Environment Council to define global EU leadership on biodiversity and climate

Posted on 04 October 2018

On Tuesday (9 October), the Environment Council will meet to develop EU recommendation ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24), and to finalise conclusions on the preparations for the COP 14 meeting of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity.

Brussels, Belgium - 4 October 

On Tuesday (9 October), the Environment Council will meet to develop EU recommendations ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24, 3-14 December in Katowice, Poland), and to finalise conclusions on the preparations for the COP 14 meeting of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15, 17-29 November 2018, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt).

This Council meeting takes place the day after the release of the UN IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C, which outlines the massive differences half a degree will make for human communities and ecosystems. WWF urges Member States to base their decision-making on this ground-breaking evidence, taking into account the following recommendations for a clear, robust and effective Paris Agreement work programme.
What will WWF be looking out for?
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 and decline thereafter if we are to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. To this end, WWF urges Member States to accelerate their pre-2020 climate action. The pre-2020 climate and energy policies will be critical in setting the foundation for an effective and just transition to low-carbon climate-resilient societies.
  • Current Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs), which run from 2020 to 2030, commit the planet to a dangerous 3°C+ warming pathway.
    Accelerated implementation of current NDCs is essential to bend the business-as-usual emissions curve, and to reverse their current 3°C trend. The earlier the EU will confirm its readiness to improve its 2030 NDC, the more it will galvanise other countries to do the same. Much has happened since most Parties submitted their NDCs -- both in the policy-making realm and in the real economy -- that can help Parties recalibrate their national goals.
  • Further emissions reductions will be needed in subsequent periods, beyond the NDCs 2020-2030 timeframe, to remain under the 1.5°C limit. WWF encourages the EU to aim for net zero emissions in the EU by 2040 [1].
  • Developing a durable and effective ambition mechanism, which is part of the Paris Agreement’s implementation guidelines, is central to progressively building resilience, over the coming years and decades. WWF urges that the purpose, inputs, functions, processes, outputs and ultimate outcomes of the ambition mechanism be kept in clear sight as Parties negotiate across Agenda items.
“The UN IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C has laid out how paramount it is for the global community, led by the EU, to reach the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C,” stated Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate & Energy, WWF European Policy Office. For WWF, progress in three areas is critical to put the world on this trajectory of a 1.5°C limit in temperature rise: Accelerated action in pre-2020, raising ambition of the EU NDCs by 2020, and the 5-year ambition cycle or ambition mechanism.”
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP14
During the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the CBD in Egypt, Parties will decide on the process to adopt a new global strategic framework to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity at CBD COP15 in China in 2020.
  • WWF’s Living Planet Report shows biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates. In Europe, we are not on track to meeting the 2020 target of halting biodiversity loss. Without an ambitious, integrated, and high-level response, this trend will continue to worsen. The EU needs to step-up efforts to fully implement the EU Biodiversity Strategy. WWF is advocating for a Global Deal for Nature and People to be adopted in 2020 with the aim of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.
  • The EU must be a leading advocate for a strong global post 2020 biodiversity framework with an ambitious mission and tangible targets. In addition, the EU should advocate for a better and more effective implementation and accountability mechanism in the new strategy.
  • The significant delays in achieving the Aichi Targets both in the EU and globally are to a large extent due to the lack of political will, weak implementation and insufficient financial support. Furthermore, subsidies harmful to biodiversity, especially in the area of agriculture and forestry, undermine efforts to stop biodiversity loss.
  • Mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into different sectors is therefore critical to address key drivers of biodiversity loss.
  • An effective and comprehensive resource mobilisation strategy needs to be completed as part of the full post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Given the ongoing loss of nature and the need for restoration, current EU financial resources to implement the goals of the CBD are insufficient, so the EU should increase funding commitments in the next decade.
“All indicators are in red as human activities are currently driving us into the 6th mass extinction. The EU needs to become a champion for nature protection both locally and globally, and the level of ambition and political commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss needs to be raised. Mainstreaming nature protection into other sectors is crucial and in this respect the EU is failing at home. We just need to look at the CAP proposal that is currently being discussed, which continues to protect intensive agriculture, a key driver for biodiversity loss” said Sabien Leemans, Senior Policy Officer, Biodiversity, WWF European Policy Office.
Note to editors
[1] WWF position: the EU's long-term climate strategy. Available at: http://www.wwf.eu/media_centre/publications/?uNewsID=330758
Angelika Pullen
Communications Director
+32 473 947 966

Imke Lübbeke
Head, Climate & Energy
+32 2 743 88 18

Sabien Leemans
Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer
+32 486 800 437
ACT 8: Providing links to climate change science
© WWF / Dr Lucy Hawkes