UNEP chief: EU should aim for 55% CO2 reduction by 2030

(EurActiv, 4 Feb 2019) The European Union needs to revise its 2030 CO2 reduction target from 40% to 55% if it wants to meet the 1.5°C global warming objective of the Paris Agreement, says Joyce Msuya.

Joyce Msuya is a Tanzanian microbiologist and environmental scientist currently serving as Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

She was named Deputy Executive Director of UNEP in May 2018, succeeding Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania. Before that, Msuya served as an adviser to the World Bank in Washington, DC.

She spoke to EURACTIV’s energy and environment editor, Frédéric Simon.

Last year, just before COP24, the European Commission tabled a long-term climate strategy for Europe to become carbon neutral by mid-century. In doing so, the EU also became the first region in the world to debate its 2050 climate objectives.  What was the reaction in the UN? Did you open a bottle of champagne?

[Laughs]. No, we did not open the champagne. But we were quite impressed by Europe’s leadership, for a number of reasons.  First, because although Europe is diverse, it’s also united. So it’s positive to see all those countries coming together and discussing a long-term strategy for climate action.

And second, because it’s time-bound. You can have an infinite strategy which may not be implemented, and that brings accountability – both to citizens and policymakers.

2018 was a momentous year for climate policy in Europe. New renewables and energy efficiency targets were adopted for 2030, de facto raising the EU’s carbon reduction pledge from 40% to 45%. So did you open the champagne this time?

Yes. Because it’s ambitious, and because it shows the political will to move forward. And that’s something worth celebrating.

In my role, you don’t often see that kind of leadership very often. The new targets are in line with the sustainable development goals and for us in the UN it shows the alignment of the EU ambition with what we’re trying to achieve with the SDGs.

So, that’s worth opening a bottle of champagne, definitely.

External link

EurActiv, 4 Feb 2019: UNEP chief: EU should aim for 55% CO2 reduction by 2030