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Climate Negotiations

The Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate participates, on behalf of the Danish government in international climate negotiations within the EU as well as UN. The target of the work is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Climate Negotiations in the UN

The UN administers the global climate negotiations. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) frames the negotiations. The Convention on Climate Change does not include any binding requirements as to a lowering of the emission of greenhouse gases. But so does the Kyoto Protocol, that was adopted in 1997 by 192 countries and which was the first, binding international agreement setting targets of reduction of greenhouse gases.The countries behind the UN Convention on Climate meet once a year at the conference ”Conference of the Parties”, also known as the COP convention. The COP convention, or the COP, is the highest organ of the climate negotiations. This is where all important decisions are made, often with media attention from all over the world.At the COP21 in Paris in December 2015 the countries agreed on a new, legally binding agreement on climate change. The agreement contains a target of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees and it contains a call for keeping it below 1.5 degrees – as compared to pre-industrial levels. Furthermore, the countries agreed that the global CO2 emission should peak as soon as possible and then decrease rapidly. 

Read more about the Paris Agreement



Climate Negotiations in the EU

Parallel to the climate negotiations in the UN, the EU has also got its own internal climate negotiations and its own climate objectives. Having the climate objectives as the starting point, the EU negotiates in the UN on behalf of Denmark and the other EU member states. The EU objectives are based on the so-called 20-20-20-plan from 2007 and the latest EU agreement on climate and energy of 2014The EU agreement on climate and energy of 2014 sets the following climate objectives for 2030:

  1. The European CO2 emission should be 40 % lower than it was in 1990.

  2. At least 27 % of the European energy supply shall be based on renewableenergy.

  3. The EU countries shall be at least 27 % more energy efficient as compared to how development would have been since 1990 if nothing had been done to become more energy efficient (business as usual).


Christina Graaskov Ravn

Head of Section
International Office

Read More About COP21

The Paris Agreement 2015

At the COP21 in Paris in December 2015 the 196 member states agreed on the UN climate convention (UNFCCC), a legally binding agreement on climate change - the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an important step on the way to the global transition to a lower level of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Agreement means: 

  • The countries are obliged to contribute
    The Paris Agreement obliges the countries to present national reduction contributions - meaning contributions to the total reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. On behalf of Denmark and the other member states, the EU has presented one total reduction contribution. The contribution is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels to be distributed among the countries by means of negotiations within the EU. To Denmark and to the EU it was crucial that the Paris Agreement ensures action by countries. They succeeded. As per 1 March 2016, 188 countries have presented their national climate plans. The climate plans include reductions that cover more than 95 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. For comparison, the Kyoto protocol comprises only 38 countries and less than 15 percent of the global emissions.

  • Long-term goals of reduction of emissions
    Agreement has been reached about a long-term goal of reduction of the global rise in temperature to less than two degrees - and to strive to curb the rise of temperature to 1.5 degrees.
    Furthermore, the Paris Agreement includes a goal to the effect that the global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter. In this way, the hope is to obtain balance between emissions and impacts of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.

  • Common rules as to stocktaking of the countries' climate efforts
    According to the Paris Agreement, a translucent regulatory system should be established as to how to establish the climate actions in the countries. This to make sure that everybody can see whether countries keep their promises. The regulatory system will make it possible to evaluate the total progress compared to the long-term goals of the agreement.

  • Ambition mechanism to ensure a continuously increasing effort
    The agreement contains a so-called ambition mechanism. The ambition mechanism shall contribute to a continuous increase of the global effort of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. So, this is a crucial part of the Paris Agreement. In the actual situation, the total contribution to reduction by the countries is not enough to keep the global temperature increase below two degrees. Consequently, continuously increasing efforts play a pivotal role. In accordance with the ambition mechanism the parties shall come back every five years to take a stock as to the fulfilment of the long-term goal of the agreement. In the light of such evaluation, the countries shall confirm or update their actual reduction contribution - or commit themselves to new reduction contributions.

  • Climate financing for developing countries
    In the Paris Agreement the countries confirm their promise to mobilise 100 billion USD a year from public and private sources as from 2020 for the climate efforts of the developing countries.
    A new goal for financing for developing countries shall be set no later than by 2025 for the subsequent period. The Paris Agreement makes it possible to more countries to contribute to the financing.
  • Entry into force and the further negotiation process
    The Paris Agreement becomes effective when at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the agreement in their respective parliaments. The Danish ratification is made as a parliamentary resolution and thereafter as a joint EU resolution. The future work will be to finish the negotiation about the constituent elements of the agreement and the implementation of same. The coming years, negotiations will be about political issues concerning the ambition mechanism and climate financing for developing countries as well as technical codes of practice as to among other things market mechanisms and reporting rules.
The EU and Denmark after COP21

The Paris Agreement has established the overall framework of the global transition to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. It is now a question of ratification of the agreement in each individual country and transformation of the goals into action and results. For Denmark, this means that we, together with other EU member states, shall meet the EU target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 as compared to 1990.

  • The negotiations of the ambition mechanism must be finished to the detail
    The so-called ambition mechanism of the Paris Agreement prepares the ground for the EU in the future to take stocks continuously of the contributions of the member states as to the climate effort. This will of course have to take place on a transparent and robust basis for decision considering. i.a. the exact temperature goal, mirrored in the Paris Agreement. By 2020, at the latest, the EU should reconfirm or update its climate goal for 2030.

    Furthermore, negotiations as to how the countries shall report on their emissions must be finished within a couple of years. In this connection, it is important for Denmark and the EU that all countries play by the same regulatory system. At the same time, there must be flexibility for the least developed countries.

  • A global reduction effort before 2020
    During the COP21, the countries agreed to work for an increased effort to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions before the Paris Agreements becomes effective in 2020. 
    Up to 2020 a series of technical expert meetings will be held focusing on politics and technologies that will contribute to the mitigation of emissions - for example in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In certain areas, Danish companies have positions of strength. 
    The meetings support the annual dialogue at the COP meetings with participation of ministers as well as representatives of the private sector. The target is to create political momentum and to establish a forum for launching of new initiatives and partnerships and to follow up on previously introduced initiatives. These activities are in immediate continuation of the action-oriented agenda, the “Lima-Paris Action Agenda”(LPAA), focusing on the presentation and increasing of the climate effort by the private sector and other non-governmental actors.

  • Climate financing for developing countries
    In the Paris Agreement the countries confirm their promise to raise 100 billion USD a year as from 2020 for the climate efforts of the developing countries from public and private sources. A new goal for financing for developing countries shall be set no later than by 2025 for the subsequent period. The Paris Agreement makes it possible to more countries to contribute to the financing.
    Denmark and the EU can play an important role by assisting the developing countries in transforming their climate goal into tangible projects through climate financing and capacity build-up. As for Denmark, we focus especially on assisting important emerging economies in their green transition by making Danish experience, expertise, and technology available.

    As an example, this could be by means of the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate's bilateral cooperation with authorities in countries like China, Mexico, Vietnam, and South Africa. Our work is i.a. to spread cost-efficient, long-lasting Danish solutions that can contribute to the reduction of energy costs and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. 
    Furthermore, Denmark focuses on the mobilisation of climate financing from private actors. This is done by means of i.a. the Danish Climate Investment Foundation and in cooperation with the other Nordic countries.