EU lawmakers rally behind bloc’s position for COP26 climate talks

FILE PHOTO: General view of the ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe plant in Duisburg, Germany, January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Lawmakers on the European Parliament environment committee on Tuesday swung behind EU governments’ position for the COP26 climate summit, where countries will try to finalise rules to put the 2015 Paris Agreement into effect.

The United Nations summit, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, will seek to clinch more ambitious targets from countries to cut emissions, and finish the “rulebook” for how countries set targets and track progress under the Paris deal.

In a 60-15 vote, the European Union parliament’s environment committee said the rulebook should require countries to set national climate targets every five years.

That stance is likely to be confirmed by the full parliament in a vote next week, lending weight to the 27-nation EU’s negotiating position at COP26.

EU countries last week confirmed they will support five-year targets in the negotiations – a stance shared by the United States and African countries, who say a relatively short cycle would keep up pressure on countries to revise targets deemed too weak. Others, including major emitters China and India, oppose a fixed five-year cycle.

“The most thorny issue is probably the rulebook,” Finnish lawmaker Nils Torvalds told Reuters. “That’s one issue where we need to find solutions, because without the rulebook we might be in dire straits.”

European lawmakers, who will join the EU delegation to COP26 but not take part in the technical negotiations, also urged all G20 rich nations to commit to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The EU has set that goal into law, but large emitters including Russia and Saudi Arabia have not yet committed to become climate neutral.

The EU should also form a club with other major emitters to coordinate their climate policies, including carbon border tariffs, the lawmakers said.

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