On the release of the Communication, Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, noted that unfortunately, "the signals coming out of various capitals of big emitters" make it unlikely to "get everything done in Mexico."  She added that in Copenhagen, "the world had a unique chance and did not use this to its full. We now have to secure the momentum and to do our utmost to get specific and substantial results out of Cancun and to secure no later than in South Africa an agreement on the legal form.” [EU Press Release] [The Communication]