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U.N. climate diplomat: EU needs say in talks despite slow ratification

by Reuters
Thursday, 15 September 2016 17:52 GMT

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker leaves the desk after his address to the European Parliament during a debate on the State of the European Union in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 14, 2016. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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The European Union was a prime mover in securing the Paris climate deal but is now a laggard in joining it

BRUSSELS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - U.N. climate negotiators should let governments that have yet to ratify the Paris accord to curb global warming - including the EU nations - have a say in drafting the rules to implement it, the co-chair of the talks said on Thursday.

The European Union was a prime mover behind the success of last autumn's Paris climate talks but is now a laggard in ratifying the agreement it produced.

New Zealand diplomat Jo Tyndall's suggestion would allow the EU to join in thrashing out how the agreement will operate over coming next decades.

"A legal fix, a decision will need to be taken to ensure that countries are not penalised because their domestic processes might take a little longer," she told Reuters.

In an effort to incentivise nations to ratify the agreement, at present only those that have done so have a say in deciding how it will work.

In what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described as a blow to the EU credibility, the bloc could end up watching from the sidelines when the threshold of 55 nations responsible for 55 percent of man-made emissions is reached for the pact to take effect.

The EU's reversal from being the key broker clinching the deal, Juncker said in his annual State of the Union speech on Wednesday: "makes us look ridiculous".

Under current rules, the European Union as well as each of the nations it spoke for in Paris must deposit their ratification documents with the U.N. simultaneously, so the EU is only ever as fast as its slowest member.

So far only three states - France, Hungary and Austria - have ratified the agreement.

In Paris last December, nearly 200 countries agreed on a binding global compact to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

"There is a strong desire to find a balance between inclusiveness, if we do have early entry into force," Tyndall said. "But at the same time keep the incentives there to get people to ratify and join the agreement."

With China and the United States, the world's two biggest emitters, formally ratifying it this month, some experts predict it could even come into force before the next round of climate talks in November in Marrakesh. (Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by John Stonestreet)

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