Thursday 20 September, 2018

EU Ambassador Wasilewska on climate change concerns

 EU Ambassador to Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska.

EU Ambassador to Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska.

Below is an op-ed article by the EU Ambassador to Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska

The scale of the climate challenges we face today and in the future is clear.

The adverse effects of climate change are already being felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet and its people. Moreover, they could undermine both the development gains made over many decades and the prospects for achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

The Paris Agreement on climate change – the landmark global agreement adopted by almost 200 countries in 2015 – sets out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change. It has set the direction of travel for the global transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies and societies.

However, we already know that on aggregate the emissions reduction targets put forward by countries in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5°C. The upcoming special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will unfortunately show us that the window to stay within these limits is closing very fast. This is why we must continue to raise our collective ambition and speed up the implementation and operationalisation of the Paris Agreement.

This year, governments and stakeholders from round the world are getting together to assess how far we have come since Paris and to look at solutions and possibilities to enhance action under the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’. Taking place throughout 2018, this facilitative process – inspired by the Pacific tradition of ‘talanoa’, an open and inclusive dialogue – is the first opportunity since Paris to look at our collective efforts so far, as well as opportunities to increase global ambition.

The European Union sees the Talanoa Dialogue as a key moment to focus on the solutions and potential associated with the low-carbon transformation, while also enhancing cooperation and trust. It also sets the tone for the EU’s annual EU Climate Diplomacy week celebrated this week.

Another important deliverable for the international community this year is adopting the Paris Agreement work programme – detailed transparency and governance rules for putting the agreement into practice. Adopting this “rulebook” at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland, is vital. A clear and comprehensive set of transparency rules will enable us to track and demonstrate the progress being made around the world and give all sides – developed and developing countries alike – a shared framework to deliver on our shared vision.

The European Union is well-advanced in putting in place its domestic legislative framework for delivering its target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.  This includes, for example, revising the EU emissions trading system for the period after 2020, setting national emissions reduction targets for sectors not covered by emissions trading, and integrating land use in our climate legislation. These key pieces of legislation were all recently adopted, and further proposals on clean energy and mobility are in the pipeline.

In parallel, we are looking beyond 2030. In March 2018, European leaders asked their executives to present, within 12 months, a proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction, following a similar request form the European Parliament. The Commission will make its proposal ahead of COP24 to provide a solid foundation for a Europe-wide debate. 

Simultaneously, the Union is stepping up international cooperation and support to partners outside Europe, for example through policy dialogues, capacity-building projects and climate finance. The European Union, its Member States and the European Investment Bank contributed EUR 20.2 billion in public climate finance towards developing countries in 2016.

In this area, the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP) is providing approximately (€61.5M) in support to climate change, disaster management and sustainable energy. Specific objectives of the programme include improving regional resilience to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters affecting sustainable development; supporting capacity development and promoting energy efficiency as well as the development and use of renewable energy.

Importantly, this support will facilitate implementation of the CARICOM Energy Policy and the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Road Map and Strategy (C-SERMS) among others.

In Jamaica, the European Union has dedicated €16.55 million EUR or J$2.5 billion to support actions related to Climate Change, the Environment and Forest Management under the Budget support modality.

The money will assist the Government to implement the Forest Policy of 2017 as well as the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan (NFMCP 2016-2026)). The support is intended to assist Jamaica to sustainably manage and utilise its forest resources for enhanced social and economic development and to build the country’s climate resilience.

The EU is also a partner in the Energy Management and Efficiency Programme, which aims to reduce Jamaica's dependence on imported fossil fuel, reduce the import bill and contribute to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  The EU contribution is being funded through the Caribbean Investment Fund (CIF) a regional EDF Programme.  Through the CIF the EU is providing a grant of €9.14 million (J$1.3 billion/US$10.0 million) that is twinned with loan resources from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US$15 million; and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) US$15 million.

In specific terms the programme is seeking to reduce electricity consumption within government facilities by retrofitting and equipping 7 hospitals with renewable energy (solar panels) and provide related training on environmental issues.

 

While the Paris Agreement sets the direction of travel, the journey has only just begun. Going forward, all countries will need to the foster the right environment to enable this transformation to continue, supporting a long-term structural change in energy systems worldwide and shifting and scaling up investments that contribute to it.

Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth is possible for countries at all levels of income and brings multiple and tangible benefits for people, the economy and the environment. The EU is committed to work with all partners, including Jamaica to continue this journey together.
 

This is an op-ed article by the EU Ambassador to Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska