DOHA: The Presidency of the European Union praised the significant progress made by the ongoing talks in the 18th Conference of the States Parties in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 8th meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol under the patronage of the State of Qatar.
The Presidency of the European Union stressed that all participants are optimistic to reach a decision in the most important issues on the agenda of the conference, especially with regard to identifying the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, long-term cooperative action and the work of the negotiating subsidiary bodies.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the sidelines of the conference, Environmental Counselor and Permanent Representation to the EU of the Republic of Cyprus, current holders of the presidency of the EU Council, Dr. Costas Papastavros said that hosting this conference is a challenge not only to the State of Qatar, but also to the Arabian Gulf region and it qualifies them to play a pivotal role in the climate change field which is not only an environmental issue, but it affects the energy and development sectors in general.
Regarding the role of Cyprus Presidency of the European Union during these talks, Dr. Costas Papastavros said that the presidency is seeking to coordinate between the 27 countries fall under the umbrella of the European Union and Commission on the one hand and the rest of European countries that seek to join the European Union such as Croatia, which will become a full member of the Union in June 2013, along with the rest of states participating in the Conference and the agencies emanating from the United Nations Framework Convention in order to come out with an unified and integrated vision to address the challenges of climate change.
The goal of the European presidency is to reach a common ground for cooperation and to reach a number of recommendations that will be forwarded later to the environment ministers within the European Union to find solutions and appropriate proposals in the policy pertaining to the climate change, Dr. Costas Papastavros added, noting that most of the outstanding issues are of a political character.
Regarding the European Union action plan of 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, the Senior Environment Officer for Cyprus Dr. Costa Papastavros said that the EU succeeded so far to reach the level of 17% and more during the past five years, noting that EU countries in light of the economic and financial difficulties they faced cannot propose a higher level to reduce the emissions, but this did not stop them from taking other measures such as the discussion of legislation to reduce fluorescent gases, solar energy and others.
In this context, Dr. Papastavros expressed confidence that the EU takes firm steps to fully fulfill its obligation by the year 2020 and to achieve a greater percentage after this date.
According to the proposals of the European Commission, carbon dioxide emissions, the primarily responsible for global warming, must be reduced by 20% by 2020. (QNA)