Last December, 195 countries gathered in Paris to negotiate a new global climate agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The result – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal – sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 20C. To further underline their determination countries also agreed to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1,5oC.
Now, 10 months on from that historic outcome, the European Union (EU) remains proud of the ambitious Paris Agreement and Nigeria should be too. However, there is no room for complacency after the success of the Paris Conference; for the vision of a global low emissions future to materialise, our attention needs to turn to putting our words into action.
Already this year, we have seen encouraging signs that our partners around the world are keen to maintain the unprecedented political momentum in support of climate action. More than 180 countries have now signed the Paris Agreement and 22 have completed their domestic ratification procedures and become Parties to the Agreement. We congratulate Nigeria on its announced plans to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement later this month.
Ratification is an important step towards implementation of the Paris Agreement but ratifying the agreement on its own will not deliver the necessary greenhouse gasreductions, adaptation action and financing. Equally important are the steps countries will take to meet the commitments made in Paris, starting with the policy and legislative frameworks required to develop robust national climate plans and international approaches.
The EU and its Member States are taking concrete implementation very seriously. We are moving forward with our ambitious domestic climate policies, with new proposals that will help us meet our emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030 and further drive the transition to a low-carbon economy. We hear and understand concerns that taking action against climate change can affect economic growth. But we have found that the opposite is true: our emissions have decreasedby 23% since 1990, while GDP has grown by 46% in the same period. During these years we have created new jobs, businesses, technologies and competitive advantages that prepare us better for the new climate compatible economy.
The EU has more than two decades of experience in developing and implementing an ambitious climate policy, but we know that many of our partners are doing so for the first time. We stand ready to share our experience and lessons learned for the benefit of others – in fact we already have extensive climate policy co-operation with some of our key partners. Developed countries/major economies have a special responsibility to take the lead, in both domestic action and in supporting the most vulnerable countries to make the transition to low-carbon, climate resilient economies. The EU co-operates with Nigeria for an increased use of renewable energy, mainly solar power, and supports the energy sector to improve access to electricity for rural communities. We also contribute with planting and regenerating of trees, promote clean cook-stoves and the reduction of fuel wood consumption. The EU and its Member States stand ready to support Nigeria in delivering her Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This could be done through reducing gas flaring, developing solar energy, improving the efficiency of gas-to-power stations, and through formulating “green” policies, in particular in areas of transport and agriculture.
As well as developing long-term climate strategies, there are actions we all need to take now. In just a few months, countries will gather in Marrakech to start to add the technical detail to the breakthrough political agreement in Paris. Building capacity to act, addressing loss and damage associated with climate change and setting out a roadmap to reach climate finance targets are just some of the issues on the table. Before then, countries will also aim to reach multilateral agreements on limiting aviation emissions and phasing out highly climate warming gasses used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
And it is not just governments taking action. Businesses, cities and civil society all have a crucial role to play in delivering the action on the ground that will really make a difference.
Paris was a defining moment in the safeguarding of the planet for future generations.We must maintain that momentum in the months and years ahead, because the prize is worth it: lower emissions, greater energy security and energy efficiency, innovation-driven growth. There is lots of work to do, and we look forward to continued partnership with Nigeria.
Co-signed by EU ambassador, Michel Arrion; EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS; France’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Denys Gauer; High Commissioner of the UK, Paul Arkwright and High Commissioner of Germany to Nigeria, Dr Bernard Schlagheck