EU ministers called on the European Commission to accelerate the proposal of a new EU target to cut emissions by 2030, at an environment council taking place today. Achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century means the EU needs to substantially ramp up its emissions reduction for 2030 in line with the international deadline, COP 26 in November this year.
While youth from all over Europe demonstrated in front of the Council building demanding politicians to take urgent measures to halt the climate crisis and preserve their future from the devastating impacts of climate change, EU environment ministers discussed today key elements of the European Green Deal.
The main flaw of the Deal is the process on when and how the EU’s 2030 climate target will be increased. This exercise is this year’s most urgent and important deliverable for the EU, as the Paris Agreement requires all countries to submit new emission reduction commitments for 2030 before the UN Climate Conference, COP26, in November.
Yet, in stark contrast with its international obligation, the European Commission’s climate law has signalled to propose a plan to increase the target only in September, which will not leave enough time for EU governments to reach an agreement before November and thus undermine the Paris Agreement.
Earlier this week, a letter signed by a dozen of member states* called on the Commission to present a plan for an increased 2030 EU climate target “as soon as possible and by June 2020 at the latest”.
Equally important is the level of the target. The EU’s current target of 40% emissions cuts by 2030 is clearly off track with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The recent United Nations’ Emissions Gap report backs the need for the EU to increase its 2030 target to at least 65% greenhouse gas emission reductions in order to contribute to keeping global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Above this threshold, climate change will become, irreversible, out of control, and more costly for citizens and economies.
Reacting to the discussions at the Environment Council, Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “Procrastination is not an option if the EU takes the climate emergency seriously. The European Commission must deliver a proposal for an increased EU 2030 climate target of at least 65% as soon as possible. At the same time, EU governments should not hide behind the slow pace of the Commission, but start discussing the increase of the EU’s short-term emission reductions at the upcoming European Council in March.”
Nicolas Derobert, Head of communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 483 62 18 88
Notes to editors:
*The letter was signed by Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
* The public session is accessible here.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.