Parliament President urges Member States to intensify climate change fight

Written by Martin Banks on 5 November 2019 in News

The appeal by David Sassoli comes ahead of next month’s COP25 climate conference in Madrid.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

In the run-up to the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP25, David Sassoli said, “We urge those Member States that have not yet done so to increase their contributions to the Green Climate Fund and to support the establishment of a European Climate Bank.”

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established by the United Nations to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

On Wednesday Parliament’s environment and public health committee will vote on the assembly’s draft objectives for the next “global actions” to fight climate change.


European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has put climate at the top of her agenda, saying she wants the European Green Deal to become “Europe’s hallmark.”

She has tasked senior commissioner Frans Timmermans with overseeing Europe’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by mid-century.

Timmermans, who is currently serving as first deputy to outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, will also be the Commission’s head of climate action, taking over duties from Spain’s Miguel Arias Cañete.

Speaking recently, von der Leyen said, “At the heart of the new Commission is our commitment to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent.”

“Countries have a number of opportunities ahead to step up and put money on the table soon, including COP25” Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director

COP25 will gather 25,000 people from some 200 countries and the summit is expected to attract worldwide attention.

The unprecedented global mobilisations and strikes for climate taking place this year following activist Greta Thunberg’s movement Fridays for Future have placed the climate change debate on top of the public agenda.

Madrid will now host COP25 from December 2 to 13 after Chile pulled out due to massive anti-government protests and social unrest.

The event normally takes between one and two years of preparation, but the Spanish capital has less than four weeks to face the logistical challenge of the most important event of the year to provide solutions to the global climate crisis.

Meanwhile, environment groups are, like Sassoli, asking Member States to step up contributions to the GCF.

Seven European countries recently confirmed their commitment to double their previous contributions to the Fund, but some other European governments have been accused of “continuing to dodge their responsibility.”

Luxembourg confirmed the doubling of its previous pledge to the GCF, adding to similar commitments by the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark made earlier.

“While the EU’s ambitious message for the upcoming COP25 summit is important, it is meaningless without the means” Iratxe García Pérez, S&D leader

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe says that, in contrast, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Switzerland pledged “well below expectations” while Spain, the Netherlands and Austria have made “underwhelming commitments.”

Many European countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe have failed to make any contributions so far, says the group.

“They also have an important role to play and should be coming forward with generous contributions,” it said in a statement.

CAN Europe director Wendel Trio said, “An ambitious replenishment of the GCF now would boost the potential of developing countries to up their climate targets. Governments have little time left to deliver new, higher targets, as in the Paris Agreement they committed to do so by 2020.”

“Countries have a number of opportunities ahead to step up and put money on the table soon, including COP25.”

Elsewhere, Spanish MEP Iratxe García Pérez, leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the Parliament, said, “While the EU’s ambitious message for the upcoming COP25 summit is important, it is meaningless without the means.”

The co-chairs of the European Green Party Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni, added, “As Greens, we will continue to push the boundaries of the politically possible ahead of the crucial COP25 summit.”

“As Greens, we will continue to push the boundaries of the politically possible ahead of the crucial COP25 summit” Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni, co-chairs of the European Green Party

In a recent resolution, MEPs said more should be done to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

They said that in order to achieve this goal “in the most cost-efficient manner”, the 2030 ambition level will need to be raised.

MEPs asked national, regional and local governments, as well as the EU, to take “concrete and swift action” in order not to overshoot the 1.5°C climate limit.

The resolution reads, “The EU must therefore send a clear message that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement.”

It also voices support for the demonstrations, in particular in the form of climate marches and school strikes, “that are raising awareness of these climate risks.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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