The European Union today became the first major power to show its cards and announce the level of climate action it proposes to pledge at global climate talks in Paris later this year.
But the emissions cuts beyond 2020 agreed by environment ministers fall far short of Europe’s fair share of the action needed to avoid dangerous climate change, says Friends of the Earth Europe.
The pledge is for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030. This is the level of cuts already announced last year and does not represent any increase in effort from Europe ahead of the Paris talks. Nor does the pledge cover any financial or technological support for countries on the front line of climate change impacts.
Susann Scherbarth, climate justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Europe has shown its cards first and this is not a winning hand for people or the planet. We have to tell the truth, there is a huge gap between what climate science and equity tells us Europe needs to do and the agreement of the ministers today. It is frustrating to hear our governments describe their climate pledges as ambitious when they are failing to move us away from fossil fuels fast enough.
"By locking in inadequate climate action Europe is threatening lives and livelihoods across the world.”
The United Nations climate talks in Paris in December are due to agree a new international climate change agreement.
All 195 nations have been requested to publish their post-2020 climate actions plans by the end of March.
Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes the fact the European Union, as one of the big emitters responsible for causing climate change, has published its pledge early.
However, the group criticizes the inadequacy of Europe’s proposed action which is not in line with the objective of keeping global warming well below 2°C, as agreed by the UN. This target is based on outdated science and is much less than what Europe could achieve if it reduced energy consumption and truly transformed its energy system to be clean, renewable and citizen-controlled, according to the environmental justice organisation.
Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator, from Mozambique said: "The EU and other major polluters like the US are not doing their fair share to prevent irreversible and dangerous climate change.
“Many communities are moving from fossil fuels to renewables on the ground but most governments are not doing enough to support this urgently needed energy transition. Ordinary people, not politicians, are leading. In 2015 we will see more people on the streets fighting against the powerful influence of fossil fuel corporations and for a citizen-controlled, just energy transition.”
Also today, the Finnish parliament passed a climate bill that commits to 80% emissions reductions by 2050. With the possibility for the revision of targets according to the latest climate science, it is one of the most ambitious climate laws passed to date in Europe.
The law comes after long-term campaigning from Maan ystävät / Friends of the Earth Finland.