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Geneva climate talks end with draft global agreement

HEAL welcomes the inclusion of health in a new draft version of the global climate agreement, adopted by delegates from almost 200 countries.

The new draft text which is due to be finalised at UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in December, was agreed as UN climate talks came to a close in Geneva last month.

According to observers, these recent talks marked a welcome change in the dynamics of the negotiations. A plan to completely phase out fossil fuel emissions features prominently in the text, thanks to a growing number of governments now backing this long-term goal.

HEAL welcomes the positive input from Switzerland who added language strengthening the link between climate action and our health. The country’s Ambassador for the Environment and Head of International Affairs Division of Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment, Franz Perrez stressed the importance of ‘recognising that actions to address climate change simultaneously contribute to the attainment of the highest levels of health’.

The challenge now ahead of COP21 in Paris will be streamlining the 86 page text. At the next round of negotiations in Bonn in June, several challenging issues are expected to resurface, such as generating billions in climate finance and ensuring fairness in global efforts to speed up the transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewables.

Given that the emerging Paris agreement will not take effect before 2020, civil society organisations used the talks in Geneva to push governments into short-term action, using this decade to seriously speed up their efforts towards the long-term goal of phasing out fossil fuel emissions.

Meanwhile EU environment ministers approved the EU’s intended nationally determined contribution to achieve at least 40% domestic reduction in GHG by 2030.

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Originally posted on 11 March 2015

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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