Delegation of the European Union 
to the United States

Speech by Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at Global Climate Action Summit Opening Plenary

San Francisco, 18/09/2018 - 23:09, UNIQUE ID: 180918_20
Statements on behalf of the EU

Speech by Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at Global Climate Action Summit Opening Plenary, 13 September 2018

Your Excellencies, distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to have this opportunity to address you today – and I would like to thank the co-chairs of the summit for bringing us together.

This inspiring event and the hundreds of events going on alongside it show the determination of people from all over the world, from all parts of society, to accelerate the global transformation that we urgently need.

This summit is about “taking ambition to the next level”.

How can we do this? I would like to outline three key building blocks:

The first is commitment: maintaining and stepping up our efforts.

The European Union is deeply committed to the Paris Agreement, to the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. And we are delivering.

We have completed our framework of laws and support mechanisms to meet our Paris pledge to cut emissions domestically by at least 40 percent by 2030 – and bring clean energy to our citizens.

And putting a price on carbon is working. The EU already has a good track record in decoupling emissions from economic growth for the past decades.

We are also deeply committed to helping others make the transition, especially the most vulnerable. The EU will continue to show leadership and to step up international cooperation and support to partners worldwide.

That brings me to my second point, cooperation: We have to meet this global challenge together.

So I am very pleased to announce today that Governor Brown and I have agreed to enhance our cooperation on carbon markets, to contribute to putting the Paris goals into action.

I am convinced that the experience and leadership of both California and the European Union can help boost opportunities and ambition in this key area.

We are going to step up exchanges on our cap-and-trade programmes, to bring our markets closer and ensure real progress on emissions.

Last year we committed to hold regular dialogue on the design and implementation of our carbon markets. We have now agreed to enhance this collaboration on key carbon pricing topics, including on investments, technologies, competitiveness or auctioning revenues.

We will also work with others, at national and subnational levels, to develop, implement and strengthen cap-and-trade systems. More and more countries are signalling interest and we are keen to share our expertise and experience so that it can benefit others and we can bring more together.

Since last year a major player, China, has joined the carbon market community. It is a powerful signal that an economy of the size of China chooses to establish a carbon pricing mechanism.

Let's pursue that momentum through various channels, be it bilaterally or through regional and multilateral initiatives.

The third ingredient for taking ambition to the next level is a clear vision for the future, for long-term decarbonisation of our economies.

The European Union wants to take the lead on this – so right now we are developing a long-term strategy for reducing Europe’s emissions. We have promised to present a first proposal on this strategy by November, before this year’s UN climate summit in Poland. It will be a strategy of economic and sectoral transformation: to bring our carbon footprint to zero; to make our economy more competitive, more resilient, and more modern; to show a concrete example of how the goals of the Paris Agreement can be achieved together with social and economic development.

We hope our action can help and inspire others to make their own long-term plans, for doing their fair share towards the vital Paris objectives.

This summit shows the power and potential of everyone working together – politicians, stakeholders and citizens in all parts of the chain. We can only meet the unprecedented climate challenge, and reap the rewards of the clean energy transformation, by moving forward together.

Thank you.


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