The European Parliament yesterday, 3 July 2018, voted for a report on EU Climate Diplomacy and emphasized the EU’s responsibility to lead on climate action as well as conflict prevention.
The new report stresses that EU diplomatic capacities should be strengthened in order to promote climate action globally, support the implementation of the Paris agreement and prevent climate change-related conflict. It thus covers major areas of EU climate diplomacy.
Co-rapporteur for the Foreign Affairs committee Arne Lietz (S&D, DE) said: “In order to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement globally, we have to strengthen the climate diplomacy capacities of the European External Action Service with regards to personnel as well as financial means. This also means empowering the EU delegations in partner countries to integrate the issue more strongly into their agenda. This should be reflected in the new Multiannual Financial Framework through an enforced budget line for climate diplomacy and climate action.”
In the report, the MEPs ask the EU to lead by example by taking an active role during the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue and COP24 that will take place in Katowice, Poland. The outcome of both of these events is crucial for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In this context, the report recommends that the EU Commission makes ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement a condition for future trade agreements, and that it further works on carbon border adjustments. Such import fees (levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries) would help leverage further efforts of all nations.
On security and migration, the report is nuanced and detailed. Rapid climate action is seen as a matter of security and EU foreign policy should therefore be able to monitor climate change related risks, including crisis prevention and conflict sensitivity. That means the EU needs to invest in more capacity at the EEAS to be able address these new demands. On top of this, climate policy should be mainstreamed in EU conflict prevention policies.
In light of increased forced migration from and within vulnerable areas, the Committees on the Environment and Foreign Affairs called for the establishment of a universal definition of “climate refugees” within the UN, in order to establish a common approach for their protection. This issue is not uncontroversial: currently there is no standard definition nor category under international law, but agreeing on one is a politically sensitive question.
The report, initiated by the co-rapporteurs for the committees, Arne Lietz and Jo Leinen, gathered broad support and was passed with a clear majority (adopted with 90 votes to 19, with 2 abstentions). It was put to a vote by the full House during the plenary on 3 July 2018, gathering 488 votes to 113 and 72 abstentions.