Thursday

28th May 2020

Three EU chiefs present 'green revolution' at Madrid COP25

  • 'Climate change does not respect national borders, the whole world needs to work together to fight it,' said EP president David Sassoli (left) (Photo: European Parliament)

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, promised on Monday at the UN climate conference (COP25) in Madrid that the European Green Deal "is Europe's new growth strategy" - saying it will cut emissions while also creating jobs and improving quality of life.

"This will include extending emission trading to all relevant sectors [e.g. shipping], clean, affordable and secure energy, the boosting of the circular economy, a farm to fork strategy as well as a biodiversity strategy," von der Leyen said, in her first major public engagement since taking over the job at the weekend.

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The first-ever European climate law to achieve a transition to climate-neutrality by 2050 will be officially presented in March 2020, although the package will be unveiled by the commissioner for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, on December 11.

Von der Leyen said she wanted "the European Green Deal to become Europe's hallmark" in order to make the EU the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

However, Greenpeace on Friday accused the new commission of preparing draft new climate and environmental laws whose measures are "too weak, half-baked or missing altogether".

According to the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, it was now time for a "green revolution", following the industrial revolution, and the technological revolution.

"But we must never forget the people behind our policies. We must be just and socially-balanced," he said, adding that not all countries have the same starting point in this transition.

"Protecting our planet is the right choice, the only choice," he added.

Fossil dependency

A new report by the Universal Ecological Fund (FEU) has highlighted that some European Union member states are "still dependent on fossil fuels for their electricity and heat generation".

The largest CO2 contributors within the EU in 2018 were Germany (22 percent), the United Kingdom (10.7 percent), Italy (10 percent), Poland (9.6 percent) and France (9.3 percent).

And, worldwide, some 136 of the 184 national pledges made for the UN Paris Agreement will still be insufficient to keep global temperature rises as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

"Because the climate pledges are voluntary, technicalities, loopholes and conditions continue to postpone decisive global action to reduce emissions and address climate change," the report states.

UN secretary-general Antonio Gutierrez pointed out at the beginning of the Madrid conference that according to a new UN report the world needed to reduce emissions by 7.6 percent each year between 2020 and 2030 to meet the Paris objectives.

"It is imperative that governments not only honour their national contributions under the Paris Agreement, [but] they [also] need to substantially increase their ambition," said Gutierrez, who believes that youth "leadership" and "mobilisation" contrasts with government inaction.

MEPs visit next week

According to the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the response to climate change is multilateralism.

An official European parliament delegation of 16 MEPs, headed by parliament's committee on environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) first vice-chair Bas Eickhout (the Greens/EFA), will take part in the COP25 from 9 to 14 December.

Last Thursday, MEPs declared a "climate emergency" and called on the new European Commission to include a 55 percent reduction target of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, this might not be enough.

On a national level, MEPs called on member states to now consider aviation and shipping in their national contribution plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to at least double their contributions to the international Green Climate Fund - both initiatives under the UN framework on climate change.

COP25 talks open in Madrid, with focus on carbon market

About 200 heads of government and state and more than 25,000 delegates from all over the world, will gather at the UN climate conference (COP25) on Monday to negotiate on a carbon market system and establish a common time frame.

COP25 ends with no deal on carbon markets

The outcome of the UN climate conference in Madrid (COP25) has been described as a "catastrophe" by environmental groups, since countries failed to agree on article six of the Paris Agreement, referring to the carbon markets system.

EU agency: 'Europe will not meet 2030 climate goals'

The European Environmental Agency's latest report predicts that Europe will not achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets "without urgent action during the next 10 years". As a result, the social systems of production and consumption must be transformed.

Romania blasted over animal export conditions

Romania, EU's largest exporter of live farm animals to third-countries, gets singled out in the latest European Commission report for bad practices - following the drowning of more than 14,000 sheep last November.

What will Brexit mean for climate action in EU and UK?

The UK is leaving the EU after playing a key role in climate action - just as COP26 comes to Glasgow. With so many policy negotiations ahead, a split between London and Brussels post-Brexit could undermine the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal.

Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states

The first EU-wide climate law will be a "disciplining" exercise to implement the Green Deal - although the Polish climate minister Michal Kurtyka warned the EU Commission about the social cost of delivering the green transition.

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