Europe submits UN climate pledge, urges US, China to follow

by Reuters
Friday, 6 March 2015 18:38 GMT

A woman holds a placard, during a march calling for government action on climate change, in central London, March 7, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall

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EU's contribution will be a target of an at least 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030, without using offsets

* Paris to host U.N. climate talks starting in November

* EU calling on big polluters to follow its lead

* EU promises to cut emissions by at least 40 pct by 2030 

BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) - The European Union on Friday submitted its formal promise on how much it will cut greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations ahead of climate change talks starting in November and called on the United States and China to follow its lead.

The European Union is the first major economy to agree its position before the talks in Paris aimed at seeking a new worldwide deal on global warming.

"We expect China, the United States and the other G20 countries in particular to follow the European Union and submit their contributions by the end of March," Miguel Arias Canete, climate and energy Commissioner, told reporters after a meeting of EU environment ministers in Brussels.

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said Europe was taking up its responsibilities as host of the 2015 Paris climate conference, which begins on Nov. 30.

"A very important step was taken today," she said. "This is a decisive, historic stage."

She had said on Thursday agreement had to be reached by March 20 at the latest.

The EU's official contribution will be a target of an at least 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030, compared to levels emitted in 1990.

The target was set at a summit in October last year, but ministers still had to agree on the details of the formal submission to the United Nations.

The target has to be achieved domestically rather than through offsets that allow member states to buy into carbon-cutting schemes outside Europe.

EU diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the 40 percent target will have to be shared among member states and debate over how to achieve that is only likely to begin after the Paris talks.

One option is to share the effort based on a member state's GDP per capita. (Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Additional reporting by Caroline Copley in Berlin; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Evans)

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