UN climate report highlights “inadequacy” of EU action, Greenpeace EU says

Written by Martin Banks on 8 October 2018 in News
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A new United Nations (UN) report has pointed out shortcomings in EU initiatives to tackle climate change, according to environmental lobby group Greenpeace EU.

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The report, published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Korea on Monday, has been touted as the “most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the impacts of global warming.”

In the report, the IPCC warns that the world must halve carbon emissions by 2030, before dropping to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

As things stand, average global temperatures are expected to exceed 1.5°C somewhere between 2030 and 2052.


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Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy director Tara Connolly dubbed the report “the scientific equivalent of a kick in the ass.”

“It clearly exposes the inadequacy of Europe’s action on climate change, in a year when millions of Europeans have suffered tragic forest fires, deadly heatwaves and devastating drought,” she said.

The EU, which sees itself as the world’s climate leader, has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 and the European Commission is expected to release its draft long-term climate strategy for 2050 on 28 November.

EU governments are also expected to agree on the bloc’s final long-term strategy in 2019.

“Our governments and the EU need to catch up fast - the first steps must be to radically increase 2030 climate targets and commit to a carbon-neutral Europe by 2040” Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy director Tara Connolly

“Our governments and the EU need to catch up fast - the first steps must be to radically increase 2030 climate targets and commit to a carbon-neutral Europe by 2040,” Connolly said.

“People are already taking action: from mass protests against the expansion of coal mines in Germany, to communities fighting energy poverty with solar energy in Greece,” she added.

On Tuesday, EU environment ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss CO2 standards for cars and trucks, the biggest CO2 polluters. Transport is the only major sector in the EU where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising.
Ministers are also expected to agree on the EU’s negotiating mandate for the UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, in December.

In its report, which was ordered and endorsed by 195 governments, the IPCC says that allowing global temperatures to rise by 2°C above pre-industrial levels will have far greater consequences compared to a 1.5°C limit, including the wholesale loss of natural habitats and species, a disappearing Arctic ice sheet and higher sea levels.

It goes on to say that to meet the 1.5°C target, coal consumption would need to be cut by at least two thirds by 2030 and fall to almost zero in electricity production by 2050. Renewables would need to supply 70-85 percent of electricity in 2050 and oil and gas use would also need to decline by up to 37 percent below 2010 levels by 2030.

“The world’s top climate scientists have spelled out how much worse it will be if we go over 1.5°C of warming, but they’ve also said we still have a chance,” Connolly said.

The report said that the “substantial improvement” in solar, wind and electricity storage technologies “could be a sign that a system transition has already started.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a Senior Reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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