EU countries should present a united front in COP26 negotiations

According to sources familiar with the matter at hand, countries from the European Union should do more to iron out burrs in their negotiating position vis-à-vis the COP26 climate change conference, following emergence of rifts over timeframes for emissions-cutting pledges.

Ahead of the November COP26 conference on climate change, the EU is drafting its position wherein countries will attempt to complete the technical rules to put the Paris Agreement into effect.

The issue of whether countries’ climate targets under the 2015 accord should follow a “common timeframe” is in the process of being mitigated.

Nearly 200 countries, who are to meet at the COP26 conference, will negotiate the issue; 27 member states of the EU are divided over whether targets should cover five or 10 year periods.

The EU’s own emissions-cutting targets are among the most ambitious of the world’s major economies, and the bloc is seeking to spur other regions to set tougher goals.

Diplomats have said, it is important that all 27 member states must approve the EU’s COP26 negotiating position and present a united front.

“What signal is the EU giving the world if we can’t even get the common timeframes in line with the Paris Agreement?” said an EU diplomat from a country backing a five-year timeframe.

A majority of EU countries, including France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Spain, support a five-year timeframe for those pledges, said EU officials familiar with the talks.

A shorter five-year cycle will put more pressure on countries to set ambitious targets, and help keep track of whether they are cutting emissions fast enough to avert catastrophic climate change. A 10-year pledge could let countries fly under the radar for a whole decade.

Some EU states, including Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania want to give countries a choice of either five or 10 years, said EU officials.

“The content of the NDCs and the will of the parties to implement them proves ambition, and not the frequency of NDCs,” said a diplomat from one country supporting the five or 10-year choice.

A country’s climate pledge is known as its nationally determined contribution – NDC.

Officials from EU countries are set to hammer out the issue later today.

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