Calls for higher climate ambition get EU boost

Kimmo Tiilikainen (Finland), Brune Poirson (France), José Mendes (Portugal) and Eva Svedling (Sweden), at the meeting in Paris
Kimmo Tiilikainen (Finland), Brune Poirson (France), José Mendes (Portugal) and Eva Svedling (Sweden), at the meeting in Paris

By Atayi Babs

Following repeated calls for ambitious climate targets,  seven European countries have announced the formation of a coalition for increased climate ambition.

The countries are France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Luxembourg.

The ecology and environment ministers of these seven countries met in Paris on the 25th of April 2017 and called on the European Union and other countries to enhance their climate ambition to keep warming below 1.5C, the main goal of the Paris Agreement.

The coalition renewed their own commitments and called for higher levels of ambition to curb emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and protect the planet from devastating climate change.

The French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicolas Hulot, and his Secretary of State, Brune Poirson in a statement issued after the “2050 Pathways Platform” meeting urged the EU to maintain its climate leadership.

“Confronted by alarming scientific analysis on climate change, to which the upcoming IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C will further contribute, enhanced action by all countries is urgent and necessary for respecting the Paris Agreement long-term goals. The European Union must keep its climate leadership and show its ability to mobilise all Parties to the Agreement in the fight against climate change,” Poirson stated.

Non state actors from the Climate Action Network welcomed the move and urge all countries to step up, join the coalition, enhance their own climate plans to curb emissions to net-zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.

They also urged the EU to take necessary intermediary steps to reach this goal with the next step being to enhance the EU’s NDC latest by 2020.

“More and more European countries agree that the EU needs to do more to tackle the climate crisis and fully implement the Paris Agreement. The critical conversation on how to increase the EU’s climate commitments is finally moving forward. We urge all other European countries to join this coalition, make the Paris Agreement a reality and align EU policies with the ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

According to Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office, “EU countries are waking up to what the Paris Agreement means. Seven of them have now realised that the EU’s climate targets are nowhere near what’s required – the others need to get on board. The EU must aim for net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest to act on our climate crisis and lead the way to an energy-efficiency and renewables-based future.”

Sven Harmeling of CARE International believes that “the declaration of the 7 EU countries basically recognises that the current EU ambition for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is not in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

“Making the EU’s plans and investments compatible with this limit would contribute to reducing serious damage for poor countries, and the EU itself, from climate change impacts. But countries must complement the development of a more ambitious 2050 strategy with additional actions to shift away from fossil fuels now,” Harmeling added.”