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Climate Action
News article25 November 2015Directorate-General for Climate Action4 min read

Paris climate conference: historic opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change

The European Commission today presented its position and objectives ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris on 30/11–11/12. Commission President Juncker and Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate..


The European Commission today presented its position and objectives ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris on 30/11–11/12. Commission President Juncker and Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate in the conference, along with other world leaders.

The European Commission today underlined the crucial importance of reaching a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate deal at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris from 30 November-11 December.

The European Union will be working to achieve a comprehensive, durable and dynamic agreement that will accelerate the global shift to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies. This will not only help curb climate change and increase societies' efforts to adapt to its impacts, but also underpin long-term economic growth and sustainable development in the EU and globally.

President Juncker said: The EU wants an ambitious and binding global deal in Paris. We were the first to table our climate pledge in March and it is still the most ambitious contribution. Our goal of holding global temperature rise below 2°C by the end of the century is still within reach. We are witnessing a global movement like never before. I hope this will translate into action during the negotiations next week. If the world delivers in Paris, the humanity will have an international regime to efficiently combat climate change.

Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "This is it. Paris is a historic opportunity that we cannot miss. Now we must translate the momentum we have seen on the road to Paris into an ambitious, operational, legally binding agreement. More than 170 countries, covering over 95% of global emissions, have already unveiled their climate pledges ahead of the conference. This is a real game changer. It is also clear evidence of governments' shared sense of urgency and political determination to make Paris the beginning of a new chapter in climate governance. But there is no room for complacency – the credibility of the deal will depend on these key elements: a long-term goal, regular reviews to increase ambition over time and strong transparency and accountability rules."

EU position

The increase in the global average temperature needs to be held below 2°C above the pre-industrial levels in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. For the EU, the new agreement must send a clear signal of governments' resolve to reduce emissions sufficiently to keep temperature increase below the agreed limit by the end of the century.

The EU's vision of a credible agreement includes:

  1. A global vision for a long term goal as a signal for stakeholders, including businesses, investors and the public, of the resolve to shift to low-carbon economies;
  2. A mechanism to regularly review and raise the collective ambition;
  3. A robust transparency and accountability system to ensure that Parties and stakeholders can trust that what is promised will be delivered.

Climate finance

The EU remains committed to delivering its share towards achieving the developed countries' joint goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. A recent report by the OECD and Climate Policy Initiative showed that USD 62 billion was mobilised in 2014, putting developed countries well on track to the USD 100 billion goal. The EU has been the major contributor to this funding.

On 10 November, EU finance ministers confirmed (IP/15/6045) that the EU and its Member States provided EUR 14.5 billion in public climate finance (grants and loans) in 2014. This figure constitutes a significant increase compared to previous years. At least EUR 14 billion, an average of EUR 2 billion per year of public grants from the EU budget, will support activities in developing countries between 2014 and 2020.


The EU regards ambitious action to prepare for and respond to the effects of climate change to be a central part of a balanced agreement. Both emissions reductions and adaptation will be essential to manage and reduce the risk of adverse impacts of climate change, including addressing the risk of loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.

Events during COP21

The EU strongly supports the Lima Paris Action Agenda – an initiative of the Peruvian and French COP Presidencies aimed at catalysing multi-stakeholder action. A programme of events has been organised around the themes of the Action Agenda that offer non-state actors such as businesses, cities and organisations, the possibility to make announcements or highlight inspiring examples on topics. The themes include, for example, the role of forests, transport, buildings and renewable energy in the fight against climate change.

More than 100 side events will be held at the EU Pavilion at COP21, mirroring these daily themes.

EU representation

The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission will be jointly responsible for negotiating on behalf of the EU in Paris.

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Publication date
25 November 2015
Directorate-General for Climate Action