Poland Caves To Pressure, Ready For Unconditional Ratification Of Paris Climate Deal

  • Date: 21/09/16
  • Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg & Coral Daveport, The New York Times

European Union member states expressed “no strong opposition” to a plan for fast-track approval of the global climate accord next month, boosting the chances that the 28-nation bloc could achieve a symbolic triumph by triggering entry into force of the historic accord.

Leaders of the EU, which seeks to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, last week promised a quick approval by the bloc of the climate agreement that was reached by more than 190 nations in Paris in December.

Ambassadors representing national governments on Wednesday agreed to continue talks next week on drafting a declaration that environment ministers could adopt at their extraordinary meeting scheduled for Sept. 30, according to two EU officials with knowledge of the meeting in Brussels. The ministerial statement would address concerns by some member states by highlighting the special circumstances of the union-level ratification, which would occur before most EU nations finish their domestic approval procedures, said the officials.

Under a scenario sketched by the Slovak presidency of the EU, the bloc could finalize the union-level approval of the Paris climate agreement at the beginning of next month. The special ministerial meeting, where decisions will be taken unanimously, would be followed by a plenary vote of the European Parliament at its Oct. 3-6 session in Strasbourg, France. The final stage would be a formal sign-off by national governments before Oct. 7. The domestic ratification procedures in many countries will continue afterward.

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Poland Ready To Ratify Paris Agreement This Year

The New York Times, 21 September: […] A breakthrough in the quest for quick ratification came this month when the European Union, which represents about 10 percent of global warming emissions, set an Oct. 9 vote to join the agreement, with or without action by its member states. The bloc has pledged under the Paris agreement to cut its emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, but not all of its 28 member states are yet prepared to approve their individual climate pledges.

That push gained unexpected momentum on Tuesday when President Andrzej Duda of Poland declared before the General Assembly that he expected his government to legally join the deal this year. It had been widely expected that Poland, one of Europe’s heaviest coal polluters, would object to the broader European body’s effort to move forward without all of its member states.

“What is important is the heritage that we leave to our children and grandchildren — how they will remember us, and how they will write about us in the history books,” Mr. Duda said.

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