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Negotiators agree on stringent rules for Paris Climate Agreement

Press release 2018-12-18 at 11:47
 Foto: Riikka Lamminmäki/YM

Minister Tiilikainen: “Climate actions are now everyone’s responsibility”

Negotiators at the Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland have reached a deal on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. Moving forward, the countries will monitor their emissions and report on them according a uniform set of rules. They will also communicate comprehensively about their commitments to reduce emissions. Special allowances for developing countries have to do primarily with delays in reporting and the level of detail required in the reports.

“The rules are stringent, clear and uniform for all. They enable the full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. This has been a central goal of both Finland and the EU. The main goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is to eliminate the stark divide between developed and developing countries. This has now been defined in concrete terms. Climate actions are everyone’s responsibility,” said Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment.

The Paris Agreement is made up of the commitments of individual countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Monitoring of the commitments will begin in 2020. The main obligations of the agreement concern monitoring and reporting of emissions and measures to reduce them, as well as an assessment, to be carried out at five-year intervals, that takes stock of the combined emissions reductions of all countries in relation to the goals of the Paris Agreement and encourages countries to further strengthen their commitments.

The climate negotiations continued for more than a day longer than planned. The most important issues raised in the negotiations had to deal with how the rules should take into account the capacities of different countries to monitor and report on their emissions, how developing countries should receive support for their climate actions and what kind of mechanism should be established for the five-year assessments.

At the final stages of the negotiations, the most contentious issue concerned the rules for market mechanisms, or how countries can utilise climate measures they finance in other countries in achieving their own emissions targets. The EU in particular was opposed to the idea that the emission reduction commitments set in the Paris Agreement could be eased significantly using emission reduction units generated before 2020, and to the practice of “double calculation”, or calculating the same emission reductions in the financing country and the country of implementation of climate actions. In the end, the negotiators decided to table the issue until the next meeting.

“A lack of market mechanism rules is better than poorly drafted rules: this would have created a sizeable loophole in an otherwise reasonably good rulebook,” said Outi Honkatukia, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change from Finland.

“The Katowice meeting marked the end of a three-year negotiation marathon. Although we still have a lot to do, we can still be satisfied with the outcome,” Honkatukia commented.

Minister Tiilikainen led the discussions in Katowice about adaptation to climate change. Chief Negotiator Outi Honkatukia, for her part, was co-chair of the negotiations concerning financing and the five-year assessments.

IPPC 1.5-degree report inspires increased ambition

The 1.5-degree report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October featured prominently in the Katowice discussions. The messages of the report were entered in the final act of the meeting and also functioned as a basis for the for the political-level Talanoa climate dialogue that took place in Katowice. In his speaking turn at the Talanoa session, Minister Tiilikainen emphasised the importance of policies that are in line with the 1.5-degree goal. Finland also demanded this as part of a group of countries promoting ambitious climate policy and in its declaration issued together with the other Nordic countries.

The countries are expected to update their emission reductions commitments in line with the Paris Agreement by 2020. The EU has already expressed its readiness to update its own commitment, i.e. its emission reduction targets for 2030, by that time. The EU has also begun a discussion on a long-term strategy in line with the Paris Agreement, or how the EU can achieve the goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

“Finland has an important role in coordinating EU measures, as the discussion on updating emission reduction targets will take place during our Council of Europe Presidency. It is our hope that the parliamentary work currently underway will create a good foundation for long-term climate policy in Finland and the EU,” Tiilikainen says.

The next climate conference will be held one year from now in Chile.


Taru Savolainen, Special Adviser to Minister Tiilikainen, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 40 535 8622, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Outi Honkatukia, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. + 358 50 341 1758, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Marjo Nummelin, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 227, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Karoliina Anttonen, Senior Officer, Legal Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 436 2795, firstname.lastanme@ym.fi (market mechanisms)

Riikka Lamminmäki, Communications Specialist, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 5762604, firstname.lastname@ym.fi (requests for interviews with Minister Tiilikainen and negotiators)