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15 February 2016

COP 21 – Agenda of Solutions

In the wake of the success of the COP21, Ségolène Royal sought to meet her counterparts from the European Union and put the commitments of the Agenda of Solutions into practice. Organised jointly with the Netherlands, which holds the Presidency of the EU till June, this first European meeting was an opportunity to define the next steps with a view to finalising the 70 initiatives of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) by the summer.
Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
 
The EU played a frontline role in the success of COP21: Europe was the first continent to propose an ambitious contribution (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Member States created momentum that spurred on the other countries of the world and thus contributed to the success of the COP21. The EU must remain at the vanguard to finalise and put into practice the commitments of the Paris Agreement and the Agenda of Solutions.
 
On 12 February, before her European counterparts, Ségolène Royal appealed to the Member States to send their highest level representatives to the signing of the Paris Agreement by the Parties in New York on 22 April, and to fast-track the ratification process.
 
As concerns the Agenda of Solutions, the minister has proposed three key steps:
 
  • work together to map the LPAA coalitions in order to make the commitments more visible and more tangible;
 
  • ensure that each country or small group of countries in Europe plays a proactive role in a coalition to ensure that the commitments are operational by the summer;
 
  • encourage European companies to continue to push for growth in the energy transition markets on the continent.
 
In addition, four priorities have been identified to support carbon pricing:
 

1. Set up a price corridor on the European carbon market (EU ETS)

The process involves setting a minimum and maximum market price to delimit price fluctuations, reduce volatility and improve the predictability of the carbon price. The minister stated that “this mechanism would make it possible to trigger much more low-carbon investment and help to reduce the cost of support for renewable energies, which would gain in competitiveness”.
 

2. Incorporate a carbon tax in the energy tax systems of European countries

France has already implemented its climate energy contribution, set in 2016 at €22 per tonne, with a projected increase to €56 per tonne by 2020 and €100 per tonne by 2030. Ségolène Royal emphasised that “this carbon tax must be accompanied by the application of a principle of tax neutrality so that it will not lead to an increase in mandatory contributions, but only to a transfer of taxation to fossil fuels”.
 

3. Encourage the institution of carbon pricing outside the EU and support the countries that are implementing carbon pricing.

The objective is to rally all countries and companies that are committed to implementing carbon pricing around a set of common principles, such as the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels and the convergence of carbon prices. According to Ségolène Royal, “the objective is not to impose for everyone a single price, or a single means of determining the carbon price, but to encourage the gradual extension of the range of emissions covered by carbon pricing”.
 

4. Take the necessary measures to prevent carbon leakage

Ségolène Royal reiterated “the need to better target the free allocation of quotas by reserving them to cases in which it is necessary, i.e. for sectors exposed to strong international competition and a real risk of carbon leakage”. Thanks to such a development, the quotas freed up could instead be used to bolster funding for innovation (NER 300 and NER 400) and to finance the development of low-carbon technologies using revenues from the European carbon market. These four steps will be advocated by Ségolène Royal during the forthcoming key stages in the application of the Paris Agreement, including the Environmental Council on 4 March 2016.

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