EU ministers fudge 2030 climate target lines

(EurActiv, 7 Oct 2019) Environment ministers agreed on Friday (4 October) to “update” the EU’s current emission reduction pledge next year but fell short of saying by how much. Ten countries blocked attempts by the others to commit outright to an increase there and then.

At an environment council meeting in Luxembourg, the EU’s 28 national delegates gave their blessing to a joint position ahead of the UN’s annual climate conference in December.

Ministers agreed to a text that again says the Council will complete its work on a pending climate-neutrality goal for 2050 by the end of the year. But the final conclusions on the EU’s 2030 target were watered down.

Under a first draft of the text, the EU would increase its so-called Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of 40% “in a manner that represents a progression of ambition beyond the current one and that reflects the EU’s highest possible ambition”. 

That part was ultimately cut from the final version, which now simply reads “in 2020, the EU will update its NDC as agreed in Paris”.

EU climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete said in a press briefing afterwards that “under the Paris Agreement parties have to ‘update’ or ‘communicate’. Here, we’ve chosen ‘update’.” He also quoted the draft conclusions, labelling the final version a “progression of ambition”.

Ten countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania – blocked efforts to include more explicit language. Of those ten, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are the last hold-outs on the 2050 deal.

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EurActiv, 7 Oct 2019: EU ministers fudge 2030 climate target lines