June 28, 2015 | Sunday

European Union launches climate change diplomatic efforts ahead of Paris talks

28Climate change is one of the major challenges of the 21st century, presenting major risks for our planet, international prosperity and security. Consequences include rising sea levels, more frequent and intense heatwaves, more extreme fire risk days, increased water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement of vulnerable people. Climate change impacts are already being felt around the world, affecting human lives, the environment and our economies. Without sustained climate action, these impacts will have considerable consequences for our way of life and that of future generations.

The European Climate Diplomacy Day was marked on 17 June 2015, with events occurring simultaneously across the European Union, with the aim to raise awareness of climate change issues and to encourage informed debate, in view of securing a fair, ambitious and legally binding international agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) at the 2015 Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21). The European Union itself has taken a commitment to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 in comparison to 1990 and stands by its responsibilities in providing support to partner countries around the world.

“Climate change does not belong to a remote future. It is all around us. It affects us directly”, said High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini in her message on this occasion. “The EU feels the urgency of the moment. We are addressing the emergency all around the world, by helping the most vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change,” added Mogherini.

In 2015, France will be hosting and presiding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), otherwise known as “Paris 2015” from November 30th to December 11th. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. France will therefore be playing a leading international role to ensure points of view converge and to facilitate the search for consensus by the United Nations, as well as within the European Union, which has a major role in climate negotiations.

Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs and international development of French Government in his message of introduction ahead of the COP 21 conference in Paris, said that the goal of the United Nations Climate Change Conference is simple: achieving a global agreement to ensure that our planet remains a healthy environment for us to live in. “We know that we are under threat of appalling climate disruption with an impact that cuts across all, if fail to act now. We therefore have a historic responsibility as we are the first generation to really become aware of the problem and yet the last generation that can deal with it,” said Fabius.