EU leaders put planet on back-burner, again
Commenting on the European Council conclusions adopted today on the EU’s long-term climate strategy, Ester Asin, Director of WWF European Policy Office said:
“Once again, Heads of State have given citizens and scientists the cold shoulder on climate action. They adopted conclusions today which are meaningless. Without a fixed timeline for reaching net zero greenhouse emissions in the EU - 2050 or ideally 2040 - this agreement is just words on a page.
“It is mind-boggling. With our survival on a cliff-edge, some countries actually appear to be going backwards. Germany, a formerly progressive country on climate, is palling up with the likes of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to oppose the greater ambition that France, Spain, Luxembourg and others want.
“This cannot stand: leaders must set a firm course for climate at the next European Council meeting in June. People will not stop pushing for climate action, so their leaders must stop putting the planet on the back-burner and pay heed, for the sake of the climate, for citizens, and for their own legacy.”
The conclusions state:
The European Council:
– reiterates its commitment to the Paris Agreement and recognises the need to step up the global efforts to tackle climate change in light of the latest available science, especially the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels
- emphasises the importance of the EU submitting an ambitious long-term strategy by 2020 striving for climate neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement, while taking into account Member States’ specificities and the competitiveness of European industry;
– calls for the timely finalisation of the national long-term strategies;
– recognises that the implementation of the Paris Agreement objective offers significant opportunities and potential for economic growth, new jobs and technological development and for strengthening European competitiveness, which must be reaped while ensuring a just and socially balanced transition for all;
– calls on the Council to intensify its work on a long-term climate strategy ahead of a further discussion in the European Council in June 2019.