Businesses, associations, unions, local and regional authorities, civil society call for higher EU climate ambitions

(eceee Press Release, 20 Mar 2019) The Coalition for Higher Ambition, where eceee is an active member, is an alliance of European businesses, associations, investor groups, trade unions, local and regional authorities, and civil society organisations. In an open letter to the European Commission and EU Heads of State and Government, the Coalition for Higher Ambition calls for much stronger EU climate targets.

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, Euractiv reported. 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.

EU heads of states and governments gather tomorrow in Brussels for a two-day summit on (21-22 March). Instead of needed focus on the climate, Britain’s departure from the EU are expected to dominate talks.

“Despite the need to move on climate,  the draft summit conclusions don’t signal that the EU is willing to increase its weak climate targets,” eceee’s Executive Director Nils Borg said.

“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.

Activists’s hopes were lifted last month when EU foreign ministers called on world nations to “raise global ambition” on climate change ahead of a UN summit in September. “It is a matter of extreme urgency to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change,” said a communiqué adopted by the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers on 18 February.

“We believe it is high time for European leaders to rise up to the challenge of climate action,” says the open letter by the Coalition for Higher Ambition, which includes business networks such as the Corporate Leaders Group, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which connects 94 of the world’s greatest cities.

The coalition letter also expresses support for the youth climate strikes. “Unprecedented citizen mobilisations are taking place across EU member states calling for increased action against climate change,” the statements says, adding that “increasing the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement is an urgent necessity”.

See letter from Coalition for Higher Ambition here

See news item on the Council Draft Conclusions