Sunday

14th Apr 2024

Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals

  • Greta Thunberg inspired similar school strikes across Europe and further afield (Photo: C.Suthorn)

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has urged the EU to double its climate targets, amid a European Commission pledge to spend billions on the problem in the future.

The EU aims to cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But "this target is not sufficient to protect the future for children growing up today," the 16-year old Thunberg said at the European Economic and Social Committee, an EU advisory body, in Brussels on Thursday (21 February), according to the Reuters news agency.

"If the EU is to make its fair contribution to stay within the carbon budget for the 2C limit then it needs a minimum of 80 percent reduction by 2030, and that includes aviation and shipping," Thunberg, who travelled from Sweden to Belgium by train to underline her point, said.

"Unite behind the science ... Talk to the scientists, listen to them," she said.

The EU commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who attended the event, said a large chunk of the future EU budget would be devoted to fighting climate change.

"In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget [worth some €1 trillion] will go towards action to mitigate climate change," he said.

He also criticised US leader Donald Trump for pulling America, one of the world's largest carbon polluters, out of a global climate pact called the Paris accord.

"Mr. Trump and his friends believe that climate change is something that has just been invented and its an ideological concept, but ... something dangerous is already underway," he said.

Juncker kissed Thunberg's hand in front of photographers at the meeting.

She was later welcomed as a celebrity by about 7,500 students and schoolchildren on a protest march in Brussels.

Similar marches the same day in the Belgian towns of Ghent, Genk, and Nivelles attracted a further 7,500 young people, Belgian media reported.

Thunberg held her first "strike" from school lessons in protest at climate politics in August last year, inspiring similar actions in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia.

She also spoke at a UN meeting on the issues last December.

"If you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction," she said in Brussels on Thursday.

Thunberg, who is a vegan, spoke one day before the UN warned in a report that land-conversion for meat farming and monoculture crops, as well as pesticide use, had contributed to a "debilitating" loss in biodiversity which threatened the world's food supply.

Some 63 percent of plants, 11 percent of birds, and 5 percent of fish and fungi were in decline in 91 countries, it said.

"This places the future of our food and the environment under severe threat ... The foundations of our food systems are being undermined," the UN said.

EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling

The Court of Justice of the EU annulled legislation which relaxed toxic emission limits for cars. EU commissioner Bienkowska said the commission will appeal.

EUobserved

Schoolkid 'climate strikers' outnumber MEPs at debate

In response to the now worldwide movement of concerned school children, the EU parliament held a debate about climate change. But those pupils attending were not allowed to speak, only to listen.

Agenda

It's the big Brexit vote This WEEK

UK lawmakers will have to take the key decisions next week on Brexit - as the two-year saga finally reaches the boil. Meanwhile, the European Parliament is busy wrapping up legislation before the May elections.

EPP dismiss higher climate target as 'propaganda'

Most members of the European People's Party opposed an amendment which called on the EU to raise its emissions reductions target for 2030. A spokesman called it "unrealistic".

Opinion

This 'deregulation' lobbying now threatens EU economy

Next week's EU summit (17-18 April) will discuss the strategic agenda for the next five years. The current "competitiveness agenda" is to a large extent driven by a big lobbying campaign — so far, not well covered by the media.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us