Timmermans presents bold vision for a European Green Deal

Posted on 08 October 2019

He focused on the Climate Law. Discussions on biodiversity were vaguer.
Brussels, Belgium - 8 October 2019

WWF reacted this evening to the European Parliament hearing of Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s proposed Executive Vice-President for a European Green Deal.

The hearing was a critical moment to assess Timmermans’ commitment to a European Green Deal that delivers for the climate and for nature, as called for by citizens and scientists worldwide. 

His answers focussed on the promised Climate Law. He supported climate neutrality by 2050 and an increase of the 2030 emissions reduction target to 50% or most likely 55% percent, and a provision of new money for the Just Transition fund. 

On biodiversity, discussions remained vague, but Timmermans expressed his hope that Europe was on the verge of the same awakening to the biodiversity crisis as the one we have witnessed on climate change. He also proposed a large-scale reforestation programme within Europe, hinted at legislative measures on deforestation, and promised that the EU would put concrete proposals on biodiversity on the table ahead of the CBD COP in China in 2020. 

Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office said:
“Frans Timmermans stood up for a greener Europe tonight. He understands - in principle - that the climate and nature crises must be tackled together, but remained vague on specific policies to protect and restore nature. We now need to see this turned into action, with binding targets on biodiversity conservation and the restoration of European crucial carbon-absorbing ecosystems. All new Commissioners must work together to ensure this happens urgently.”

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF’s European Policy Office, said:
"Our current EU climate targets are too low. While Timmermans showed his support for greater action tonight, he did not go far enough. We need a 65% climate target by 2030, and a climate neutral EU by 2040. These must be enshrined in the proposed climate law at the heart of the planned Green Deal, and implemented in a socially fair way."

Andreas Baumüller,  Head of Natural Resources at WWF's European Policy Office said:
“Biodiversity took a back seat to climate in tonight’s hearing, but we cannot protect one without acting on the other. It is time to act on the shocking loss of wildlife in the EU, put in place strict and binding commitments, and penalise those countries which do not respect them, as we also cut our carbon emissions. This is the only way we can turn the biodiversity crisis around.”

See here for full WWF Briefing on the European Green Deal
See here for WWF's asks on the climate law

Angelika Pullen
Communications Director, WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 94 79 66

Sarah Azau (on climate)
Media manager, WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 57 31 37

Edel Shanahan (on biodiversity)
Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
+32 484 49 35 15
Windturbine at a wind farm, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.