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EU Foreign Affairs Council Calls For Greater Climate Change Ambition, Steps Up EU Climate Policy

European Union foreign affairs ministers put out a call for increased and strengthened global ambition on tackling climate change, and restated their own commitment to leading the way on commitment to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. 

European Union foreign affairs ministers put out a call for increased and strengthened global ambition on tackling climate change, and restated their own commitment to leading the way on commitments to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council — composed of the foreign ministers from all EU member states — met on Monday and called for the global community to strengthen its efforts to support the “swift implementation” of the Paris Climate Agreement. In a document outlining the Council’s conclusions from their meeting, they stressed “the crucial importance of a shared rules-based order … and reconfirms that the EU will continue to lead the way in the global pursuit of climate action, so as to fully implement the Paris Agreement and to achieve the 2030 Agenda.”

The Council’s conclusion also noted “with great concern the strong scientific evidence presented in recent reports pointing to the acceleration of climate change and the fast closing window to hold collectively the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

Beyond highlighting the myriad concerns presented to the Council and apparent across the world — increasing threats to water resources and the danger of climate change acting as a threat-multiplier — the European Union Council emphasized and recommitted to its own goals and targets, promising “EU commitment through action — at all levels,” with its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as the “cornerstone” for driving “ambitious climate action in national policy making.”

Documents like this are filled with words like “EMPHASISES” and “UNDERLINES” and “REITERATES” — serving to acknowledge the threat while, in restrictive legalese, seeking to encourage extra effort and urgency.

“With 2018 a crucial year for accelerating our work to turn the Paris Agreement into action, the EU is stepping up its efforts to reach out to countries and stakeholders all around the world,” said Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. “We are determined to continue playing a leading role in delivering on the promises of the Paris Agreement – and we want everybody on board.”

Looking forward, the European Union’s commitment to climate and security issues will also be a core tenet of the upcoming high-level event to be held in Brussels in June at the initiative of Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.

The Foreign Affairs Council also highlighted 2018 as the year of the Talanoa Dialogue — a collaborative process which is intended to review progress towards the global goals enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement ahead of the upcoming COP24 meeting, to be held in December in Katowice, Poland. “The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good,” goes the description, penned by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.”

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