The Slovenia Times

Vizjak hails EU adopting joint position for COP26 conference

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Luxembourg - The EU environment ministers adopted on Wednesday a joint EU position for the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which includes an agreement on a five-year time frame. "For the first time in many years the European delegation is going to the climate conference with a clear position on time frames," Slovenia's Andrej Vizjak said.

The Slovenian Environment Ministry said that the ministers had adopted decisions determining the position of the EU at the COP26 conference in November. It notes the need to facilitate the global response to the climate emergency and the need for just climate transition in the entire world.

Vizjak said at a press conference after the meeting in Luxembourg that consensus had been reached about the only remaining open issue, that is the time frames as one of the fundamental pillars supporting the goals of the Paris climate accord.

In line with the agreement, the European delegation in Glasgow will look to establish a five-year joint time frame, the minister said, adding that it was a compromise agreement that he sees as an important achievement of the Slovenian EU presidency.

"With these decisions the EU keeps a leading role in the efforts for a global agreement for an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and for achieving the Paris agreement," Vizjak added.

The ministers also formally discussed the Fit for 55 legislative package for the first time, after the European Commission presented it in July. According to the Slovenian EU presidency, the member states focused on expansion of the emission trading scheme on buildings and road transport.

Vizjak said it was of key importance that the package was discussed as a whole. "This is not self-service, where you can take what you like, and leave the rest," he said, noting that some delegations had yet to fully analyse what the proposals meant for their economies and citizens.

Over a working lunch, the ministers discussed the global framework for biodiversity until 2030, with the predominant opinion being that biodiversity needs to be included in all relevant policies and that it significantly contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Vizjak summarised the debate by saying that the positions of the member states were different in terms of this issue, which meant that certain flexibility was needed.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius also pointed to the importance of biodiversity and added that the international community must support ambitious goals regarding provisions on financing.

The EU wants to be an example in this regard, and it is thus determined to double the funds, in particular for the most vulnerable countries, he added.

This was the first meeting of the EU environment ministers under the Slovenian EU presidency, with the Slovenian environmental NGO Umanotera calling on the ministers on the occasion to adopt adequate and just climate policies.

The NGO said that the Fit for 55 package in the current form was not in compliance with the latest scientific findings and with the goal to limit the heating of the planet by 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.

What is also important for the social and political acceptability of the package is that it is created in a fair way, meaning that every sector must contribute their fair share in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Umanotera said.


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