Ministers must put climate action at heart of green recovery | WWF
Ministers must put climate action at heart of green recovery

Posted on 13 July 2020

President Michel’s recent proposal is a good step but still too small
What’s happening?
On 13-14 July, EU environment ministers are meeting informally via video conference in order to discuss the green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and EU climate policy. They will also talk about digitalisation and the environment. 

Their meeting takes place shortly before European leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the proposed recovery package and EU budget, on 17-18 July. Recently, the President of the European Council Charles Michel tabled a new proposal of a 30% climate spending target for the whole EU budget and recovery package instead of 25% previously, and integrated the ‘do no harm’ principle.

Why does it matter?
Doing more to tackle the climate crisis is a scientific necessity to avoid devastating impacts. It is also an ideal way to re-start the European economy and create sustainable jobs in local industries. The European Commission has proposed a recovery package of over €1 trillion. Over 1.3 million people and 150 organisations want this package to be green and just, boosting sustainable sectors. At the same time, EU climate policy needs to be brought in line with science, starting with increasing the 2030 target to 65% emissions reductions. Stronger climate policy and massive investments in the right sectors should come together to ensure a resilient, fair, climate-neutral and sustainable EU future economy. 

Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“The EU is ready to invest massively in our economic recovery. By doing so alongside higher climate targets and a climate law grounded in science, the EU can create good jobs, tackle the climate emergency, and build a safer, healthier society.”

“President Michel’s recent proposal on the EU budget is a good step but still too small: the ‘do no harm’ principle must be operationalised by using the taxonomy criteria and applied to the whole package, and the climate spending target increased further”, said Lübbeke.

What exactly does WWF want to see?

On green recovery
- A minimum environment and climate spending target in the whole package that is significantly higher than the current 25%, aiming for 50%. The spending should be tracked using the EU taxonomy, which identifies sustainable activities.
- A ‘do no harm’ principle applied to the entire package and implemented using the eligibility criteria of the EU taxonomy, meaning Member States cannot invest in gas or other fossil fuels, nor in unsustainable activities such as new airports and motorways, or intensive agriculture. See WWF’s letter to EU heads of state and government.
- Full consistency with EU environmental targets (including the soon-to-be increased 2030 climate target and recently adopted 2030 Biodiversity Strategy) and national plans (National Energy and Climate Plans, territorial Just Transition Plans, Operational Programmes). 
- Access to the proposed ‘Recovery and resilience facility’ - that is, EU funds for countries’ national recovery plans - should comply with the above requirements.

On the EU climate law
- An emissions reduction target for 2030 of at least 65%, excluding carbon dioxide removal by sinks.
- The scrapping or changing by 2021 of any EU policies that aren’t consistent with the EU’s climate objectives.
- An independent expert EU climate body to advise on and suggest further improvements to EU climate policy approaches and plans and to report on their consistency with EU climate goals
- A ban on all fossil fuel subsidies, advertising and sponsorshipMore

Imke Lübbeke
Head of Climate & Energy 

Sarah Azau (Climate)
Media manager 
+32 473 573 137
EU Council President with Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki
© Krystian Maj / KPRM