Environmental problems do not respect national boundaries. They transcend them. Therefore, multinational/supranational way of tackling these issue is very important and effective. The very first interest of the European Community was the economic development and expansion of a single market. However, with the growing salience of environmental issues the European Community began to focus on environmental management as a central basis of economic and social development. Clearly, the EU’s policy orientation has deepened as well as broadened. The area of environmental policy is one of the sectoral policies of the EU and it is an umbrella policy for several dimensions, such as climate change, water protection, sustainable consumption or biodiversity. It is important to emphasize that Union elaborates multiannual environmental action programs that establish actions to be taken in all areas of environmental policy. We can speak about general principles and essential framework of the environmental policy.
The Paris Agreement
Concerning the climate change the phenomenon of climate change is a transboundary issue. It needs a mutual concern of developing and developed countries as well as their mutual commitment to its mitigation. At the 21st COP, known as Paris Climate Conference, countries aimed to achieve a first universal legally binding document that would oblige countries to hold on to these commitments. The outcome of the 2015 UN climate negotiations is an inclusive, binding treaty that got ahead of the Kyoto Protocol. It builds upon UNFCCC and more than two decades of international negotiations. Paris Agreement entered force in November 2016 with necessary 55 countries accountable for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Agreement sets out a provision which implements the principle of common but differentiates responsibilities and respective capabilities of the Parties.
EU’s capabilities with the respect to the Paris Conference
The EU was very active with respect to the negotiations. It played a key role in bringing the developed and developing countries to the conference and address the climate change issues. The EU has particularly approached small islands and least developed countries to build a large coalition and bridges between parties and even provided them with help regarding the development of their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of GHG emissions). This is believed by the EU itself to be a crucial point in shifting the dynamics of the COP 21 negotiations.
The most important priority for the EU toward Paris conference was the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and securing relative transparency with respect to the fulfilment of provisions. But is it enough commitment by the EU to tackle the issue of climate change? The EU’s objective was to conclude a treaty that would be binding for all countries. Secondly, this treaty was to include provisions on ‘fair, ambitious and quantifiable mitigation commitments by all parties. In this respect, it advocated for at least 40% GHG emission reduction by 2030. Thirdly, the limitation of global temperature increase to well below 2° above pre-industrial levels was by some countries seen as not sufficient for climate change sustainment and so the EU demanded the Agreement to incorporate a review mechanism with a further temperature limitation possible every five years. After all we can say that the EU’s goals were the most determined compared to other players, but the EU alone can not promise the moon without the cooperation of the worlds polluters that happens to be a biggest issue of today.
K. Homolová, FMV