Over 70 NGOs, Businesses, and Trade Unions Demand EU Climate Targets In Line With Paris Agreement

A coalition of more than 70 businesses, NGOs, and trade unions, are calling on European leaders to ensure that the EU’s climate policies are in line with the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

The ‘Coalition for Higher Ambition’ is urging leaders to act on the historic climate deal ahead of this Friday’s Environment Council meeting where environment ministers will discuss the implications of the COP21 climate summit for EU policy.

European Heads of State will then meet on the 17 and 18th of March to discuss the impact the Paris Agreement will have on the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package.

These meetings will set the timeline for the EU’s ratification of the Paris deal as well as the path it will take to bring Europe in line with its commitment under the Paris Agreement.

However, as a paper released by the European Commission in preparation for Friday’s meeting shows, the EU has failed to recommend a review of its 2030 carbon target in light of the Paris goal to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Commission has also postponed any discussion to set new post-2030 targets until 2023.

Ambitious Deal

Last December, EU leaders joined with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the United States in what was coined as the ‘high ambition coalition’ which worked to push for a strong climate deal in Paris.

The final deal reached agreed to hold the increase in global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” as well as to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions during the second part of this century.

However, the new informal ‘Coalition for Higher Ambition’ – whose members include Sky, BT, Dong Energy, Unilver, E3G, and Greenpeace  argues that there is “a real risk that the current level of ambition of legislation on the table is going to damage Europe’s chances of reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

As the coalition’s letter addressed to EU Heads of State, environment ministers, the Commission, and Parliament, reads: “Our commitment to act will not be sufficient without an indication from Europe’s leaders that they will continue to show the leadership that was so critical in Paris and act to transform the Paris outcomes into reality.”

EU Targets

The coalition argues that in order to meet the agreed Paris climate goals, Europe must increase its targets for both 2030 and 2050.

Currently, the EU targets aim to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

And as a Commission paper leaked last month shows, the EU intends to stick to its current policies and 2030 targets which are based on a 2°C scenario.

Instead, the coalition is calling for a 2050 emissions reduction target that is “at the upper end of 80-95 percent range” as well as a “guarantee that 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets are in line with the science, the well below 2 degrees and 1.5 degree long term goals.”

Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe, said in a statement: “Put simply, Europe’s 2030 legislative agenda risks locking-in lower ambition. We are calling for Europe's targets to be increased in line with the goals agreed in Paris.

“This means securing a cut of well beyond 40 percent in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and getting those emissions to near zero by 2050. The EU needs to ensure we move off the three-degree warming pathway, where the current climate targets put us.”

You can read the full statement and list of demands from the Coalition for Higher Ambition here.

Photo: Takver via Flickr