10 member states urge EU to adopt 2050 net zero emission target
Environment ministers representing 10 EU member states have written to the European Commission asking it to support a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Ministers from Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden have all signed the letter, and also propose a more ambitious 2030 target.
This comes as the European Commission prepares to publish its draft long-term climate strategy on 28 November, before the final version is submitted to the UN by early 2020.
The signatories have also urged the commission to consider the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recommendations to prevent uncontrollable global warming by 2030.
“We encourage the commission to set a clear direction towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050,” the letter states.
“These ambitious scenarios and pathways are crucial to respond to the challenges raised by the IPCC report, and we strongly emphasise that they should be presented in a credible and detailed way.”
In a draft strategy leaked in October, the European Commission proposed three options for the EU’s long-term target: an 80% emission reduction by 2050, net zero emissions by 2070, and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
However, the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said the commission had failed to give preference to the latter as the best choice, and disregarded the need to propose a higher 2030 target.
This is thought to be in stark contradiction to the recent IPCC report, which clearly shows that the EU will need to substantially increase its climate action to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.
CAN Europe is now calling on the EU to reduce emissions to net zero by 2040, and by 2030 go well above the 55% reduction some member states and the European Parliament are calling for.
The NGO’s director, Wendel Trio, said: “The IPCC scientists made it crystal clear that we need to make every effort to stay below 1.5°C. For the EU, this means a significant increase of its long-term and 2030 targets.
“We call upon the ministers who signed the letter to be clear and unequivocal that they want the EU to increase its targets well beyond what has been agreed already at the upcoming climate summit COP24."
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM