Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency
EU Council call on the European Commission to produce mid-century roadmap for emissions reduction
EU leaders have demanded the bloc develop a long-term emissions reduction strategy by the end of March 2019 to bring it in to line with its Paris Agreement pledges.
In a communique adopted by the European Council at a summit in Brussels yesterday, EU leaders offered clarity over the timings of the long-awaited decarbonisation plan, which is required from all parties signed up to the Paris Agreement.
“The European Council invites the Commission to present by the first quarter of 2019 a proposal for a Strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction in accordance with the Paris Agreement, taking into account the national plans,” the communique reads.
According to EurActive, some EU officials were pushing to delay publication of the plan until May 2019, after next year’s EU elections. But responding on Twitter to the communique, the EU’s climate action commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said there was “no time to lose” in developing the strategy.
EU steps up climate action as we forge ahead with the low-carbon transition. No time to lose, @EU_Commission will deliver. 💪🏻🇪🇺Longer perspective, more action, more jobs and investments, more innovation, better societies. #EUCO #ParisAgreement https://t.co/ytxk8YBjee pic.twitter.com/j4H38819Ld
— Miguel Arias Cañete (@MAC_europa) March 23, 2018
In September 2019 a major climate summit is scheduled to take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, with the aim of encouraging Paris Agreement participants to ramp up their climate action commitments ahead of the official 2020 kick-off date for the treaty.
According to the UN, under current national pledges the world is on course for 2.7C of warming this century, which would put it in breach of the Paris Agreement’s stated goal of limiting warming to “well below” 2C. As such, pressure is mounting for governments to come forward with more ambitious national emission reduction plans.
Under the Paris Agreement, the EU has promised to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Climate campaigners welcomed the new calls from EU leaders, with Climate Action Europe director Wendel Trio hailing it as an “important step that will set the wheels in motion for raising the EU’s climate target”.
“The new strategy needs to outline what efforts the EU will pursue to keep temperature rise within the 1.5 degree limit set in the Paris Agreement,” he said. “This will prove beyond doubt that the current climate target for 2030 is insufficient and trigger its review and increase.”