EU vows more emissions cuts at UN climate talks

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 15 (AFP/APP):The EU vowed to step up its emissions cuts at UN climate talks on Tuesday as developing nations admonished rich polluters for falling short on efforts to help them cope with global warming.

The COP27 conference in Egypt has been dominated by calls for wealthy nations to fulfil pledges to fund the green transitions of poorer countries least responsible for global emissions, build their resilience and compensate them for climate-linked losses.

The meeting comes as global emissions are slated to reach an all-time high this year, making the aspirational goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels ever more elusive.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told delegates that the European Union will update its climate commitment as it will be able to exceed its original plan to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

The 27-nation bloc will now be able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent from 1990 levels, he said.

“The European Union is here to move forwards, not backwards,” Timmermans told COP27 delegates.

The invasion of Ukraine by fossil fuel exporter Russia has cast a shadow over the talks in Egypt, with activists accusing Europeans of seeking to tap Africa for natural gas following Russian supply cuts.

But Timmermans denied that the 27-nation bloc was in a “dash for gas” in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

“So don’t let anybody tell you here or outside that the EU is backtracking,” he said.

Campaigners said the EU announcement did not go far enough.

“This small increase announced today at COP27 doesn’t do justice to the calls from the most vulnerable countries at the front lines,” said Chiara Martinelli, of Climate Action Network Europe.

“If the EU, with a heavy history of emitting greenhouse gases, doesn’t lead on mitigating climate change, who will?”