Brexit eclipses climate talks in leaked EU summit draft

(EurActiv, 20 Mar 2019) EU heads of states are expected to reiterate earlier commitments on climate action when they meet in Brussels later this week, despite growing calls from youths across Europe to step up the fight against global warming, according to a draft EU summit statement seen by EURACTIV.

EU heads of states and governments convene in Brussels for a two-day summit on Thursday and Friday (21-22 March), with Britain’s departure from the EU expected to dominate talks.

Green activists were hoping that EU leaders would consider raising the bloc’s climate objectives for 2030, after tens of thousands of children skipped school last Friday in protest against climate inaction.

The EU committed almost five years ago to cut its global warming emissions by 40% by 2030, an objective which now appears outdated since the United Nations sealed the Paris Agreement in 2015.

In a bid to nudge EU leaders into action, the European Parliament voted last week to raise the EU’s objective to 55% by 2030. And the European Commission set off a debate about the bloc’s long-term climate strategy last year, making the case for Europe to aim for net-zero emissions by mid-century.

However, the draft summit conclusions “fail to send a signal that the EU is willing to increase its weak climate targets,” activists said. And it also remains vague on the deadline for EU heads of states to reach agreement on the bloc’s 2050 strategy.

“This position shows that EU leaders are out of touch with climate science and with their citizens,” said Wendel Trio, director or Climate Action Network Europe. “They fail to recognise that our current targets would only allow to keep temperature rise to 3°C, which would threaten life on Earth as we know it,” Trio said.

See press release from eceee on open letter from Coalition for higher Ambition 

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EurActiv, 20 Mar 2019: Brexit eclipses climate talks in leaked EU summit draft