Timmermans willing to increase climate action but struggles with UN timeline

Climate action

During his hearing in the European Parliament today, Commissioner-designate Frans Timmermans, pledged to propose an increase of the EU 2030 climate target to 55% emission cuts. The timing of this proposal however might not allow for Member States’ approval well in time before the UN Climate Summit in November 2020, thereby depriving the EU of its global climate leadership role.

In the Paris Agreement, all countries committed to submit new increased 2030 climate targets to the UN by 2020. The EU should adopt a new, substantially higher target already in the first half of 2020, to be able to play a leadership role and encourage other big emitters to also increase their targets.

For this to happen, the European Green Deal to be presented by the new Commission in February 2020 needs to include a proposal to increase the target to 55% emission cuts, and also a higher target of at least 65%, which would bring the EU more in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

Commenting on Timmermans’ hearing, Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“Timmermans deserves credit for emphasising the need to raise the bar and aim for higher ambition, but he must adapt his timeline to ensure that the Commission comes with its proposal early 2020. The Paris Agreement requires the EU to increase its target in 2020, but the EU will not meet this deadline if the Commission delays its proposal to late 2020. After all, other big emitters will not be inspired by a Commission proposal but by the whole EU approving a new target.

Timmermans should reflect the urgency embedded in the landmark IPCC report on the 1.5°C target released a year ago. The report showed how quickly we are approaching climate breakdown and how urgently we need action to avoid it. We do not need another study to prove that we need to massively scale up emission cuts. This should not be used as a reason to delay action.”

Today marks the first anniversary of the publication of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which clearly stated that to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C we need to drastically increase emission cuts in the coming years.

Failure to adopt an ambitious new EU target would be a blow to millions of Europeans that take to the streets demanding an immediate and effective response to the climate crisis.

Pressure for increasing the EU 2030 climate target to 55% emission cuts by 2020 is growing. Indeed, the European Parliament, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and several EU Member States, including Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Latvia and Slovenia have recently expressed their support for a 55% target.


Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications, ania@caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.