Letter to EU environment ministers on EU climate ambition ahead of their informal meeting in July

Climate action

Dear Minister,

On 11 July, you will be meeting in Helsinki to discuss EU climate ambition ahead of the United Nations Secretary General Climate Action Summit in September. This is a unique opportunity for the EU to announce its determination to step up its commitments under the Paris Agreement and resume its position as a global climate leader, by announcing the EU is ready to enhance its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). Climate Action Network Europe is calling on the EU to increase its 2030 domestic greenhouse emission reduction target to at least 65% compared to 1990 emissions.

The current heat waves in Europe underline that climate change already has devastating effects on EU citizens and economies today and are a sharp reminder of the urgency to act. The recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights states that climate change could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and undo the last 50 years of the global fight against extreme poverty. Also within Europe, the poorest and most disadvantaged regions are and will be hit the hardest. The EU needs to prove its leadership by putting in place a plan to step up its GHG emissions reductions and provide a just transition for its most affected regions. This is why hundred thousands of citizens across the EU are calling for climate justice and ask decision-makers to tackle the climate crisis with the urgency and determination it deserves.

The world still faces a substantial challenge in bridging the gap between what is needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C and the action countries are planning to take at home. The UN Climate Action Summit aims to tackle this gap, and the EU cannot go to New York without a plan on how it will go beyond action it had already committed to before the Paris Agreement was agreed.

For your meeting on 11 July, we therefore call on you to:

  • Agree that at the UN Climate Action Summit in September, the EU will commit to substantially increase its NDC by 2020;
  • Commit to establish a clear process of reviewing the EU’s 2030 climate target, based on the most recent science and taking into account the potential costs of inadequate or belated action.

Thank you for considering these points and we remain at your disposal to further discuss ways to advance European and international climate action.

Yours sincerely,

Wendel Trio

Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe