At the end of 2015, a globally binding climate protection agreement should be adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. It must commit countries to emissions reduction and adaptation measures, in order to prevent humanity from entering into the danger zone of climate change. The EESC and in particular the Sustainable Development Observatory has been active in the field of climate change, following the global climate negotiations, organising debates and developing global partnerships through side events and bilateral meetings.
It is evident that the necessary decisions to protect the climate and thus to protect future generations need broad social acceptance. However, it has become clear that without the "pressure" of civil society adequate decisions are unlikely to be made.
In this opinion, the stances adopted by the EESC to date will be summarised and clear statements will be made regarding the expectations of the European civil society towards the COP and negotiating stance of the EU institutions. Moreover, indications will be given as to how the EESC, in cooperation with European stakeholders and with its international partner organisations, can, wishes to and will monitor the preparation process and the conference itself. Priority will be placed on the urgent question as to how the climate negotiations can be made more understandable and brought closer to citizens. Lastly, the Opinion should give a positive signal to policy-makers and civil society that a consistent climate policy together with the post-2015 process can have positive economic results in Europe and globally.