France calls on EU countries to step up climate action

Climate/COP21/Lima-Paris Action Agenda – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs

Paris, 12 February 2016

A few weeks after the success of COP21, Ségolène Royal wanted to bring her European Union counterparts together today and specify the commitments in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. Organized jointly with the Netherlands, which holds the EU presidency until June, this first European meeting provided an opportunity to specify guidelines for finalizing the 70 initiatives in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) between now and this summer.

Europe was at the forefront in making COP21 a success: the European Union was the first continent to propose an ambitious contribution (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The member states thus managed to get the world’s other countries to actually follow suit, contributing to COP21’s success. The European Union must retain this vanguard role when it comes to finalizing and implementing in practice the commitments of the Paris Agreement and the Action Agenda.

Before her European counterparts, Ségolène Royal called on the member states to be represented at the highest level during the signature of the Paris Agreement by the parties in New York on 22 April, and to speed up the ratification process.

On the Action Agenda, the Minister proposed three major guidelines:

- To consider together the mapping of LPAA coalitions, to make commitments more transparent and perceptible;
- To ensure that each country or small group of countries in Europe spearheads a coalition so that commitments are operational by this summer;
- To encourage European businesses to remain on the offensive to develop energy transition markets on the continent.

Moreover, four priorities for carbon pricing were recalled:

- To establish a price band on the European carbon market (EU ETS): the mechanism allows market price fluctuations to be kept between a minimum and a maximum in order to reduce volatility and improve the predictability of carbon prices. The Minister recalled that “this mechanism would enable us to trigger many more low-carbon investments and reduce the cost of supporting renewable energy, whose competitiveness would be improved”.

- To include a carbon component in European countries’ energy taxes: France has already created the Climate Energy Contribution, set at €22 per tonne for 2016, increasing to €56 per tonne in 2020 and €100 per tonne in 2030. Ségolène Royal emphasized that “this carbon component must be accompanied by the inclusion of a fiscal neutrality principle so that it leads not to an increase in taxes and contributions but only to a shift of taxation towards fossil fuels”.

- To urge carbon pricing to be established outside the European Union and coordinate those countries which take action: the aim is to bring together all those countries which commit themselves to this, on the basis of shared principles like abolishing fossil fuel subsidies and harmonizing carbon prices. For Ségolène Royal, “the aim isn’t to impose on everyone a single price, or a single way of setting the carbon price, but to promote a gradual increase in the coverage of emissions by carbon pricing”.

- To take the necessary measure to combat carbon leakage: Ségolène Royal reiterated “the necessity of better targeting the free allocation of allowances by reserving it for cases where it’s necessary, for sectors exposed to strong international competition and a genuine risk of carbon leakage”. Thanks to this change, allowances issued could be used to strengthen innovation funds (NER300, NER-400) and finance the development of low-carbon technologies on the basis of revenues from the European carbon market.

The four guidelines will be promoted by Ségolène Royal during the next key stages in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, particularly the Environment Council of 4 March 2016./.

Published on 26/10/2016

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