Ahead of the European Council’s discussion on the ambition level of the new 2030 climate target, a unique gathering of businesses, investor groups, local and regional authorities and NGOs published a joint letter calling on the EU leaders to agree on the most ambitious target level.
Signed by 47 organisations representing over 2.700 cities, 330 regions, €62 trillion in investment portfolio, more than 800 companies and 330 NGOs, the joint letter clearly expresses the desire of European stakeholders to have the EU’s 2030 climate target substantially increased. Building on the recent proposal from the European Commission, the signatories hope European Member States will improve what is proposed, and in particular call for decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions to come on top of the needed strong emission reductions in other sectors.
The letter welcomes the Commission’s proposal to substantially increase the EU’s 2030 climate target and states that the Member States should agree on at least -55% while some civil society organisations supporting the letter are already calling for at least -65% emission reductions. European stakeholders encourage Member States to achieve increased climate target both by strong emission reductions as well as decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions in line with the need to protect Europe's biodiversity.
European cities, regions, businesses, investors, NGOs and local communities, underline that only ambitious climate action can avert the most dire future costs of climate change impacts and provide a unique societal and economic opportunity to achieve a socially just transition for all European regions.
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “ For the EU to provide a fair contribution to the global effort to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, a reduction of at least 65% of greenhouse gas emissions would be needed. We thus need Member States to support increasing European climate action in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. More is necessary, possible and it would protect Europeans from the worsening impacts of climate change, while providing a unique opportunity to recover from the current economic crisis and create socially just, better and healthier jobs.”
Steven Tebbe, Managing Director, CDP Europe said: “The EU must cut emissions by at least 55% in the next decade to align with the Paris agreement and its own climate neutrality target, so the Commission's ambition to do so is welcome. With increasing numbers of European companies now putting in place science-based targets for reducing their emissions with 1.5°C, the European economy is showing that this level of ambition - and much more - is feasible."
María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition said: “Leading companies believe that is crucial for the EU to reduce its emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to be net zero by 2050. Ambitious climate policies give businesses the clarity and confidence they need to accelerate their investments and transition to the zero-carbon economy. An ambitious climate target will create jobs and drive economic growth. “
Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG Europe, said: “The European Commission’s impact assessment clearly picks up on the strong support from business for a stronger EU 2030 climate target and sets out how Europe can reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. The next steps should be to urgently confirm this ambition and move to implement it. We look to EU member states to support the Commission’s proposal, and deliver economic recovery plans which direct investment towards creating a healthy, fair, competitive and climate neutral EU. By increasing its climate ambition now, the EU can better reap the benefits of the transition to net zero, and the lower the associated long term costs.”
Frauke Thies, Executive Director, smartEn, said: “The proposed increase of Europe's climate target is not only necessary, it also offers significant opportunities to re-think our energy system. The empowerment of energy users by enabling demand-side flexibility is central to this. Every home, car or business can play an important role in providing the flexibility that is necessary to realise an increasingly renewables-based and electrified energy system that is robust, efficient and affordable for all Europeans".
Roland Moreau, President of the EU Chapter of the Club of Rome, said : “The Club of Rome already sounded the alarm in 1972 by recalling the existence of ‘limits to growth’ and to our planet. Since then multiple ‘Earth Summits’ have taken place with Declarations, Plans and Agreements. A lot of words and very little action ! Hopefully the EU, inspired by the Commission, will implement an ambitious ‘Green Deal’ in line with the Planetary Emergency Plan of the Club of Rome. We owe this to our children and now it is time to act seriously!”
Cees Loggen, Regional Minister of Noord-Holland Province and CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions) Vice-President for Climate & Energy, said: “I welcome the Commission's increased ambition to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55% by 2030. It is an important piece of the puzzle if we are to achieve the European Green Deal and a speedy recovery. We need to create jobs, invest in clean technologies and ensure a fair transition for the areas most affected by climate change, such as the maritime and peripheral regions that CPMR represents. In order to achieve its climate goals, it is important that the EU works in synergy with maritime regions, which have long been confronted with the effects of climate change and have acquired the necessary experience and knowledge, which they are happy to share.”
Julije Domac, President of FEDARENE said: “FEDARENE welcomes the Commission’s proposal to increase the EU's 2030 climate target to at least 55% GHG reductions as it is the only responsible scenario. EU’s higher 2030 climate targets will help local and regional authorities promote their own higher ambitions to national governments and secure larger support for local action. Recovery efforts must be directed at achieving these goals as sustainable energy and climate action stimulates local economic development, alleviates energy poverty, improves air quality and truly informs and empowers citizens and local initiatives.”
Sören Ronge, European Coordinator of Protect Our Winters (POW) Europe, said: “We are encouraged by the European Parliaments Environmental Committee´s vote for a carbon emissions reduction of 60% by 2030 and also the plans presented by the Commission for reductions of at least 55%. While science tells us these commitments should be even stronger, as we need a 65% emissions reduction to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, these institutions are paving the way in the right direction. It is crucial that Member States now also follow this example, come to an agreement and increase their climate ambitions in order to protect our winters and nature from dangerous climate change“.
Eamon O’Hara, Executive Director of ECOLISE said: “We hope that the EU shows its commitment to its citizens who deserve a healthier, fairer and more regenerative future by cutting its emissions by 65% by 2030. Local led community initiatives have shown resilience through the pandemic by working together to foster not only a sense of solidarity but also innovation and ambition by launching a European-wide programme called Communities for Future. The EU needs to work with its citizens, local communities, municipalities, local governments, and small businesses if we are to move through the climate and ecological emergencies and now the pandemic.”
Andreas Gürtler, Director of European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF) said: “EiiF supports the 2030 reduction target of at least 55% in order to reach net zero in 2050. These goals can only be achieved with the support and participation of all key sectors including the EU’s industry and energy supply. Improving insulation standards in industry can make a big contribution and also offers added value to the European economy.”
Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO and Chief Change Catalyst of The B Team, said: “We have no time to waste in tackling our climate crisis. The B Team fully supports an ambitious EU emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030 that paves the way for other countries and regions to follow. An ambitious target for the EU is required if it has any chance of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050—that respects planetary boundaries, leaves no individual or community behind and supports business in accelerating their own climate commitments.”
Marissa Ryan, head of Oxfam EU, said: “The richest 10% of the world’s population are responsible for over half the carbon emissions since 1990. This extreme carbon inequality disproportionately impacts young people, poor communities and women, compounding and reinforcing existing discrimination. The proposal to reduce the EU’s emissions by at least 55% by 2030 is a bare minimum. Much more is needed if we genuinely intend to tackle carbon inequality and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
The coronavirus recovery is the right moment to rebuild our outdated, unfair, and polluting pre-pandemic economies. EU governments must heed the call of their citizens and agree ambitious emissions cuts to build a fair and green economy that works for people.”
Nils Borg, Executive Director of European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy said: “Energy efficiency first should remain a guiding principle for the EU's climate work, simply because it makes sense. However, the Commission needs to put more emphasis on helping and pushing Member States to step up their work on implementation.”