The European Union is unlikely to agree to a binding global climate change deal as early as next year, as the bloc seeks to reach a final deal by early summer, two senior diplomats have said.
The talks have become the biggest test yet of the bloc’s commitment to fighting climate change.
Key points: The bloc has been negotiating with the United States, China and India on a number of issues including climate change but it has yet to reach any agreement over emissions cuts The EU has been unable to reach an agreement with the US and China, despite all three agreeing to a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 In their letter to EU ministers, the three officials also expressed concern over the way the bloc is working to combat climate change, with the EU’s new commissioner for climate change warning that progress on the issue is slow and it is “highly unlikely” to be made before 2030.
The four nations have been unable so far to agree on a common target for cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the European Commission has repeatedly expressed concern about the level of progress made so far.
In the letter, the four senior officials, all from the EU, warned that they “strongly” urged the bloc to speed up progress on climate action.
“The pace of progress is still far from a complete match with the target set in Paris, and there is little sign of progress towards a deal by the end of the year,” they wrote.
The letter comes as the EU heads into its first major climate change summit since the Paris climate talks in December, where the bloc failed to reach agreement on a target.
“While the COP21 summit is a good opportunity for the EU to move forward, it does not represent a sustainable and effective process to address climate change,” the officials wrote.
“There is still no agreed agreement on emissions reductions, and it remains unclear whether the EU and the US will reach a deal in the near future.”
The letter was released as the two sides meet for the first time to try to hash out the next steps for the bloc, with Mr Macron’s administration seeking to make it clear that it will not negotiate a deal.
Mr Macron, a former investment banker, is widely expected to win a second term as president in May’s election.
Mr Cameron, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, was not at the summit in the hopes of reaching an agreement.
He has made no secret of his desire to remain in office until 2021, and has previously indicated that he is prepared to go on until 2020 if that is not possible.
The US, the blocs biggest trading partner, has been pressing for a binding climate deal, and is expected to demand that the bloc agrees to a pledge to cut emissions by 20% by 2030, according to the Telegraph.
It is understood that Mr Macron will not meet with US President Donald Trump at the climate summit, despite the fact that the two leaders will likely agree to discuss climate change at the meeting.
Mr Trump has previously voiced scepticism about the science of climate change and has said he will not support a deal to reduce emissions.
The meeting comes as a US court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to put the emissions reduction target in place in 2020, forcing Mr Trump to delay it and impose a $4bn fine.
The EPA had previously sought to set the target for 2030 but that order was struck down on Tuesday.
The European Union has been trying to get the target in order but has failed to find a way to do so.
The European Commission is also seeking to set a target, but its members are divided over what that will look like.
The EU has proposed to set an emissions reduction goal of 26% by 2020.
However, the EU has also said it would prefer a 20% reduction target, saying the current target is too weak.
The Paris climate agreement, reached in December 2015, was meant to cut the world’s greenhouse gas pollution by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 26% on 1990 levels by 2030.