CAN Europe’s reaction to the State of the European Union speech

Climate action

Reacting to the State of the European Union speech given by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“On climate change, this speech lacked concrete new announcements. President Juncker has recognized that climate change is already wreaking havoc in Europe, but failed to acknowledge that to protect its citizens the EU needs to significantly scale up its climate action. The new energy targets which translate into 45% emission cuts by 2030 are only the starting point for the real discussion on how to put the EU on a Paris-compatible pathway. It was disappointing that he has failed to outline the Commission’s plans for the new long-term climate strategy, which needs to include a clear commitment to reduce emissions to net zero well before 2050 and to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

In June EU governments, business, local authorities and NGOs urged the European Commission to ensure that its new long term climate strategy, to be presented in November, contains both a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions towards net zero in the EU by 2050, and a pathway to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, which would need to be even more ambitious.

The Commission has also been urged to align the 2030 target for greenhouse gas emission reductions with these more ambitious long term emission reduction trajectories. Some EU Member States, such as the Netherlands and Sweden, have recently called for the 2030 climate target to be raised to at least 55%.

The new EU long term strategy must compare costs and benefits of action with total cost of inaction for specific temperature thresholds – outlined in the CAN Europe’s infographic published yesterday. The infographic shows that climate-related extreme weather events already cost Europe dearly: EUR14bn only in 2017. It also shows that the future costs depend very much on how fast we cut carbon emissions and will be significantly reduced if we keep temperature rise to 1.5°C.


Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director,, +32 473 170 887

Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications,, +32 494 525 738


Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


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