I represented the UK at the extraordinary Environment Council in Brussels on 23 November, where EU Environment Ministers undertook a final review of positions and strategies ahead of the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.
The council began with presentations from COP President Denmark and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer on the path to Copenhagen. The Commission followed these with a presentation on the current status of the EU's emissions and other parties' offers. Norway was also invited to present its views on the role of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Ministers continued discussions at a closed session. Guided by questions prepared by the Swedish presidency, Ministers discussed the EU's goals and priorities for the Copenhagen conference. At the request of the presidency, the UK presented its views on registries and measurement, reporting and verification.
While there were no formal conclusions, Ministers confirmed the EU's mandate for negotiation that was established at the Environment Council in October and then endorsed at the European Council. Ministers also reaffirmed the need to maintain EU ambitions for the forthcoming conference, with many member states emphasising the importance of upholding the EU's conditional offer for a 30 per cent emissions reduction to leverage sufficient offers from others.