Letter to MEPs on the election of the President of the Commission
Category: Letters to Policy Makers
Published: 15 July 2019
Dear Member of the European Parliament,
Congratulations on your successful election.
You will have your first opportunity to vote to defend climate tomorrow Tuesday, when the Parliament is expected to vote on the election of the President of the Commission.
Europe is recovering from a hottest June ever recorded on earth. Drought, wildfires, storms and floods are becoming the new normal, including in Europe. In developing countries climate impacts are far worse.
At the same time, European citizens, notably the hundreds of thousands of young people, have taken to the streets to demand that climate action be treated with real urgency and seriousness.
The climate crisis is already here. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are higher than ever before in human history. The scientific consensus highlights the dangers of any further delay. The next 18 months are critical in solving the climate crisis. Timing is everything, because what matters in climate terms is the urgent reduction in emissions in the short term.
This September the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is organising a Climate Summit where all countries are expected to announce their plans to raise climate ambition, by enough to result in the halving of current global emissions by 2030. These commitments are due to be submitted to the UNFCCC by the COP26 in 2020. According the UN, more than 80 countries, including China, have already indicated that they will ramp up their climate commitments at this September’s Summit.
In his letter to the EU the UN Secretary General is calling on the EU to move to a 55% reduction target by 2030. Reducing the EU’s emissions by 55% relative to their 1990 level by 2030 is also the existing position of the European Parliament.
However given the latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Action Network Europe* considers that this is insufficient and is calling for the EU to increase its 2030 domestic greenhouse emission reduction target under the Paris Agreement to at least 65% compared to 1990 emissions.
We have been very alarmed by the recent statements from Ms von der Leyen refusing to revise the EU’s current 2030 target to even 55% by 2030. We would consider it irresponsible of the European Parliament to lower its current level of climate ambition, and accept as a President of the Commission someone who does not treat the climate crisis with the urgency it requires.
A decision not to significantly revise the 2030 targets now, can only been seen as a conscious decision to abandon the 1.5°C target. Furthermore this would result in the EU going empty-handed to the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September. Given Europe’s historical leadership role in global climate policy this would be detrimental to the September Summit, and hence to global climate ambition.
We look forward to working with you over the next five years which are the most critical in addressing the climate emergency we’re facing.
Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe