Today the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) starts. This is not the first climate conference, but if we fail to achieve substantial progress it could well be the last meaningful one of all. We are getting dangerously close to the 2°C limit and our window of opportunity is closing.
The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) call for an ambitious climate deal: Europe should take the lead in negotiations and speak with one voice, gathering the EU Member States behind single policy proposals, in order to promote a united approach towards climate change.
The environment does not know any national borders, hence, our political leaders need to think beyond national borders, too. The intergovernmental system has shown its limits in tackling issues that are international by definition with the lack of effective climate mitigation policies being a sad consequence. The main obstacle to a meaningful result is the perception of a zero-sum game between opposing national interests. We are strongly convinced that Europe needs to unite behind a single negotiator and speak with one voice, in order to promote a united approach towards climate change.
Therefore, we call upon the European Union to provide generous offers for climate finance and lead by example in setting ambitious goals for emission reduction. We also call upon all governments of the Member States to take these and previously agreed goals and their implementation seriously. This is why we call for a legally binding agreement to round up COP21.
While green and sustainable energy is key to achieving meaningful climate mitigation, so are energy efficiency and policies such as the Energy Union. We firmly believe that an efficient and innovative Energy Union must be achieved. This should serve as an inspiration for other regions of the world, as increased energy-trade limits the need for production of energy and, thereby reducing emissions while also furthering interdependence. All in all, these policies should lead to a cleaner and more peaceful world.
Just like the European Union came together to establish peace and overcome cross-national challenges, COP21 should bring the countries of the world together in achieving the shared good that an ambitious climate deal is, in order to prevent the conflicts that are surely bound to come, some of which have already emerged.
As a youth NGO, we are concerned with the hidden costs of current policies for our and following generations. We believe in a united Europe, but in the following days we also hope to see a world that is truly united in diversity in combatting climate change, perhaps the single most important challenge of our generation.