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WWF response to EU climate change agreement

WWF | WWF

3 min read Partner content

Today the European Council agreed a 2030 climate and energy framework with the headline targets of at least 40% greenhouse reductions, at least 27% renewable energy and 27% energy savings.

In doing so EU leaders have missed the opportunity to build a better future for European citizens, ignoring the significant gains to their well-being that greater ambition would yield. By slowing down the pace of EU action, the Council has also aimed well below what is expected of Europe internationally.

Leo Hickman, Chief Adviser, Climate Change, WWF-UK said:

“Our leaders have shown that they still lack the ambition to cut emissions at the very time when we should be fully embracing the many benefits that come from moving away from dirty fossil fuels. Bold investment and unswerving commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to securing jobs, economic growth, energy security and clean air.

““While we recognise that the UK Government fought hard to secure as high an emissions reduction target as was deemed politically possible, scientists are clear that this package is insufficient to avoid dangerous climate change.

“A year out from the signing of a global climate deal, we needed meaningful ambition. Sadly, our leaders blinked.”

Jason Anderson, Head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF European Policy Office said:

“European leaders are sacrificing our futures on the altar of politics. Today’s result seems designed keep vested interests from the old economy happy, at the cost of the wellbeing of citizens and forward-looking industries. Large polluters will find these conclusions to their linking since they may escape a meaningful pollution price signal for at least another decade.

With renewable energy and efficiency targets barely above business as usual trends, a carbon market that will remain irrelevant for a decade and nothing to reign in coal power, Europe’s early efforts to combat climate change and advance clean energy have been set adrift by Council.

The coming months will be crucial to avoid the worst implications of this decision. The EU will need to review its target, as it is asking other countries in the UN to do. Those Member States who see the benefits of climate action will try to fill the void with domestic policy, but action will be fractured, and an EU policy response will be necessary.”

Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative said:

“These targets are thoroughly inadequate. We are facing what is likely to be the warmest year ever, heat waves and flooding are already hitting Europe, and the developing world is experiencing even more dire impacts. European countries need to deliver targets that will drive a rapid and just transition out of fossil fuels and into renewables and energy efficiency. Until they have done so, they cannot continue to claim to be climate leaders.”

Next steps

Several elements are necessary to prevent the Council’s decisions from blocking progress on EU climate and energy. In the UN climate talks, the EU is supporting as an assessment of the likely gap between planned reductions and those needed to stay below 2 degrees global warming. This will be used to push countries to deepen their commitments - making the EU itself a prime candidate to perform such a review in light of its own weak showing in Council.

Read the most recent article written by WWF - Make the government machine go green

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