CAN Europe’s letter to ministers ahead of the Environment Council on 4th October

Climate action

Dear Minister,
We are disappointed that the European Union knowingly missed the opportunity to boost global climate ambition by deciding not to announce an increase of the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

This decision turns a blind eye to the clear call from science that highlights the dangers of any further delay. It ignores the increasingly enraged nature that is claiming ever more lives and livelihoods with fires, droughts and hurricanes, also in Europe. And it goes against the calls from the millions of European citizens, notably young people, who have taken to the streets to demand that climate action be treated with real urgency and seriousness.

At the next Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg you have been invited to adopt the European Union’s position for the next UNFCCC COP 25 in Santiago. This COP follows the New York Climate Action Summit building the pathway to COP 26 that is the deadline for all countries to submit their revised 2030 reduction targets, the NDCs.

The global emissions need to, at minimum, be halved by 2030 to keep temperature increase below 1.5°C with any admissible likelihood. We have noted the commitment of the Commission Presidentelect Ursula von der Leyen to present a proposal for a higher EU 2030 climate target of a -55% greenhouse gas reductions that is also supported by many EU member states. However, to stay on the 1.5°C pathway the EU needs to adopt a 2030 target of at least -65% as its fair share.

The time is up for any self-claimed leadership talk that is not backed-up by transformative action. We urge the European Union to announce at the COP 25 its commitment to significantly improve its 2030 target. The earlier the EU will do this, the bigger impact it will have on the global climate ambition by incentivising further action from others.

We also highlight the importance of adopting an ambitious and forward-thinking position on climate finance in advance of the COP 25, which is crucial to the success of the negotiations, including scaling up the provision of new and additional finance to reach the $100 billion goal by 2020.

The 2019 Eurobarometer survey quotes that 93% of Europeans are concerned or very concerned about climate change and support action across the EU to tackle it. It is a very strong mandate for you to act.

Kind regards,
Wendel Trio
Climate Action Network Europe