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Climate change policy

EU cannot ignore temperature goal in implementing UN climate agreement

The European Commission today presented a communication giving its first assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement, concluded at the UN climate summit in December, for climate change policy in the EU. The communication comes ahead of a debate among EU environment ministers on Friday on the EU follow-up to the Paris Agreement. Commenting on the communication, Green climate change spokesperson Yannick Jadot said:

"It is disheartening to see that the Commission is already seeking to lower the bar set in the Paris Climate Agreement in its assessment of what the EU should be doing to implement the UN deal. The headline goal of seeking to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees and pursuing a 1.5 degree limit would essentially be ignored under the Commission's analysis. Instead, the Commission seems to be focusing on some arbitrary medium-term range of actions. This would be a scandal and would again undermine the credibility of the EU in the context of global efforts to tackle climate change. EU environment ministers, meeting on Friday, must not accept this.

“It is widely acknowledged that the commitments made by the EU and others are at odds with the achievement of this temperature goal and we remain on track for a 3 degrees increase. The international stocktaking in 2018, foreseen under the Paris Agreement, must be effectively used to improve the current pledges for countries’ commitments before they are submitted in 2020 to prevent the low ambition being maintained until 2030. The EU should be seeking to address the limitations in its own policy to this end."

Green climate change spokesperson Bas Eickhout added:

"The implications of this agreement for Europe are clear: the EU needs to reassess its climate and energy targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050. The EU has promised to increase its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target to 30% if there is global action on climate change; this condition has now been met. Achieving the goals set out in this agreement for limiting the increase in global temperature means developed countries need to go further than the 2050 greenhouse gas targets set out by the IPCC in 2007 and fully decarbonise their economies before 2050. For the EU, this would clearly mean upping the ambition of its 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.  

“As an important step to this end, the EU’s malfunctioning emissions trading scheme must be fixed and this means finally and comprehensively addressing the oversupply of emissions permits. The European Parliament must ensure the surplus emissions permits from the trading periods up to 2020 are not carried over to the post-2020 phase of the ETS until 2030. This is essential to comply with commitments under the Paris Agreement."