24 September 2019
New York: Europe's political leaders missed a chance to show climate leadership at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, by failing to join a group of countries that committed to increase their climate commitments for 2030, leading NGO Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said on Tuesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called upon leaders to come to the Climate Action Summit with plans to raise their 2030 climate targets.
Nevertheless, the EU -- the self-proclaimed climate leader -- has failed to join the group of 59 countries that committed to do so as part of the new Climate Ambition Alliance created at the summit.
Most European leaders attending the summit, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, have also failed to mention the need to increase the EU's climate target in their speeches.
In reaction to their statements, Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said: "Despite millions of people on the streets demanding urgent action now, and the impacts of climate change becoming more and more severe, Europe's leaders missed a key opportunity to back deeper emission cuts by 2030."
"They clearly came unprepared to do what they were asked to: offer plans to increase the 2030 target. All eyes are now on the new Commission President-elect, to deliver on her promise to propose a higher climate target within 100 days in office."
"If the EU is serious about leading global efforts to stop climate breakdown, this new target needs to be adopted in the first half of 2020. Bringing it in line with the Paris Agreement's target to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require emissions to be reduced by 65 per cent by 2030,a Trio said in a statement to IANS.
Only four EU member states -- Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden -- committed to an update of the EU's 2030 climate target by the first quarter of 2020.
On a more positive note, French President Macron expressed his support for increasing the EU's target to 55 per cent emission cuts by 2030, but his statement is undermined by the fact that France continues missing its own climate objectives at national level.
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.