Letter to Environmental Council: bring EU climate ambition in line with Paris

Climate action

CAN Europe sent the following letter to Environment Ministers ahead of the June 2016 Envi Council meeting


Dear Minister

At the upcoming Environment Council, you will discuss both the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The Paris Agreement was a milestone. For the first time all countries in the world agreed to take action to prevent dangerous climate change. They also agreed that in order to prevent dangerous climate change, temperature rise needs to stay well below 2°C and preferably be limited to 1.5°C. Furthermore, all countries agreed that the current pledges, made in preparation of the Paris Summit, are inconsistent with this goal and therefore must be revised and improved.

Early ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU is crucial in order to show that the EU recognizes the importance of the Paris Agreement. We call upon all Member States to initiate domestic ratification as soon as possible.

The EU’s current 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% is not in line with the Paris Agreement. The recognition in Paris that current pledges are not adequate to achieve the Paris objectives must result in action as soon as possible. As promised in Paris, the EU must review its 2030 pledge, include strengthening the ETS.  We call upon you to recognize and clearly state during the Environment Council that:

  • The ETS reform proposal  – developed before the Paris Summit – needs to be substantially improved;
  • The 2030 ETS target needs to be aligned with the Paris objectives;
  • The linear reduction factor needs to be increased well above 2.2% and needs to start at actual emissions and not at the weak 2020 target as this would immediately create a new surplus of emission allowances;
  • Surplus allowances need to be cancelled.  Such cancellation would represent a tangible and real EU contribution to this year’s UNFCCC facilitative dialogue on increasing pre-2020 action.

Similar action will need to be taken for the non-ETS emissions under the Effort Sharing Decision. While it is important to ensure the national targets are distributed in the fairest way possible, it is even more important to align the overall target with the Paris objectives. This means that all domestic national targets will need to be increased. Loopholes such as using the LULUCF sector to delay action in other sectors need to be closed.

The EU’s partners in the G7 are looking to the EU to implement its commitment to a rapid ratification of the Paris Agreement. Similarly the EU’s partners in the UNFCCC’s High Ambition Coalition are waiting to see if the EU brings its pre-Paris pledge in line with the agreement the EU championed in Paris.

We are calling upon you to show the rest of the world that the EU understands the urgency and depth of the climate crisis and is willing to do its fair share to ensure the Paris goals can be met.

Kind regards,

Wendel Trio, Director CAN Europe