On the 15th and 16th of September, Canada, China and the EU co-hosted a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change in Montréal, Canada. The aim of the meeting was to galvanise global momentum on climate action and implementing the Paris agreement. The EU was represented at this meeting by Mr Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, in tandem with Mr Siim Kiisler, Environment Minister of Estonia, currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The ministerial meeting taking place from 15 to 16 September in Montréal, Canada will bring together representatives from 30 countries, including major economies and countries most affected by climate change, such as Small Island Developing States like Fiji.
According to the Estonian Minister for the Environment, Mr Siim Kiisler, this meeting aims to send the world a clear message that the international community is still committed to ambitious climate action and working towards the objectives of the Paris agreement.
„Canada, China and the EU are showing initiatve, and assuming the leadership position vacated by the United States, that used to be at the forefront of global climate action. If we fail to contain activities that accelerate climate change, then global temperatures will increase another 2-6,3 degrees by 2100. This means rising sea levels, and more frequent occurrences of extreme weather events, stronger winds, cyclones, tornadoes, floods, heat waves, droughts, and torrential rains,“ added Minister Kiisler.
In Montréal, world leaders will focus their discussions on practical steps to combat climate change, and transitioning to low-carbon and climate resilient economies. Their main focus will be on finding ways to step up support for implementing climate action. In addition, the leaders will exchange views and expectations with regard to the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn this November, in order to facilitate discussions on the principles of implementation of the Paris agreement and other procedural aspects of international climate negotiations.
As Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Minister Kiisler will share positive examples of climate action undertaken both in Europe and also in Estonia. To date, Estonia had already reached its greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets set for 2020. In addition, Estonia has adopted a long-term strategy for transitioning to a low-carbon economy, gradually setting its economy and energy system to a more resource efficient, productive and environmentally sustainable pathway. By 2050, Estonia aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by approximately 80% compared to 1990 levels.
The Paris agreement, concluded in December 2015 between 195 countries, is the first international treaty on climate change that sets global targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (including for major emitters like China, United States, and Russia). The Paris agreement aims to contain climate change by holding the increase in the global average temperature well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. The Paris agreement sets binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and establishes a dynamic reporting system that will enable Parties to assess and increase commitments over time. In addition, the Paris agreement regulates questions related to the financing of climate action, and long-term adaptation strategies.