Juncker insists 2030 climate target is EU’s top priority, not 2050 plan

(EurActiv, 10 May 2019) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday (9 May) that the EU should “concentrate on immediate and urgent” climate policies for 2030 rather than a proposed 2050 target defended by eight EU countries to reach net-zero emissions.

Speaking to reporters at the end of an informal summit in Romania, Juncker was asked whether the meeting between EU-27 leaders had relegated climate change down the political agenda.

The Luxembourger said he had “a lot of sympathy” for young people that have joined climate marches in recent months. “For decades, I complained that young Europeans didn’t go out into the streets. I like that they have taken their fate into their own hands,” Juncker said.

But the EU executive chief said that although he “has carefully studied” a letter signed by eight countries supporting a net-zero emission target for 2050, an existing 2030 target remains the priority.

“Inserting into the landscape a new target for 2050, I agree with that, but I have to say that we have a first target to be met in 2030. Let’s concentrate on immediate and urgent actions,” Juncker told reporters.

“Let’s not try to escape from our responsibilities by fixing a target a long time after the active time we spend in politics.”

The current 2030 goal is a 40% emissions reduction benchmark, which the Commission’s own analysis has shown should be reached easily. Updated Commission figures, published last year after the adoption of new EU laws on renewables and energy efficiency, suggested that at least 45% will be achieved.

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EurActiv, 10 May 2019: Juncker insists 2030 climate target is EU’s top priority, not 2050 plan