Luxembourg/Brussels – European environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg are expected to set up a clash with the European Parliament by ignoring its calls to step up EU climate action.
The ministers will discuss proposals for an EU climate law, including plans to raise the EU’s emissions reduction target for 2030, and a revision of this target every five years, but are expected to have little to show in terms of real progress.
The fraught decision on the 2030 target will be deferred to an EU summit in December in Brussels, just before a deadline for the EU to submit a target under the Paris climate agreement runs out at the end of 2020. The German presidency of the Council is also considering delaying negotiations between national governments, the EU Parliament and the European Commission on the EU climate law until after heads of state and government come to an agreement on the 2030 target.
Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “It’s five minutes to midnight on the climate emergency clock, but our governments are stalling. Meanwhile, the gas industry, the industrial farming lobby, airlines and carmakers are shooting holes in the EU Green Deal, and our chance of a safe climate for people and nature is fading. Not only is the EU’s climate action under attack from the outside, several governments and the Commission are also in favour of using accounting tricks to artificially inflate the emissions reduction target for 2030.”
The European Parliament has backed a 60% cut in emissions by 2030 and has rejected the European Commission’s controversial inclusion of emissions absorbed by forests and grasslands, known as carbon sinks, to inflate the 2030 climate target.
The Commission has recommended at least 55% in net-emission reductions, but admits that this would only translate into around 50.5-52.8% in real emission cuts in polluting sectors, like energy, transport and farming, because of the inclusion of carbon sinks.
A new report by Greenpeace illustrates how relying on carbon sinks to cut emissions won’t stop climate breakdown and only lets polluters off the hook.
To have a chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, avoiding the worst effects of climate breakdown, Greenpeace is calling for a minimum 65% cut in EU emissions by 2030.
Earlier this week, European governments rejected any meaningful reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with critics warning of the dire consequences for nature and the climate. The European Parliament will formally adopt its position on the CAP reform in a vote later on Friday.
The Parliament supports the following additions to the Commission’s draft EU climate law:
- making the overall EU 2050 climate neutrality target binding on each EU country;
- requiring the Commission to table a proposal for a 2040 climate target;
- creating a European climate change council of scientists, which would scrutinise EU climate policies, including targets;
- requiring the Commission to table a carbon budget for the EU by December 2021, detailing the emission cuts that would still be possible to stay within the Paris Agreement’s temperature threshold.
- the EU and national governments phasing out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies;
- requiring the Commission to report annually on all EU public spending that does not fall within the EU’s green finance taxonomy, the bloc’s rulebook on sustainable finance.
Sebastian Mang – Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser: +32 (0)479 601289, email@example.com
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, firstname.lastname@example.org
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