Today’s meeting of Pope Francis with EU Environmental Ministers in the Vatican comes at a crucial moment, just two days before an extra Environment Council where EU Member States will adopt the EU’s position for the Paris climate summit in December.
Despite its claim of being a leader in the fight against climate change, the European Union still has around 280 coal power plants, operating in 22 different EU member states. The majority of these plants are more than 30 years old, meaning they are inefficient, polluting and outdated. Burning coal caused 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union in 2014. Still, European countries continue to invest tens of billions into the ailing industry.
The four EU Member States that are part of the G20 have spent nearly three times as much on fossil fuel subsidies as on climate finance. The EU, also a member of the G20, has spent six times as much on subsidizing fossil fuels as it has on climate finance.
During today’s Western Balkans Summit taking place in Vienna, representatives of the European Commission, including Maroš Šefčovič, Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn will be looking for means to revive the stalled EU accession talks with the countries of the Western Balkans. In a report published today, Climate Action Network Europe argues that they should use the framework of the Energy Union to advance integration in the field of energy and thus bring dirty energy systems of the Western Balkans closer to the EU standards. So far the Commission has missed important opportunities to stop new, highly polluting coal investments in the region.
CAN Europe: This ETS reform cares less about saving the climate than about protecting industry.
The European Council’s guidance from last year for 2030 targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency falls far short of the EU’s potentials.
Without tapping those potentials, the EU will miss out on major benefits for the economy, employment, energy security and climate action. Ending the historic bias towards fossil fuels requires higher ambition on energy efficiency and renewables.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Greenpeace and WWF today called on the European Commission to propose a strong set of policies to ensure all countries contribute to delivering and surpassing the EU’s 2030 renewable energy target.
Today Serbia has announced its contribution to the Paris climate agreement. The emission reduction the country is planning to achieve are far below the EU’s target. According to Climate Action Network Europe, this undermines prospects of Serbia’s EU accession.