Environment ministers were briefed by Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on the result of last year’s Rio+20 conference and the upcoming negotiations for a new globally binding climate deal agreed by 2015 and in place by 2020.
The ministers discussed a communication that the European Commission, published last month on possibilities for the new agreement. Poland is hosting this year’s UN climate summit in the autumn, and it is hoped that a new deal can be finalised at a summit in Paris in 2014. Two UN negotiating sessions are taking place in Bonn at the end of this month.
According to people involved in the discussions, ministers are increasingly focused on making sure a new deal is practical enough to be agreed by the EU’s global partners. Phil Hogan, Ireland’s environment minister, said after the discussion that there is a “central need to have a broad-based and implementable agreement which is applicable to all.”
Jos Delbeke, director general of the Commission’s climate department, said recently that a new deal might be left without a high level of detail in order to make sure all countries were on board. That deal could then be ‘ratcheted up’ in later years to make sure it could deliver results that would limit global temperature rise to the 2°C that scientists say is necessary to avoid extremely serious climate change. Ministers expressed strong interest in this idea.