The EU’s commissioner for climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, recently described the preparation process for the climate change conference as “painfully slow”. Sabine Froning, Head of Vattenfall’s PRA and Stakeholder Relations, agrees that the preparations for the Paris conference need to be speeded up.
“It’s going too slow. For the conference to be fruitful, a lot of negotiations have to be done before the final round in Paris. Today only 56 countries representing 60 per cent of the carbon emissions have handed in their contributions. Several important countries such as India and Turkey are still not there,” she says.
Binding agreement the goal
The purpose of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 21, held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December, is to reach an international agreement valid for all countries to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. This implies that carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut by 60 per cent by 2050 compared to 2010.
“On the positive side, both the US and China are on board this time, which is important to reach a binding agreement. This is a big change compared to previous climate conferences,” she says.
To bridge the gaps and enhance the likelihoods for an agreement, a number of pre-meetings are held prior to the Paris conference. For example, one important working group is meeting in Bonn on the last of August, and on 18 September, the EU’s ministers for environment will meet to finalise the union’s contribution to the COP 21 conference.
ETS an important instrument
Vattenfall is in strong support of a binding global climate agreement to reach the 2 degrees target.
“Vattenfall regards the emissions trading system, ETS, as the most important instrument to transform energy production into a sustainable solution. An international agreement would give momentum to the ongoing work in the EU to make the ETS policy more solid,” Froning says.
“Our wish is that the conference will reach a binding agreement with clear targets and regular review processes that will make the commitment trustworthy. If this global objective is not reached, all effects in the EU risk going to waste.”
The future is present in Paris
Vattenfall will be present at the Paris conference. Besides executive key notes, Vattenfall is sending a number of school children from its Swedish project “Gnistan” to Paris to show their innovative future energy solutions at the Sustainable Innovation Forum held in connection to the UN conference.
“Basically it’s their future that is discussed in the conference, and we want to give them the opportunity to show their ideas to the rest of the business world,” says Sabine Froning.