U.N. chief calls on EU to raise 2030 climate goal to 55%

(15 Jun 2019) The European Parliament and the EU's climate chief have called for the bloc to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the European Union to aim for a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, far more than the bloc's current target for a 40% reduction.

In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, seen by Reuters, ahead of a summit of EU leaders, Guterres said the world's largest economic bloc should lead by example to avert the worst effects of global warming and limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Next week's gathering of the 28 EU heads of state is the last before a U.N. meeting on global climate talks in September.

"I am counting on you, once again, to demonstrate the leadership of the European Union," Guterres said in the letter to Tusk dated May 23.

An announcement "aiming for a target of 55% reduction in emissions, would send a powerful message," he said. He also asked leaders to phase out burning coal, ending approval of new coal-fired power plants beyond 2020.

Despite a French-led push by eight capitals for more ambitious action on climate, notably by striving to go carbon neutral by 2050, leaked draft summit conclusions make no mention of ramping up the bloc's commitment under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

With China and India seeking to take centre stage at the U.N. meeting after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris pact, some EU diplomats fear the bloc may become increasingly sidelined on the global deal.

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, 15 Jun 2019: U.N. chief calls on EU to raise 2030 climate goal to 55%