Frans Timmermans: “With COP27, we lost year”

In an interview with the “world”, the vice-president of the European Commission calls on China to assume its “very great responsibility” in the reduction of emissions and defends the European Green Deal, threatened by the war in Ukraine.

words collected by Stéphane Mandard, Virginie Malingre (Brussels, European Bureau) and Stéphane Foucart

The vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, expresses his “great disappointment” after the climate conference (COP27) of Charm-el-Cheikh, Egypt, and defends Brussels’ action on the question environmental.

“The world will not thank us”, did you react at the end of the COP27. You believe that its results are not up to the climate emergency?

This COP27 was very disappointing. No mention of the end of fossil fuels, no mention of a date for the peak of greenhouse gas emissions, no update of the so-called national reduction commitments … We did not do anything on Reduction of emissions. We lost a year. We even had to fight like crazy to avoid going back, to save the achievements of COP26. It’s not enough.

In Glasgow, we had left the commitment that the most issuing countries would make more ambitious projects to further reduce emissions, and most did not do so. If we lose more time, that means that we have to do even more in the time that remains. It becomes politically and technically more and more difficult.

This means that the objective of limiting warming under 1.5 ° C has become unattainable?

The objective of 1.5 ° C is moribund, but still alive. The more time passes, the more it becomes difficult to hold. And the more expensive and painful the measures to be taken. This is why we must use all the time that we have left: every year, every month, every week, every day. But this objective does not only depend on Europe but also on the G20 countries, which are responsible for 80 % of global emissions. So, if there is not a real change in China, India and other G20 countries, we will never do it.

But if we see the investments that these two countries make in renewables, it is still remarkable, especially in China. I always hope that the latter will be able to reach the peak of its programs long before 2030. In this case, the 1.5 ° C remain possible. We must therefore work with the Chinese to try to get there.

The agreement on the financing of “losses and damage” for countries most vulnerable to warming has still been qualified as history …

This is the great success of this COP27. And we owe it partly to the European Union [EU], because it is our proposal that has been retained. This means that we can restore relations between the North and the South.

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/Media reports cited above.