Europe’s Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete has warned that time is running out for countries to assert their positions ahead of the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in late November/early December.

More than 140 countries have not yet made public their contributions to the conference.

Cañete said that “the window of opportunity to meet our target of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees is closing fast”, and added that there were only 10 negotiating days left until the Paris meeting, referring to the August and October UN negotiating session where the many outstanding issues remain to be discussed.
Technical negotiations must go faster, more countries should come forward with ambitions contributions, and more importantly, the key elements for a success in Paris must be defined, he said.

Euractiv reports that the conference is to be a topic at the UN General Assembly in September, the World Bank and the IMF meeting in October, and the G20 gathering in November. But in the negotiating rooms, progress has been painfully slow, the Commissioner warned, explaining that the technical talks were eclipsing the political discussion. “This must change,” he said.

The EU was the first major economy to submit its contribution, Cañete said, referring to the document proposing a binding emission reducing target of at least 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This is the most ambitious contribution presented up to now, he added.

So far 56 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), representing 61 per cent of global emissions. But that represents only about a quarter of all UN member states, with key countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey not yet having contributed.

The European Commission and Morocco, the next Presidency of the climate negotiations, will host an international forum on 12-13 October in Rabat, Cañete explained. The goal will be to exchange views on the aggregate effort of the contributions before Paris, and to discuss what needs to be done to stay on track with the 2-degrees objective.

Paris needs to send a credible signal to the world that governments are serious about climate change, Cañete argued. “The objective is very clear – Paris must be the tool to fight global warming for the century”, he concluded.

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