Environmental campaigners question EU’s ‘level of ambition’ in tackling climate change

Written by Martin Banks on 6 November 2019 in News
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The critique comes just ahead of the crunch COP25 climate conference in Madrid next month.

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The conference, which has been moved at short notice to Spain following civil unrest in Chile, has sparked accusations about the “adequacy” of EU countries’ 2030 climate targets.

The European Union is now being urged to announce at the COP 25 its “commitment to significantly improve its 2030 target.”

This comes from Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe), a leading Brussels-based environmental group which has written to all members of Parliament’s environment committee with a “wish list” of what it hopes will come out of COP25.


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The letter to MEPs is timed to coincide with a committee vote on the COP25 resolution later on Wednesday and outlines the issues that the group considers as priorities for the COP25.

It states that with the Paris Agreement and the Katowice Rulebook, the “global climate regime has its overall governance and most of its implementation rules in place.”

But it adds, “The key component still missing is the level of ambition, and in particular the adequacy of countries’ 2030 targets."

“We are disappointed that the European Union knowingly missed the opportunity to boost global climate ambition by deciding not to announce an increase to the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target” CAN Europe

CAN says the focus at the COP 25 should be on the global “political momentum” of updating countries’ 2030 targets, the NDCs, by the 2020 deadline next year.

Other key topics of this year’s COP, it says, are ensuring the “environmental integrity” of the rules that govern the carbon markets and that climate finance that supports countries to transition and to adapt is provided.

“Countries should find an effective outcome of the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage that includes the establishment of a finance arm,” it says.

The letter, seen by this site, goes on, “We are disappointed that the European Union knowingly missed the opportunity to boost global climate ambition by deciding not to announce an increase to the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.”

CAN says the global emissions need to, “at minimum,” be halved by 2030 to keep temperature increase below 1.5°C.

“To stay on the 1.5°C pathway the EU needs to adopt a 2030 target at least -65 percent as its fair share” CAN Europe

It says it has noted the commitment of the Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to present a proposal for a more ambitious EU 2030 climate target of a reduction of 55 percent.

“However, to stay on the 1.5°C pathway the EU needs to adopt a 2030 target at least -65 percent as its fair share.”

The letter concludes, “We urge the European Union to announce at the COP25 its commitment to significantly improve its 2030 target. The earlier the EU will do this, the bigger impact it will have on the global climate ambition by incentivising further action from others.”

“For this we need the European Parliament to maintain its role in calling for higher ambition in the EU.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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