Paris Agreement enters into force: Time for the EU to roll up its sleeves

By voting ‘yes’ to the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the European Parliament guaranteed its entry into force.

The Agreement calls on states that have ratified to pursue their highest possible ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are monitored through a reporting mechanism.

The overall goal is thus for countries to take action to keep global temperature rise this century below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, while at the same time using their best efforts to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees, aiming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The required threshold of ratifications is thus met before 7 October 2016 and the agreement will now enter into force in time for the beginning of the next UN climate change conference (COP22) that will take place in Marrakesh on 7 November 2016.

As we often underlined, this ratification should only be the first step, as we must then move urgently to action. The European Union must step up to the next level and make sure it does its fair share towards reaching the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This will mean concrete and strong progress in climate policies and targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050. As Greens, we will keep asking for much greater ambition on energy efficiency and renewables, without which we will simply not be able to put into practice the deal reached in Paris.

In practical terms “the European Union now needs to roll up its sleeves in three areas” said the European Green Party Co-Chair Reinhard Bütikofer. “The energy transition, the mobility transition, and the finance transition. In these three areas it isn’t just about future climate policy - it’s also about the future of our economy and society. The European shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies can’t stand still midway if we want to retain future competitiveness. And it’s also out of economic rationality that the finance sector is pulling its investments out of fossil energies to invest in ecological alternatives.”

“The European Union has the necessary instruments at hand to lead an economic transformation” Bütikofer added. “As a 'Transformation Union', the EU can set high standards, for example in the context of the Capital Markets Union by asking financial actors to disclose the sustainability of their assets. The EU should not squander this opportunity.”

“The EU must now deliver accordingly” added the Co-Chair Monica Frassoni. “We await an equal ambition and determination from the part of the European Commission in delivering before the end of the year an ambitious Energy Union legislative package, in line with the just ratified commitment of pursuing the goal of keeping global temperature increase at 1.5°C. The targets we have on the table now for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency are far from enough.”

Moreover, according to a new study by several NGOs led by Oil Change International, coal mines and oil and gas fields that are currently in production already contain enough carbon to carry the climate past the two-degree mark. This means, if the Paris Agreement is taken seriously, no new fossil fuel infrastructure can be built anywhere. That is why in 2016 we as European Greens campaign for divestment from fossil fuels. You can find more information on the Fossil Free 2016 campaign here.

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