As responsible governments prepare for a global climate treaty in Paris
next year, Europe is leading by example. In October European heads of state
unanimously endorsed a binding deal that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by
forty percent over the next 15 years compared to 1990 levels. They also adopted a non-binding series of agreements that would increase energy efficiency and renewable
This is yet another reason to buoy optimism that a global climate agreement
can be reached in 2015. Some Europeans wanted even more ambitious targets to further reduce the
continent’s reliance on natural gas and provide jobs in the green energy
Europe’s leadership is welcome news as we await a draft climate treaty
which is scheduled to be produced in Lima, Peru this December. National
declarations are due in the early part of 2015. It is clear that the world must
go far beyond the tepid pledges made at the Copenhagen talks in 2009.
The talks in Durban and Cancun as well as the recent talks in New York give
us reason to hope that progress is possible.
“We have sent a strong signal to other big economies and all other
countries: we have done our homework, now we urge you to follow Europe’s
example,” the EU climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said.