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The Paris Climate Agreement: Implications for the European Union

Wednesday, 20 January, 2016 - 18:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Karel Van Miert Building (IES)
Conference Room Rome
Pleinlaan 5
IES Autumn Lecture

On December 12th, 2015, the Paris Climate Summit adopted the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This has been heralded as a historic achievement. The Paris Agreement establishes a renewed framework for international cooperation on climate change that will have to be fleshed out over the years to come. At its core, countries are expected to implement greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives and climate plans. As the plans and objectives submitted by more than 180 countries already prior to the Paris Summit are insufficient for keeping global temperature increase to below 2 °C or even 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, the Paris Agreement foresees 5-yearly rounds of review and strengthening. The first such round is scheduled to be conducted from 2018-2020.

The EU was among the major driving forces at the Paris Climate Summit within an emerging climate-ambition coalition. It has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by at least 40% by 2030 from 1990 levels, as agreed by the European Council in October 2014. Several legislative initiatives are in the pipeline and to be launched in 2016 to implement this commitment and strengthen the EU’s framework for climate and energy policy. More than a month after the close of the Paris Summit, this keynote lecture provides the opportunity to reflect on and discuss the implications of the Paris Agreement for EU internal and external policy development. What are the major challenges and opportunities for the EU in developing and implementing the Paris Agreement at the international level over the next years (in the multilateral process, but also beyond)? How will the EU be able to align its internal policy development with the 5-yearly international cycle? What effects, if any, will the Paris Agreement have on the internal climate policy agenda, including the pending reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, a new effort-sharing among EU member states to 2030, the revision of legislation on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and potentially other EU policies?

Keynote speaker:

  • Jos Delbeke, Director General, DG CLIMA, European Commission


  • Sebastian Oberthür, Professor for Environment and Sustainable Development at the Institute for European Studies (IES-VUB)