The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC is only a first step to address the serious global threat of climate change. The ultimate goal of the UNFCCC is to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at a level that prevents dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The 2005 COP agreed to start negotiations to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, and to launch a Dialogue under the broader UNFCCC, to include non-Kyoto signatories, including Australia and the United States.
The Dialogue has been launched to exchange experiences and analyse strategic approaches for long-term cooperative action to address climate change.
The US insisted that the talks "will take the form of an open and non-binding exchange of views, information and ideas […] and will not open any negotiations leading to new commitments".
Information on : http://unfccc.int/meetings/dialogue/items/3668.php
On 10 January 2007 the European Commission set out proposals and options for keeping climate change to manageable levels in its Communication "Limiting Global Climate Change to 2° Celsius: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond."
The Communication, part of a comprehensive package of measures to establish a new Energy Policy for Europe, is a major contribution to the ongoing discussions at international level on a future global agreement to combat climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's emissions targets expire.
The Communication proposes a set of actions by developed and developing countries that would enable the world to limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures. The Commission proposes to reduce GHG emissions unilaterally by 20% by 2020 (compared to 1990).
The communication on climate change, which is to be discussed during the Spring Summit, calls on the EU to “take on a firm independent commitment to achieve at least a 20 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2020” (compared to 1990 levels).
To achieve this objective, the Commission pushes forward a number of policy measures, such as reducing CO2 emissions from transportation, improving energy efficiency, or “extend[ing] the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to other gases and sectors.”
The February 2007 Environment Council adopted similar conclusions, and the March 2007 Spring European Council confirmed this views, and confirmed that EU would set the target of cutting 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, even willing to put this goal up to 30% if the US, China and India make similar commitments.
The emissions reduction objective would be mainly achieved through energy policy. Priority measures will concern renewable energies, expanding the EU emissions trading scheme, etc.
Energy consumption should be reduced by 20 per cent compared to Business-as-Usual 2020 projections for 2020, primarily through implementation of the EU action plan on energy efficiency.
These decisions are non-legislative and the Commission will have to make proposals for the burden-sharing agreement to set individual national targets, and for the implementation of the Council decisions.