The EU’s climate pledge for the Paris agreement sets a low standard for other emitters

Climate action| Global transition

Today the EU’s environment ministers signed off the EU’s commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change. According to Climate Action Network Europe and its over 120 members, the EU’s announcement is a missed opportunity to set a high benchmark for all the pledges to the global deal.

The EU’s 2030 at least 40% climate target agreed by the EU Heads of State and Government last October needed to be translated into a pledge for presentation to the international climate negotiations, due to make a global climate deal in Paris at the end of this year.

Despite some Member States attempting to dilute the EU’s 2030 climate target, the environment ministers requested today that the EU’s commitment will not be lowered. At the same time however, they failed to provide clarity and credibility to the pledge, by not including information on the concrete amount of emission reductions that the EU will make after 2020. They also did not clarify how the EU will unlock the “at least” part of its 2030 commitment.

“It is highly disappointing to see that the EU’s offer does not provide nearly enough clarity on how it will harness progress towards a fossil fuel phase out and 100% renewable energy” – Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network said. “The EU’s current contribution does not specify how emissions from forestry, reductions done before 2020 and reductions abroad will be dealt with. The EU says nothing about these crucial issues, despite calling for other countries to provide pledges that will accurately measure emissions. Its pledge must be updated as soon as possible: the world needs the European Union to set a high standard, not a low one”.