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Climate change: EU attends roundtable in Canada

Climate change: Commissioner Dimas to attend informal ministerial roundtable in Canada

Building a common understanding on future global action against climate change will be the focus of an informal ministerial roundtable organised by the Canadian Government 23-24 Sept. 2005 in Ottawa. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas intends to gauge the positions of international partners, present EU views on key issues in the debate on future action, and help build momentum for more formal discussions at the UN climate change conference in Montreal in Nov./Dec. 2005. On his first visit to Canada, Commissioner Dimas will also discuss wider EU-Canada environmental cooperation with Canadian Environment Minister Stéphane Dion.

"Both Europe and Canada experienced severe droughts this summer, and in Europe we also suffered devastating forest fires and floods. These events underline the need for further international action to tackle climate change," said Commissioner Dimas. "I very much welcome Minister Dion's initiative to organise this meeting. It is an excellent opportunity for all the key players to exchange views in order to prepare the basis for an agreement to start formal discussions of a future climate change regime in Montreal."

The roundtable

The Canadian government has invited ministers to the roundtable to discuss possible features of a future climate change regime, such as a broad participation; the use of market-based instruments; the full exploitation of existing climate-friendly technologies and the rapid development of new ones; the integration of climate change into global sustainable development; and measures needed to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change. Ministers from many EU Member States will also attend the roundtable.

During the meeting, Commissioner Dimas will have a number of bilateral meetings. With Minister Dion, Commissioner Dimas will also discuss wider EU-Canada environmental cooperation and particularly explore ways to step up cooperation in the fight against global biodiversity loss.

The roundtable is being organised as part of preparations for the international climate change conference that will take place from 28 November to 9 December in Montreal, Canada. This conference will be the 11th Conference of the Parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1st Meeting of the Parties to its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Future EU climate change policy

In February the Commission issued a Communication that underlined the need to step up global efforts to combat climate change if the EU's target of limiting global temperature rise to no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels is to be met (see IP/05/155 and MEMO/05/42). It also emphasised that the EU should first explore options for a future regime with the other players.

The Communication identified a number of essential elements that the future climate change regime should be based upon. These include broad international participation, a push for innovation, the continued use of market-based instruments to reduce emissions cost-effectively, the inclusion of all greenhouse gas producing sectors and all greenhouse gases, and the development of adaptation policies. The Spring Council - the traditional spring summit meeting of EU leaders - and the Council of EU environment ministers both welcomed this approach in March.
For more information, see the Commission's web site on future action against climate change at:

http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/future_action.htm

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