A European Green Deal that delivers? What WWF is looking for from the Timmermans hearing | WWF
A European Green Deal that delivers? What WWF is looking for from the Timmermans hearing

Posted on 08 October 2019

Climate change and nature loss must be tackled together.
Brussels, Belgium - 8 October 2019

What’s happening?
This evening, Tuesday 8 October at 18:30 CEST, the Executive Vice-President-designate for a European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, will participate in a public hearing before the European Parliament. This will be a critical moment to assess his commitment to a European Green Deal that delivers for the climate and for nature, as called for by citizens and scientists worldwide. WWF will be live Tweeting during the hearing.

What will WWF be looking for?
WWF will be looking for Executive Vice-President-designate Timmermans to commit to proposing a European Green Deal within the first 100 days of the new European Commission taking office. This deal must show real ambition, that matches the scale of the environmental crisis we face. It must integrate action on climate and nature across all relevant EU policy areas. 

This deal must pass five tests:
  1. Set targets: Put in place mutually reinforcing targets on decarbonisation and nature restoration: a climate neutral Europe by 2040, and halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity by 2030
  2. Tackle food & footprint: Introduce flagship initiatives to transition to sustainable food systems in the EU and to address the EU’s global footprint
  3. Focus on delivery: zero tolerance for non-compliance and weak implementation of environmental laws
  4. Clean up the economy: Shift to a fully sustainable economy and halt any financial support for harmful economic activities
  5. Make it fair: Guarantee a just transition ensuring no-one is left behind
See here for full WWF Briefing on the European Green Deal

As an overarching issue, WWF is urging all Commissioners-designate to strongly oppose the “One in, one out” mechanism proposed by Commission President-elect Von der Leyen. Introducing such a principle would risk slowing or stopping much-needed new initiatives, undermine the ambitions of the European Green Deal, and put at risk existing standards that protect Europeans and the environment. 

“Climate change and nature loss are two sides of the same coin and they must be addressed together, not separately. If we restore natural ecosystems such as forests and wetlands, we can reverse nature loss while at the same time removing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing carbon sinks,” said Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office. “For the European Green Deal to live up to the twin challenges we’re facing, Frans Timmermans must therefore present us with an ambitious roadmap that includes legally binding targets for both climate and biodiversity.”

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF’s European Policy Office, said:
“Will this be the real deal for the climate? Timmermans’ responses tonight will show whether he has listened to the people on the streets and the overwhelming scientific consensus, and is ready to navigate to a greener and cleaner Europe.  Passing a climate law that helps set all sectors on the right path, and brings about a fair transition to a zero carbon Europe by 2040, is imperative to the incoming European Commission’s work.”

“To date, the EU has failed every single one of its biodiversity objectives, largely due to a lack of accountability and policy coherence. It is clear that voluntary commitments do not work: instead, we need legally binding targets for the EU and its Member States for 2030,” said Andreas Baumüller,  Head of Natural Resources at WWF's European Policy Office. “It is also time to make full use of key EU environmental legislation and take laggards to court!” 

More information on our policy asks: 

Read WWF’s new briefing on a European Green Deal
  • Achieving a climate neutral Europe by 2040 
The European Green Deal should contain a climate law as proposed by EU Commission President von der Leyen. This law must be centred on achieving a climate neutral Europe by 2040 and increasing the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target from 40% to 65%. It must set a target for doubling carbon dioxide removal by EU sinks by 2030, through legislation and funding for nature-based solutions, as well as ending fossil fuels and their subsidies. It must guarantee a socially fair transition to clean energy, and ensure citizens are involved in shaping climate policies, including the law itself.

Read WWF’s proposal for an EU climate law
  • Curtailing the loss of biodiversity in the next five years 
The EU will not meet its own target of halting biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation by 2020. The time for aspirational targets is over. The European Green deal must have immediate cross-cutting action on both climate and biodiversity to put the EU on track by 2030.  The proposed biodiversity strategy for 2030 which will form part of the European Green Deal, should include developing a dedicated legislative instrument to establish time-bound binding nature conservation and restoration targets for the EU and the Member States. 

Read European Habitats Forum Recommendations for post-2020 EU Biodiversity Strateg
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, during the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Lisbon, on 8th December 2018, Portugal
© © European Union 2018 - Source : EP