Sunday

19th May 2019

Use 25% of budget on climate change, urge EU states

A group of EU member states are demanding to set aside 25 percent of the next EU budget to tackle climate change.

The proposal, floated at a gathering of EU heads of state and government in Romania on Thursday (9 May), comes amid a separate report showing how people living in the EU over-consume resources.

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It also follows wide-spread climate protests led by Swedish teenager and climate activist Greta Thunberg and recent United Nation revelations that one million species of animals and plants face extinction.

France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden are now demanding that at least 25 percent of the next EU budget, for 2021-2027, go to projects aimed a fighting climate change.

"As a general principle, the EU budget should not finance any policy detrimental to this objective," notes their proposal, outlined in a two-page 'non-paper'.

The eight member states say urgent action is needed to slow the impacts of global warming and are demanding the EU press ahead with a long term strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

EU budget talks known as the multi annual financial framework are currently underway to span the years 2021 to 2027.

But their net-zero greenhouse gas emissions efforts, first proposed by the European Commission, will meet resistance.

In March, leaked documents revealed Germany opposed the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

The economic powerhouse is also the largest emitter of CO2 from coal in the EU, followed by Poland.

Member states are also already required to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from their 1990 levels by the end of this year.

But many are set to miss that goal, including Germany and other coal-fired countries of eastern Europe like Poland.

European citizens over-consuming

On top, the consumer lifestyle of average EU citizens and residents is outstripping the natural production of resources.

A report by World Wide Fund (WWF) and Global Footprint Network out Thursday says the EU uses almost 20 percent of the earth's biocapacity although it comprises only seven percent of the world population.

"If everybody in the world lived like the average EU resident, we would have used up nature's budget for the year by the 10 May, and would need 2.8 planets," it says.

The biggest culprit in terms of consumption versus resources in the EU is Luxembourg, home to the current European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The Grand Duchy is followed by Estonia, Denmark and Sweden.

EU-27 pledge to speak in 'one voice' after Brexit

Leaders gathered to discuss the EU's agenda and Brussels' most senior jobs after the election - and Brexit - to redefine the bloc's place in the world. And they will meet again on 28 May to assess the election results.

Single EU railway signalling system faces delays

'A reality check shows that we are already falling a little bit behind in the first few years,' said the new coordinator for the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS).

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