Delivering a Paris Agreement-compatible EU

Written by Wendel Trio on 12 July 2019 in Opinion

Parliament has already stated its climate change agenda; the new intake of MEPs must ensure that this is honoured and delivered, writes Wendel Trio.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

The European Council has failed to agree to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 and to commit to increasing the EU’s 2030 climate target.

This must be seen as a missed opportunity to address the escalating climate crisis.

The new crop of MEPs must ensure that the EU delivers on its Paris Agreement commitments.


Recently, Europe has seen unprecedented levels of mobilisation from all parts of society asking their politicians to recognise the climate emergency.

Millions of young people made their voices heard through climate strikes, farmers took their governments and the EU to court, businesses and cities called for greater climate ambition and voters confirmed that climate is the single most important issue for them.

Unfortunately, the momentum behind the clear “climate mandate” to current MEPs was insufficient to push the EU leaders to take a stand for stronger climate policies.

MEPs should enter the game and make sure the EU delivers what is needed.

Given that millions of citizens are expecting the current Parliament to address the crisis, it is crucial that MEPs put “reaching net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and a commitment to increase the 2030 target” as the Parliament’s top priority.

As the first to support the Commission’s proposal to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to call on the EU to increase its 2030 climate target, Parliament plays a crucial role in the climate ambition debate.

Enhancing the 2030 climate target in line with the long-term objective would mean that all sectoral targets, policies and measures in the relevant existing legislation - ETS, ESR, LULUCF, energy and governance – will need to be amended.

MEPs must ensure that the legislation reflects the most ambitious pathway that matches the scale of the emergency.

“Increasing the EU’s 2030 target will make it clear that transition must happen in a just and regulated way as soon as possible”

Setting a date for net zero emissions will send a clear signal to businesses, cities and investors on those investments that should be abandoned or increased.

Increasing the EU’s 2030 target will make it clear that transition must happen in a just and regulated way as soon as possible.

This transition has already started in Europe. Communities are already feeling the health and economic benefits of phasing out fossil fuels.

MEPs must guarantee that when developing a strategy to reach net zero emissions and revising the legislation to increase the 2030 climate target, no one is left behind and a just and fair transition is assured in all policy files.

Last year, the European Parliament excluded fossil fuels from the €320bn European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Funds for 2021- 27, signalling a clear commitment to the EU’s obligations to reducing greenhouse gases under the Paris Agreement.

Now MEPs must continue this strong support for a just and fair transition.

If they have heard the voices of the young people who occupied the Parliament Square in Brussels during the European elections, they cannot allow citizens’ taxes to be used for activities that threaten the enhanced 2030 target or the climate neutrality objective.

While MEPs have a long todo list, they must remember that it was Parliament that mandated to make the EU a climate champion.

About the author

Wendel Trio is the Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe

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