Leaked EU strategy at odds with IPCC climate report, says European NGO

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

October 8th, 2018

A leaked draft of the EU’s proposed long-term climate strategy shows that the bloc’s targets do not line up with the urgency of action needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, a leading climate NGO has said.

According to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)  special report released today, limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C is still possible, but only with rapid policy change across the globe.

The report finds that the Paris Agreement commitments fall far short of what is needed and that Europe needs a radical policy shift to cut emissions in half by 2030 and to reach zero by 2050.

Wendel Trio, the director of the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said that the new findings should signify both “urgency” and “hope” for European countries.

Leaked EU draft

“The silver lining to the report is that we still have a chance to stay below 1.5°C, that solutions are within our reach and that it will help us build a safer, more prosperous Europe,” Mr Trio said.

He said that the EU needs to increase its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target to 45 per cent “to be in line with the IPCC’s recommendations on 1.5°C pathways”.

However, targets in the draft EU strategy, leaked to EURACTIV today, fail to reflect the urgency of action “enshrined in the IPCC report”, Mr Trio said.

The long-term targets considered in the draft point include plans for 80 per cent emission reductions by 2050, reaching net zero emissions by 2070 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

“The report made it crystal clear that staying below 1.5°C requires that global emissions drop to zero by 2050,” Mr Trio said. “Staying below 1.5°C means Europe needs to reach net zero emissions by 2040.”

EU Environment Ministers will meet tomorrow to adopt a uniform policy for the upcoming UN Climate Summit COP24 in Poland.

Conférence des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques – COP21 (Paris, Le Bourget)Political will required

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, a member of The Club of Rome said that implementing the recommendations of the new report will require a relentless commitment to multi-sector transformation.

“We need an unprecedented acceleration towards a low carbon economy. A transformational versus incremental change is necessary,” Ms Dixson-Declève said.

She said that in following the guidelines of IPCC report, Europe does an unyielding “political will” to step out of its comfort zone and change its ways.

“This should include commitments for faster reductions in carbon emissions and clear policies to help businesses innovate,” she said.

“For business, this means a faster shift from fossil energy and new business models that fully embrace decarbonisation,” she continued.

Photo: Jonathan Petersson

Transport changes

Carlos Calvo Ambel, manager for analysis and climate at Transport and Environment (T&E), suggested that Member States should immediately push for fresh reforms in the transport sector as it is the biggest carbon emitting industry.

“Transport is the rotten apple of the EU climate barrel. In order to avoid spoiling the entire barrel, Europe needs decisive action on transport emissions now,” Mr Calvo Ambel said.

Outlining the report’s emphasis on the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, Mr Calvo Ambel said: “Without cutting aviation emissions there is no way the world can avoid dangerous climate change. We’ve been ignoring this issue for too long.”

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.