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Commission outlines future climate change policy

Publication date: 09 February 2005

The European Commission adopted today a communication (COM(2005) 35 final - SEC(2005) 180) setting out future policies of climate change. It also includes a set of proposals designed to structure the future negotiations of the EU with its global partners over climate change policies after 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto protocol ends. These proposals open the door to bring major emitters but also rapidly emerging economies on board.


The Commission document underlines that the transition to a climate-friendly society offers economic opportunities for the EU, reinforcing its Lisbon agenda. Proposals are made on how to develop increased energy efficiency and security of energy  supply, including an increase in EU spending on research, and the development of new climate-friendly technologies for which demand is growing. This Commission communication has been requested by EU heads of state and government, who will be discussing medium and longer term reduction strategies including targets at the Spring Council.

climate_change_communication.pdf (184 KB)


The Commission's report recommends that the EU's post-2012 strategy include the following elements:
- Broader international participation in reducing emissions. The EU should continue to lead multilateral efforts to address climate change, but identify incentives for other major emitting countries, including developing countries, to come on board. During 2005, it should explore options for a future regime based on common but differentiated responsibilities.
- Inclusion of more sectors, notably aviation, maritime transport and forestry since deforestation in some regions significantly contributes to rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
- A push for innovation in the EU to ensure the development and uptake of new climate-friendly technologies and the right decisions on long-term investments into the energy, transport and building infrastructure.
- The continued use of flexible market-based instruments for reducing emissions in the EU and globally, such as the EU emissions trading scheme.
- Adaptation policies in the EU and globally, which require more efforts to identify vulnerabilities and to implement measures to increase resilience.


In preparation, the document recommends
- accelerated implementation of existing policies that reduce emissions (e.g. measures identified in the White Paper on Transport Policy such as infrastructure charging, the revision of the Eurovignette Directive and measures encouraging a modal rebalancing towards rail and waterborne transport need to be fully implemented) and which foster new technologies
- raising public awareness
- more focused research
- increased cooperation with third countries and
- the launch of a new phase in the European Climate Change Programme to review progress and identify further options for cost-effective emission reductions.


The Communication also lists 15 technologies which have been identified in a recent study as the most promising to reduce greenhouse gases (see Annex 3), e.g. improved fuel economy of vehicles, reduced reliance on cars and biofuels. Each of them potentially reducing emissions by 3.6 Gt CO2 per year by 2050.


The EU's goal to limit global average temperature increases to max. 2° C above the pre-industrial level was agreed by the Council in 1996. The Kyoto Protocol, which will enter into force on 16 Feb. 2005, requires industrialised countries to reduce their emissions.


For further information:
- Communication (COM(2005) 35 final - SEC(2005) 180)
- Memo/05/42: Winning the Battle against Global Climate Change 
- Commission Staff Working Paper  

climate_change_communication.pdf (184 KB)

climate_change_memo.pdf (388 KB)

climate_change_background.pdf (729 KB)

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