10 countries demand net-zero emission goal in new EU climate strategy

(EurActiv, 20 Nov 2018) Ministers from ten EU countries have urged the European Commission to chart a “credible and detailed” path towards net-zero emissions in 2050, ahead of the launch of a landmark climate strategy next week.

Energy and environment ministers from Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden have co-signed a joint letter to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete calling for “a clear direction” towards net-zero emissions.

According to fresh EU energy rules and European Council conclusions from March, the Commission has to present a climate strategy by the end of 2018 that will show how Europe can meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

On 28 November, the EU executive is scheduled to launch its vision for 2050, which will include eight different options or pathways that can drag the bloc’s economy onto a Paris-compliant trajectory. Member states will eventually choose the one they agree on.

The EU’s energy governance law obligates the Commission to include at least one pathway towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, as well as one scenario that should be in keeping with the Paris deal’s top-level target of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees by century’s end.

In their joint letter, obtained by EURACTIV and dated 14 November, the ten member states “encourage the Commission to set a clear direction towards net zero GHG emissions in the EU by 2050” and insist that the pathways should be presented in a “credible and detailed way”.

EURACTIV understands that Cañete is adamant that net-zero options should remain in the strategy, despite heavy lobbying by countries like Poland, and that the Spanish Commissioner’s team is in daily contact with State Secretary for Environment Michał Kurtyka.

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EurActiv, 20 Nov 2018: 10 countries demand net-zero emission goal in new EU climate strategy