EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Tackling global climate change after 2020 (Paris Protocol)



Communication (COM(2015) 81 final): The Paris Protocol — A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020


  • It describes how the European Union (EU) has taken the lead in pressing for ambitious targets in a legally binding United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreement. Without urgent action, climate change will cause severe and irreversible damage to humanity and the environment. All countries must now substantially reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It sets out the EU’s objectives for the Paris climate conference and how these could be achieved. These include the long-term goal of reducing global emissions by at least 60% below 2010 levels by 2050.


The agreement, known as the Paris Protocol, should:

  • include the participation of as many countries as possible, and comprehensive coverage of all sectors, including agriculture, international air and sea transport, and emissions;
  • include robust commitments to mitigate the effects of climate change;
  • regularly review those mitigation efforts every 5 years after 2020;
  • contain rules to monitor, report and verify that every country signed up to the agreement is on track to meet its commitments;
  • promote investment, by public and private finance, into low-emission, climate-resilient programmes and policies;
  • encourage more systematic exchange of experience and good practice within, and between, different parts of the world;
  • support the development and deployment of a wide range of climate technologies, including energy production, water management systems and technologies to combat the effects of extreme weather.

The EU stepped up its climate diplomacy ahead of the Paris conference. It has endorsed a climate diplomacy action plan. It is using many other policies — economic and development cooperation, research, technology, innovation, trade, environment and disaster risk reduction — to support its objectives and help its partners to implement their commitments.

The negotiations were finalised in Paris in December 2015. The new agreement will be implemented from 2020.


The EU’s climate and energy policies are delivering results. EU emissions fell 23% between 1990 and 2014, while GDP grew 46% over the same period. The EU has taken significant steps to become the world’s most emissions efficient economy. In October 2014, EU leaders agreed a new climate and energy framework for 2030, with the target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared to 1990 levels.

For more information, see:


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: The Paris Protocol — A blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020 (COM(2015) 81 final, 25.2.2015)

last update 28.11.2016