History of Leadership

The European Union has a pivotal leadership role to play and its civil society is calling on it to reclaim the mantle of responsibility in international climate talks.

At the 1990 negotiations on the Climate Change Convention, the EU provided developed country leadership in international climate policy by pushing for stringent international commitments.

In the 1997 negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol the EU proposed the deepest emission cuts among the developed countries and accepted the highest reduction target.

Changing Role?

Today the lack of EU leadership has been in stark contrast with its historical role.

The EU has watered down its stance on the Kyoto Protocol by stating that its preferred option would be a single legal instrument that would subsume the Kyoto Protocol, and with it, the principle of historical responsibility that underpins the existing climate regime.

Today civil society groups in Europe are calling for deep emissions cuts domestically and for the EU to honour its international legal obligations.

Key Demands:

  • Recognizing that developing countries are calling for at least 45-50% domestic (no offsets) reductions on emissions on 1990 levels by 2020 by EU countries.
  • A commitment to the Kyoto Protocol second commitment period.
  • A rejection of new market mechanisms and the roll-back of existing environmentally dubious offset programmes.
  • The provision of ‘new and additional’ (to committed international aid and existing promises) climate finance to match the scale of the need required.
  • Finance from public sources, such as international transaction taxes, not through carbon markets.

More Information:

For the latest updates on Europe and climate change please click here.

Below are some civil society assessments of the EU and its policies:

You may also be interested in the following sites:


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