07 October 2020 – A knife-edge vote yesterday ended up in the climate’s favour when the European Parliament voted in plenary for a 60% target for 2030. The vote passed thanks to the support of most members of the S&D, Renew, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL. Most of the centre-right EPP group, as well as ECR and ID ignored the extent of the climate crisis by voting against.
The European Parliament is to be applauded for taking a position that is far more progressive than the Commission’s 55% “net” proposal. However, a 60% target for 2030 is still not in line with what the science shows we need to do to stand a chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. WWF and other NGOs have been calling for at least 65% emissions reductions by 2030 and a separate target for carbon removals from sinks.
“MEPs have nailed their climate colours to the mast, and they are not bad at all. MEPs have shown the Commission’s proposal was too low and the ‘net’ part unclear. However, they didn’t go far enough, and we cannot settle for second best when it comes to climate action. Yesterday’s 60% result needs to be taken up by Member States so we can take real steps towards a green economic recovery and a planet that thrives.” – Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy, WWF European Policy Office
The European Parliament also voted in favour of each Member State reaching climate neutrality individually by 2050.
“This decision can become a clear signal for taking active action. It is time for state institutions to adapt the whole economy to climate change. Drought, for example, is already leading to specific large-scale financial losses for entire regions. Public environmental policies and a network of protected areas should be made a strategic priority on a national security level.” commented Georgi Stefanov, Climate and Energy Practice Lead, WWF-Bulgaria.
WWF is calling for:
- an emissions reduction target for 2030 of at least 65%, excluding carbon dioxide removal by sinks or any international offsetting;
- any EU policies that are not consistent with the EU’s climate objectives to be scrapped or changed by 2021;
- an independent expert EU climate body to advise on EU climate policies and plans and their consistency with EU climate goals;
- an EU roadmap that sets out the path to climate neutrality by 2040; and
- a ban on all fossil fuel subsidies by 2026.
MEPs will also vote today on other aspects of the EU Climate Law, such as a scientific advisory body (the “European Climate Change Council”) to scrutinise EU policies, more consistency between financial flows and EU policies and the climate neutrality objective, and the EU reaching negative emissions by 2051.
EU leaders are scheduled to discuss climate change issues on 15-16 October and finally decide at the December Council.
Climate and Energy Practice Lead,
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