EU-US Summit: Ambitious restart of relations needs to be guided by Paris Agreement

Global transition


What is happening?

Following up to the upcoming G7 Summit in the UK, US President Biden will make a visit to Brussels, both for a NATO Summit as well as an EU-US Summit on 15 June 2021 (joint press release by the EEAS and the US department of state). A recent media report suggests it might be a summit primarily or exclusively by Presidents of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council, Charles Michel, and US President, Joe Biden, in Brussels (not the EU27+).

The US government announced a new NDC at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate last April, with a range of 50-52% emission reductions by 2030 compared to 2005. A large group of US NGOs including USCAN members have highlighted a domestic 70% reduction as the minimum fair share. To achieve a similar effort as the EU’s 55%, the US would need to reduce its 2005 emissions by over 60%.

A recent Reuters article reported on the ongoing negotiations between the US and the EU on the summit statement. Information from the leaked draft statement seen by CAN Europe points to the potential establishment of a “Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance”. The outcomes of the G7 summit with regard to increasing and improving climate finance for developing countries to 2025 as well as to decarbonising economies can be expected to influence the final EU-US statement.

What does CAN Europe ask for? 

In a letter sent to the President of the European Commission on 3 June, CAN Europe highlighted the following key areas to be important for urgently enhanced climate action through the two Parties’ intensified collaboration, which are summarised here and have been partially updated in light of the G7 summit outcomes:

  • The EU and the US should agree to tackle emissions from international aviation including transatlantic flights, such as through their inclusion in the EU ETS.

  • The EU-US Summit is a key opportunity to reconcile and restart the EU-US trade relations, which need to be shaped in a way that they are compatible with the Paris Agreement and its 1.5°C temperature goal, and to contribute to the new G7 Industrial Decarbonisation Agenda and to dramatically increasing the pace of the global decarbonisation of the road transport sector throughout the 2020s, as envisaged by the G7;

  • Conclude strong statements on efforts to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels – such as ending coal use by 2030 – and other climate harming subsidies, which in turn can also free up additional resources to support the transformative changes needed for Paris-compatible climate action including through the recovery plans.

  • Both Parties, EU and US, should commit in their statement to make 1.5°C compatible climate action centre pieces of their cooperation and dialogues with other major governments/regions (such as China, India, Africa etc.), by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, supporting the phasing out, and immediately ending the financing, of fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies, and promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, also in light of the 

  • An initiative like “Build Back Better World” agreed by G7 can become an important tool to advance such cooperations but needs to be developed with developing countries and to be imposed on them, with a strong focus on both low- to zero-carbon and climate-resilient, adapted infrastructure with strong inclusion of local populations; but that this should not be conflated with delivering on the $100B prioritising grants-based finance 

  • Promise to promote an ambitious COP26 outcome which ensures environmental and social integrity in the negotiations of rules on emission reduction cooperations under the Paris Agreement (Article 6); significantly increasing climate finance in particular for adaptation and addressing loss and damage in developing countries. As the G7 summit outcome stays unsatisfactorily vague on the further increase in climate finance, in particular on adaptation, the EU should use the EU-US Summit to provide more detail on its planned climate finance increase and its contribution to closing the gap to the 100bn goal.

“A new EU-US alliance on climate and energy actions can become an important instrument in the toolbox for bringing the world on a 1.5°C compatible sustainable development pathway, but it is not enough to highlight this goal in rhetorics. Building on the G7 outcomes, both Parties must take concrete steps to cooperate in rapidly reducing climate harmful emissions from fossil fuels and to increase grant-based financial support for climate adaptation in developing countries. Transatlantic trade and interconnected economic sectors just as transatlantic aviation must contribute fairly to halving global emissions in this decade.” – Sven Harmeling, International Climate Policy Coordinator, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.



Nina Tramullas, ​Communication Coordinator.

Sven Harmeling, International Climate Policy Coordinator. +49 1776136431;


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