The following letter was sent to EU Heads of State and Government, Climate and Environment Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament Statement from the Coalition for Higher Ambition.
The momentum and political good will that we witnessed at the Paris Climate Summit was truly remarkable. Thanks in large part to Europe’s leadership the world has adopted the first ever global legally binding agreement, which will frame international climate action post 2020. In Paris, countries agreed to hold the increase in global average temperature “to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”, as well as to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero during the second part of this century.
As businesses, cities, regions, investors, trade unions, civil society groups and other stakeholders we have demonstrated that we are ready to play our part in support of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Over 1200 stakeholders have signed the ‘Paris Pledge for Action’, promising to act in order to ensure that the ambition set out in the Paris Agreement is met.
However, our commitment to act will not be sufficient without an indication from Europe’s leaders that they will continue to show the leadership that was so critical in Paris and act to transform the Paris outcomes into reality. What we need to see now is the development of a robust European policy framework, which will allow the EU to become a zero carbon economy. We need Europe to stimulate long-term investments in low carbon technologies, in particular energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as in sustainable agriculture and the protection and restoration of our ecosystems. We need Europe to develop an innovative European market that will allow all European leaders, citizens and workers to benefit in terms of good quality jobs, sustainable growth, improved competitiveness and better public health, while ensuring a just transition for the workforce. We also need Europe to continue to show international leadership by securing early ratification of Paris and working with other countries to support their delivery of the Paris Agreement.
2016 is a critical year for the implementation of the Paris Agreement as well as the Sustainable Development Goals through the development of EU legislation that will bring the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package to life. There is a real risk that the current level of ambition of legislation on the table is going to damage Europe’s chances of reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. Put simply, Europe’s 2030 legislative agenda risks locking-in lower ambition. We therefore call on Europe’s leaders to:
- Ensure that Europe’s ambition is consistent with the Paris Agreement and that we have a clear pathway set to 2050, which is at the upper end of the 80-95% range.
- Guarantee that 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reductions targets are in line with the science, the well below 2 degrees and 1.5 degree long term goals, building on the over achievement of the EU’s 2020 emissions reductions target. This will set the tone for the 2018 first global stocktake.
- Address the “at least’’ 40% domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 (taking into consideration current progress). This will strengthen the EU’s strategy towards a low-carbon economy if underpinned by consistent and coherent binding targets and measures to support the deployment of low carbon technologies especially energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Ensure that upcoming climate and energy legislation1 is aligned with delivering a growing, low-carbon, sustainable, socially fair and climate resilient Europe. This includes all relevant EU legislation on the EU Emissions Trading System, emissions from buildings, transport, agriculture and forests, renewable energy, energy efficiency and the EU’s budget. This should include review clauses in all legislative proposals that allow for immediate implementation of any increase of the overall 2030 target in order to avoid locking in lower ambition.
- Work closely with businesses, cities, regions, investors, civil society groups and trade unions who have shown their commitment to transform the Paris Agreement into reality.
As major organisations across Europe we call upon you to continue to show the leadership credentials that were so critical in driving the High Ambition Coalition at COP21. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the EU’s delivery of the Paris Agreement is set in motion in such a way that it will help us plan, invest properly and collectively set the EU on the right path in order to make the transition to a low emission and climate resilient economy inevitable, irreversible and irresistible.